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Sustainability: Moving from Common Sense to Common Practice
2016 International Conference
Leesburg, VA - National Conference Center

September 18th - 21st

Creating Naturally Motivating Environments (Without Bribery)

Henry Camp - Entrepreneur - Private Equity Fund / TOC

Back in 2005, when I was planning how to divide the bonus pool that would result from my company’s Viable Vision, I asked Eli Goldratt for advice. "Eli, how do I decide how much to give each person and how much to retain for the company?” He told me that it was a deep question that he had thought about a lot and that he didn’t know how to break the conflict generically. Of course, like anyone would, I went back to work and waited for Eli to find the answer.

Sadly, the world and I lost Eli before the answer came. Still, this important question begs for a generic solution. I feel like he has bequeathed my own question back to me. I have considered it now for eleven years. Recently, I heard the same conflict beautifully articulated by a brilliant philosopher, Fred Kofman, who admitted to seeking the answer for ten years himself, without finding it. He said it caused him to leave his job in academia, with MIT.

Eli and Efrat Goldratt provided us with Pillars of TOC on which we can rely as firm foundations for building. One of those pillars is Every Conflict can be Broken. Therefore, the individual’s compensation cloud must be breakable. We must have mistaken assumptions.

Generally speaking, Eli taught us that it was correct and necessary to sub-optimize local areas in order to increase the whole system’s flow. The difficulty, he knew, is explaining and demanding subordination from a person whose baby needs new shoes. Worse, such an employee is a just a part of a sub-system of the company, which itself is required to subordinate to the whole system.

Key questions addressed by this presentation are:
A. How should a company attract and retain great people?
  • Doesn’t this require that people be paid for their own performance?
  • Do we fool ourselves that we know how to assess one person’s overall impact?
  • If even more performance is desired, should the company provide an incentive?
  • How to keep top performers aligned with the business and others?
B. If a company is properly guided by global considerations, then must it pay different people the same?
  • If so, what happens to the incentive to work hard? 
  • Wouldn’t slackers and dunces be attracted to such a company?
  • Won’t the best people leave for where they are more appreciated?
  • How does such a globally-focused company keep from eventually failing?
1) Getting more from employees without the need to push them
2) Attracting and keeping better people than the competition has
3) A happier better aligned workforce
4) The ability to undertake major initiatives more successfully
5) More peace of mind across the company

People collaborate naturally. Working together is basic to our survival and success as a species. So, why do managers so often rely on monetary incentives which drive up Operating Expenses to manage behaviors and retain employees, especially when money is seldom in the top five factors employees, when surveyed, rank as important? Why do we immediately begin to ignore what people really want as soon as we hire them?

This presentation provides generic actionable advice for creating a context in which people naturally align with each other and strive to help the company meet its goal without complex compensation plans and conflicting metrics.

Henry Camp is an entrepreneur who started a private equity fund specifically to earn extraordinary returns using TOC. His goal is to end cyclical recessions and depressions worldwide.

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