All in Organization Development

I was speaking to the Head of HR at a small, talent-intensive company. We were discussing the cost of long-term incentives as related to their compensation philosophy of paying between the 50th and 75th percentile. Adding equity effectively and economically is always a challenge.

Every musician will tell you that a great conductor can draw a better performance than an average one. They provide insight, emotion and energy to everyone involved. The best conductors are also aware when someone needs help or a little more time. They contour the performance of the group to match the strengths of the soloist and they ensure that the music uplifts the visual presentation, rather than overshadow it.

Congratulations, you read this sentence! Not impressed? You shouldn’t be. You probably would be looking at this article if you couldn’t read basic sentences. Celebrating a foregone conclusion is a spiraling path to mediocrity. Achieving the inevitable is not an accomplishment.

We have been living in an age of 3% annual increases for several years.  Sometimes it’s a bit more; sometimes it’s a bit less. On average, it’s not too inspiring. We do our best to give a bit more to our best performers, but those in the middle must fend for themselves. It’s not hard for them to find a time machine.

Stop. Take a quick evaluation of the fires you are currently trying to put out. Do any of the following sound familiar? Unplanned succession planning? Short-term incentive plan that doesn’t align well with recent company performance? An equity plan that is undervalued by participants or running out of shares? Market pricing that your talent acquisition team claims is off-target? Pay levels and execution that do not match your compensation philosophy (or vice versa)? Your list may differ, but I know you have a list.

Your new CEO wants the old LTI plan replaced before the start of the new year. The head of Business Development needs a new sales incentive plan by the end of the month. People know exactly what needs to be fixed but may not have a complete understanding of what it takes to fix them. We can build temporary solutions quickly, but doing things correctly often requires starting with the foundation.

A growing best practice is building regular reporting summaries at critical decision and measurement points. These summaries often include pictures or easy data visualization because our brains are best at remembering images. These summaries become a diary of our past. At their best, they also include the "why" of each decision. This approach to remembering history is seen in things like "Facebook memories" and old family videos but is very new to the world of total rewards.