About Wayne McKinnon
As a foot note in history, Wayne once worked as a member of the team that assembled the particle detectors used in nuclear physics to discover the first evidence of quarks.
Wayne no longer works with the building blocks of the universe; instead he works with the building blocks of organizations. Unlike the tiny quark, the results that Wayne achieves for his clients are visible and have an extended lifetime.More
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Monthly Archives: February 2015
Not being paid what you are worth? Maybe the output that you generate is no longer as valuable...
Today’s topic is about the value of your contribution to the organization. Some companies find that the results of jobs they paid handsomely for can now be obtained much more easily, or perhaps may no longer even be required. (Camera film and photofinishing come to mind). A master technician skilled at making photographic film is just not worth very much when the demand for their services is so low in a digital world, or if the service they provide has become so simple that it can be easily automated.
Likewise a manager of a thriving operation is much more valuable to that organization than they are to an organization that has set its sights much lower.
It is less about what a person with a title is paid, and much more about the need for that person with that title in the first place. Need is based on desired outcomes, not on vacancies in a company org. chart.
While the phrase “Don’t you know who I am” may illustrate the likelihood that you can produce a specific set of result based on past performance, it says little about how much those results are worth.
This topic seems to be a perfect fit today for two reasons:
1) It fits neatly in between part I and part II of my other topics that I am publishing this week
2) It is the anniversary of Steve Job's death, and a good reminder of the thinking that he brought to the technology world.
Pay particular attention to what he says about technology as a starting point, rather than business results that people do need. Also note his view of where specific technologies fit within the bigger picture.
These are valuable lessons for internal I.T. folks to grasp.
Not being paid what you are worth? Maybe it isn’t about you…
In one of my first jobs out of school, the engineering company that I worked for lost some valuable long-standing contract. After busting our butts all year, putting in heroic efforts and looking forward to our first raise, my junior colleagues and I did not receive the increase that we were promised.
In response, my colleague Pat announced that he was not working any harder until they paid him more. In fact, he did very little work at all, even the type of work he had previously done at his old salary.
I wondered out loud to Pat, what about the level of work that you are already being paid for? Should you not at least be delivering to that pre-agreed level?
Pat was eventually asked to leave. He had reneged on his agreement.
The company had also reneged on their agreement, and I chose to leave the company shortly after. I continued to put in my full share of effort until my final day. Word came all the way down from the company president to my director, to offer Wayne what it takes to keep him. My response was that it was too late and they would be wasting their money because I would probably still leave.
A company running on hard times is a different creature as compared to a job whose output is less valuable than it once was. Saving a company that is going through a temporary downturn by financing the company’s survival on the backs of hard working employees who deserve more is simply unfortunate but sometimes necessary. Our contractually agreed to raises were being used to subsidize the company’s marketing efforts.
The companies who have done this well reward the workers who are sharing the risk with a share in the future profits. The companies who simply take advantage of their employees lose their star performers while retaining the deadwood.
The problem with many projects is that the measures of success are often simply "on time-on budget."
Safety and rework often fall outside of that scope, and are accounted for out of other budgets rather than the project's budget.
There is no incentive to do the work in a more effective or efficient manner. In fact, there are often disincentives
I get paid to solve these kind of problems, but that brings up another problem:
The motivation and interest in having these problems solved is nobody's problem. Why should V.P.1 care about V.P. 2's budget or resources, particularly when the leader of the two V.P.s is nowhere to be found, disinterested, or conveniently blinded by half truths?
That is the reality for many organizations
I frequently state that people don’t need technology, they need the results that technology provides. Here is a great example where the value of the efforts of esighteyewear engineers is difficult to measure, but you'll know it when you see it.