Jay Harris is Cpt. LoadTest

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Filed under: Business

Everyone is always seeking the old cliché, “a bigger piece of the pie.” I propose a new cliché, penned by a colleague, Dennis Burton: “Make the pie bigger.”

In my experiences and interactions with other people, when someone gets a bigger piece of the pie it is usually at the expense of the person that used to have that portion. A simple Google for “bigger piece of the pie” returns a slew of articles about somebody who is miffed because their buddy is getting a larger percentage that they are, or the buddy is miffed because somebody stole their piece. I say, “Make the pie bigger.” When the pie gets bigger, so does your piece of it.

Our company has a revenue sharing bonus at the end of every year. Anyone who has been with the company for three years evenly splits up 1% of the total revenue for the year. For 2006, roughly 20 people will be eligible for that bonus. Hypothetically, let’s say we made $10m in total revenue this year; that means I get a nice check in January for $5,000.

$10m x 1% / 20 people = $5,000.00/person

I could just seek a bigger piece of the pie, off Dennis, and I would get another $263! However, depending on what I did, Dennis is miffed because he lost his job or his wife his miffed because Dennis is dead.

$10m x 1% / 19 people = $5,263.16/person

But, what if I instead try to make the pie bigger? Let’s say some recruiter at “XYZ Placement Services” called me up trying to give me a job, and I refer the head-hunter to our head recruiting guy. Soon, we have a new Corporate-to-Corporate deal with “XYZ Placement Services,” helping them fill job openings, and suddenly we are an $11m company. I gross another $500, which is $237 more than if I off’ed Dennis. Dennis, his wife, and the other 18 eligible people are happy because they also gross another $500, and to top it all off, my boss is thrilled because I just brought in another cool million, so he gives me a raise!

$11m x 1% / 20 people = $5,500.00/person

So, do not be concerned with getting a bigger piece of the pie. Change your focus to making the pie bigger; it will make everyone else happy, too, and you might just get a raise in the end. And, if you are the boss, provide incentives for making the pie bigger, like revenue or profit sharing bonuses; you will look better, too, when your team is contributing to the bottom-line of the company.

Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:46:50 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1] - Trackback

Sunday, July 23, 2006 1:38:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Very nice post Jason.

I think one of the main problems is that people intuitively grasp the nature of a Zero Sum game - if they’re going to win, someone else has to lose.

It doesn’t quite feel as natural to believe that everyone can win - or that people can gain something without someone else losing.

I have just added “make the pie bigger” to my vocabulary. :)
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