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The main reason I turned down a job offer a couple of months ago had to do with this very problem.

The entire team was performing badly, and management (which had already run another company into the ground) had tried to solve the problem by reducing base pay across the board and making a substantial portion of compensation commission-based -- and **surprise!** there was no change in team performance. In fact, people were clearly demoralized: some members weren't even in sales and thus had no way to control their own commissions, while the sales people were minimally qualified anyway, and only stayed under the newly-punitive conditions because they weren't good enough to bail out for anything better.

I was asked to buy into this model as a team leader, but was rebuffed when I suggested that we look into some different ways of motivating the team as "more of the same" clearly was not going to work. It already was not working. Rocket science, anyone? It took me a while to realize anyone could *really* be that stupid, but I did finally pick up my skirts. To RUN.

(Two weeks later? The General manager quit and I understand the company is in serious trouble. Boy am I glad I dodged that bullet!)


Thanks for the comment and the story! Incentives designed to support and reinforce sound management practices can add real value; incentives applied in lieu of sound management practices hardly ever produce positive results. Sounds like your decision to run was a smart one!

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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