Don’t hire people who are only or mostly in it for the money

“If they come for the money, they’ll leave for the money.”  [James Treybig]

If you had a choice, when confronting a serious, possibly life-threatening illness, of going to see one of two doctors, which would you choose: (a) a doctor who had entered medicine primarily to make a lot of money, or (b) a doctor who had entered medicine because he or she was interested in the subject matter and had a desire to serve people?

Don McCabe and his colleagues have conducted numerous studies of college student cheating over the years.  They have found that students who are in school or have chosen a major for instrumental reasons — in order to get a better job or to make more money — are much more likely to cheat than students who have chosen a course of study because of their interest in the subject matter.  This result makes perfect sense if you think about it.  It I am trying to master a subject because of my intrinsic interest, cheating makes no logical sense — it defeats my desire to learn the material.  If I am, on the other hand, studying just to get a credential, then what matters is the credential — getting out with the piece of paper — not necessarily what I learn.

The implications for companies are clear.  If people are there for the money then they will do what it takes to get the money, regardless of what that is.  Much better, it would seem, to have people who actually have some interest in the company, its customers, its products and services, and its values.

Hard Facts by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton

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