Business owner, company manager, or a penny-pincher?

Business owner, company manager, or a penny-pincher?

Vasiliy Ivanov Apr 24, 2017

I find myself in the epicenter of disputes about holidays and vacations all too often. Though I try to not discuss the personal time that people want to spend on themselves. But I wonder about the fundamental question - why is the number of conversations about vacation inversely proportional to the productivity of a person? This is the fact that me and my partners began to notice, and I heard the same opinion from various people outside of our company. And why do I hear almost no opposite opinions from people really involved in their profession? I think I can answer this question below.

To begin with, I highlighted the possible combinations of employee productivity and activity in the company:

  • The employee is noticeable and performs well
  • The employee is noticeable and is all bluster (shows no results or they do not meet expectations)
  • The employee is not noticeable, but performs well
  • The employee is not noticeable and shows no results (simply sits through working hours)

The same comparative characteristic should be built in regard to the leaders and their relationship with the company as well:

  • The leader feeds off the company's activities
  • The leader creates a company / product to sell it eventually with the whole staff
  • The leader for whom the company is his child, that he has a desire to constantly upbring it, so that the child becomes an adult and a worthy member of society

In reality, we get combinations of features from the first and the second comparison groups. There are four possible options:

  • Employees in a negative tone + leaders in a negative tone = the company without significant potential and long lifespan
  • Employees in a positive tone + leaders in a negative tone = the company is a talent foundry, but stopped in its development
  • Employees in a negative tone + leaders in a positive tone = an extremely rare situation. Usually, a positively-minded leadership attracts the same kind of employees. All exceptions are quickly eliminated
  • Employees in a positive tone + leaders in a positive tone = the company with a colossal potential. The result depends on the vision of the strategy and the level of motivation, but such people are able to build a product around them

I mentioned the term "talent foundry" and would not like you to mistakenly think that I consider all such companies unsuccessful and their leadership incompetent. Not at all, but unfortunately, it’s common to see a lot of companies in which professionals grow only to move to other companies. Why? Usually because the speed of employees’ growth exceeds the speed of the talent foundry’s growth. Is it worth it to seek for a guilty party there? There are no leaders who are guilty of this and consciously going in this direction. Often, such foundries are run by people who are unaware that they slowing the company down, and that they should remain to be the owners, but not the managers.

The prevailing negative tone

When carrying out a detailed analysis of the company, it becomes clear that positive feedbacks about the workflow are not as loud, because they are voiced by productive people who are used to doing their job without huffs and just because they like it. At the same time, the negative point of view is spread by people who are in the correspondingly negative tone. They want to be busy with something as well, they want to be carried away by their tasks and feel grateful, but various personal qualities do not allow them to take the first step towards productivity, and the question "what is the right thing to do" is not set timely. This leads them to choose a simpler but negative path - a path that is easier to choose so as not to admit their own wrong actions. At this stage, they also attempt to offend more successful people: the "nerd" and the "swat" are the names for more successful students at school, the "galley" and the "braggart manager" are what they call the company where you have to work instead of simply waiting for payday.

Most productive people move faster than others along the career ladder, and sometimes create a new ladder in the form of their own company/enterprise. They are always ready to leave feedback about the company, but only if someone asks for their opinion. They do not spend their time looking for where else to leave feedback about their job.

Dream job

Comparing positively and negatively-minded employees, an obvious conclusion arises: some of them found their dream job, while others did not. This comparison can be imposed on any kind of activity: from large businesses to entertainments and sports. In any of the activities, the success of a person or group is directly proportional to motivation. This is known to almost every leader, but why is so often then that they put together two opposite words "motivation" and "money"? My answer is simple: these leaders do not really know what motivation is and that motivation levels and ways of applying them have long been singled out: 

6. Call of duty (Like parents feel towards children)
5. Devotion to the company
4. Devotion to the boss
3. Like to work
2. Personal benefit
1. Money

Hence it becomes clear why the worst situation is in companies that are engaged in headhunting, luring people for an increase of their current income. The “Money” motivation is on the lowest level, because employees at this stage are not tied to the company or the tasks. The only thing that motivates him is the desire to earn more. Is this a bad feeling? Definitely not! But it is necessary to understand that while employees at the other levels of motivation also think about money, they also have other motives. They fulfill such motives, and money "appear" automatically.

Most leaders are reproached for taking a one-sided view on the values ​​of employees and not thinking about those who earn much less. Based on my experience, I want to state the absurdity of such proclamations. Most managers who became the leaders or owners of a company overcame a long professional path, each step of which is solving problems, tasks, conflicts, and getting the deserved rewards. I often recall the times when I sat up at work until midnight, and sometimes for several days without sleep in an attempt to complete the task as promised. Sometimes it was a pleasure, sometimes I felt like a boiled rag, but the work was always done to the end. That experience now drives my management of KeepSolid. I try to broadcast the obvious idea, which I first heard from Alexey Samoylenko: "A company pays money for the result, and not for the time you spent." In modern IT, especially in companies planning work in accordance with such methodologies as Scrum, where team members plan their work themselves, it's completely unclear where the regular backlogs come from. Most importantly, it’s unclear what is the level of motivation for team members if they, instead of catching up the plan, simply reduce their focus factor and thereby explain the decreasing amount of tasks performed.

You might think my attitude is very negative. So let me share our positive experience as well. Understanding what how employees differ by their interests and motivations, I try to allocate and rely on more motivated colleagues. Naturally, I try to engage the whole team as well, but the first place is given to employees who are more responsive to the prospects in the company and who focus on achieving the result, rather than on the stories about the complexity of their work. A nature of motivation in the team is defined by the intensity of work processes. Alone, I would not be able to manage even a much smaller team than we have now. Therefore, while establishing a positive emotional background, it is extremely important to identify those managers who understand the task of measuring and motivating growth as well as I do, and take responsibility for their unit. Sometimes there are fantastic situations - during the year we see how the career of an employee who came to the simplest position is rapidly developing, since he quickly figured out the problems of the industry and began to actively apply his knowledge.

I would like to conclude: if an employee loves his work, he goes there not because of the calendar and the clock, but because of his inner motivation. Rather than seeing his manager as a greedy businessman, such employee considers him a senior mentor that is worthwhile to follow after.