Re: Incentives LO1359

Tom Burke (
Tue, 23 May 95 18:41 PDT

Replying to LO1334 --

Michael McMasters writes:
>The word is "competition".
>I suggest that the inclusion of this word changes the context, the
>spirit and the pragmatics of the speculation. Yet I don't exclude
>the features that Tom mentions. Yes, concern for one's own tools of
>the trade, the opportunity to reject a job or be rejected, expanding
>one's own personal capabilities, etc. would become a part of the full
>picture in a way that they currently are not.

I want to respond to this post in several parts. This week I am buried in
a system-upgrade so time is limited. I do want to challenge the concept
that the Marketplace is anything other than competitive. I do not see a
place other than one of competition, either for like parducts/services or
for substitutes. One way or another, it is competitive. This is not a
bad thing, IMHO. It is reflective of the concept of free choice, IMHO a
good thing. I get to make a choice. If you want my biz, you have to
satisfy my needs. In the same regard, I have employees who have needs.
Other firms want these people. While my competitors and I both fish in
the same pond for employees, I think I do a better job. I think the
people who I freely choose to work in my biz are better than those who I
don't select. This was a competitive decision between which individuals I
want to work for me. They make a decision to work for me instead of my
competitor. Both of us can accept or reject. However, once we make that
decision, neither of us are fully able to accept or reject the other on an
everyday basis. Only in the larger since can we each do this. But, in
the larger since, I must continue to satisfy the needs and wants of the
employees. But they must also satsify mine. I need my jobs done. It is
only for this reason that I go out and search for employees in the first

My biz operates in a highly competitive environment. I want my employees
to continue to understand that environment. They can not be impartial
about that environment. I also believe in cooperation, but only as it
permits me to compete. I have accepted the strength of team work. Yet, I
know that individuals contribute at differing levels. I feel a mandate to
reward those who contribute more than those who don't. This is a
pay-for-performance scheme. The marketplace is a pay-for-performance
environment. There is no true cooperation in the Marketplace. It is self
serving, it seeks to satisfy insatiable needs with limited resources.
When I bring my employees into that mind-set, I bring them into a
constancy of competition. They must compete for their positions, not just
for external customers but for internal customers. The team provides more
effective means in many instances, but the team is comprised of
self-serving individuals, each looking to satisfy their own needs. I see
the benefit of forcing everyone to think about the competitive environment
all the time. It is my opinion, the value of what we do is always measured
in the marketplace. There is no safe harbor. To let employees think they
have a safe harbor is a false hope. By letting them share in the
knowledge of reality, eat the fruit which gives life, then they should
reap the harvest as well as the whirlwind. Let them be rewarded for their
efforts, not just the efforts of the team.

Tom Burke 
Ramona, California