Let’s first make one thing clear: Experience is valuable. One might argue that experience is the most valuable trait someone can bring to an organization. Experience allows one to be a better mentor and leader. Experience shapes learnings in the way only “doing” can provide.
Contrast that with someone given extraordinary value in the form of compensation simply because they have stayed around for awhile (or managed to not be fired). The former is good, the latter is bad.
Now that we’ve gotten that point out of the way, let us ask you a question, “How much more valuable is an extrovert than an introvert?”
As you ponder that, read the following, typical story:
I work for a consulting firm where we help onboard clients to Enterprise HR software. I’m a subject-matter expert in the software. I know what it can and cannot do. The sales reps who close the deal don’t. I don’t know if they [sales reps] purposefully lie about what the software can do to close the deal or not. But when I inform the client that what the sales rep said wasn’t true, the client gets mad at me! And don’t even get me started about how much more money the sales rep made from closing the deal. I’m the one who has to keep the client happy.
There are a few responses to this story we’ve noticed people hold:
- That’s not fair! Why should the sales rep make all the money?
- Well, shouldn’t that person just become a sales rep?
- Yeah, sales people are that important. They deserve to make most of the money.
While we’d venture #3 is a point of view held by other sales reps, we don’t dispute that value of high-quality sales people. #2 is silly. It’s essentially saying, “Stop being an introvert. Just become an extrovert, it’s easy!” As for #1, one of us is sure that engineers don’t realize how much money sales people actually make. If engineers realized this, they’d stop coding.
Yes, we understand salespeople are the front lines. Yes, when done right, we enjoy “sales.” But if one of us closes a deal we share that value with the team. This includes the engineers building the product and the success reps ensuring our value promise is being recognized.
This might be a short-term vs. long-term value differential. Yes, you might win the deal. But you might do a terrible job supporting the deal long-term. We’d rather win the long-game by building a strong product with the team to properly support (and enjoy supporting) a deal.
Our hypothesis is this: We will be able to hire the best talent across all functions once we gain a reputation for sharing value equally across all groups within Sobol. As a result, each functional group will achieve some form of peak performance relative to the industry. And the normal cynicism found at companies due to pay disparity will disappear just as strict hierarchy did when we got rid of titles.
Likewise, when you have clear roles and role accountabilities on a Team, and are compensated based on Team performance, having deft politicking skills won’t be worth much. This point just naturally builds upon our previous points. Teams are the Future of Work. The first step in building a Team is to replace titles and hierarchy with Roles. Then, give value to value creators on those Teams.