June 16; What Is The Total Cost—Net-Net—Of Getting It Done Wrong? Or Right?
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Six: Correction; 16 June

For Scripture says,

“Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and

“The worker deserves his wages.”

1 Timothy 5:18

What Is The Total Cost—Net-Net—Of Getting It Done Wrong? Or Right?

Priceless

We had 5 open slots and the budget to fund them. We spent time researching the pay range and scales and the competitive environment and cost of living and benefits to get five coders to pound keyboards.

We interviewed and were about to extend the five offers to five very good candidates. We were about to pull the employment triggers. Then we found Mike from Colorado.

I don’t think he knew it at the time (or maybe he did) but Mike demanded the entire budget for the five guys we were about to hire.

Anyway, we had to make a decision:

  • Get five very good employees. Or,
  • Get one coding demi-god.

What should we do?

***

Writer Jeff Haden, a number one best selling author on Amazon, says, “Forget pay scales; forget industry benchmarks; forget, “I can’t afford to pay any employee that much.” Haden reminds us of getting the right fit for a winning team in the National Football League from David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game,

In 1974 the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Lynn Swann. Swann was chosen seventh, but his agent, Howard Slusher, managed to negotiate the second-highest starting salary among rookies that year. (In short, Slusher got Swann No. 2 money even though he was the seventh pick, a fairly rare feat and great for Swann as well as Slusher’s image as a negotiator for his clients.)

At the press conference to announce the signing, Slusher was pulled aside by Art Rooney, then the owner of the Steelers.

Rooney said. “You can never overpay a good player. You can only overpay a bad one. I don’t mind paying a good player $200,000. What I mind is paying a $20,000 player $22,000.”

There are similarities between the NFL and software companies (!) in who to hire and not to hire. Our subjective feeling was similar to the software industry in that superstar software programmers might be some 3 times better in long-term productivity as compared to the average.

The real value in the superstar was that he made fewer mistakes; fewer bugs that meant faster development and better customer satisfaction. The superstars were cheaper. They were worth what they were paid.

***

We hired ‘superstar’ Mike.  He turned out to be less expensive than the ‘very good’ five. And easier to manage.

For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18

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