Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I Like The Product So Much That I Bought The Company

I recall an advert from a couple of decades ago where a chap was so enamoured with his electric shaver that he bought the company.

This article references a four-year study showing that simple share ownership, not owning the entire company or a majority or even a significant slice but mere share ownership, improves employee engagement. No doubt the Microsofts, Apples and Googles of this world would agree with that. Actually, I have no idea. In my mind or imagination I have an image of their creative types slaving away out of a sense of purpose and mission. Might just have been a movie. Or three movies.

Here are some other perspectives and some more depth.
My problem with surveys, once again, is the futility of asking people if they would work harder if they had owned shares in the company for which they worked. Asking people their intended conditional behaviours is lazy. Better to observe and compare their actual behaviours under different conditions. ie working with and without share ownership or before and after.

But let’s take the predictable findings at face value. I am a sole contractor. I own my company. I am my company. I’ve never worked harder or been more engaged. I think share ownership as part of remuneration might work pretty well and move people in the direction of hugely engaged owner-operator types but it’ll never quite get to that level. I like my product so much that I AM the company.

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