Archive for the ‘money’ Category

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

December 29, 2007

“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

Seeing things new again … wake up!

September 30, 2007

Human beings are so adaptable. Strange and unfamiliar things are quickly adapted to, and then their strangeness and unfamiliarity become invisible, i.e. we become anesthetized to them. But once in a while we experience things that cause us to “wake up.”

When we travel to foreign lands, we inevitably experience “new” things as strange and awkward. The money doesn’t make sense, the street signs are in the wrong places, and the toilet paper is all wrong.

An even more enlightening experience, though, is to accompany a foreign traveler through your own country, for through the foreigner’s eyes you will once again perceive the strangeness and awkwardness of your own culture.

Show a Swiss visitor American paper money for the first time. You will invariably hear, “But they’re all the same size? How do blind people tell them apart?” Your response will be an embarrassed silence, for unless you’re blind yourself, you’ve never thought about money in that way. Never? Well, hardly ever. Not, at least, since you were a child.

The next response of the Swiss visitor will be, “And they’re all of the same color! Don’t people make lots of mistakes in making change?” Again, embarrassed silence as you contemplate how many times you’ve had experiences of being shortchanged, or longchanged, when a five was mistaken for a ten.

Take some object that you handle every day – a shoe, a shirt, a fork, a car door, a toothbrush, or any one of a thousand others. Set yourself the exercise of “seeing” it from the point of view of someone from another country who has never seen one before. Then try using it with your eyes tightly closed. Imagine that you are one-fourth your present size and trying to handle this object for the first time. What happens if you cannot read, or your manual dexterity is not well developed?

Are Your Lights On? by Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg