November 28, 2014
Trammell was the first one to take the stage, and the central theme of his talk was how to be a more effective CEO. Step one on that journey is to identify and understand exactly what business you’re in and what type of employees you have: ditch diggers or portrait painters.
As he says it, ditch diggers don’t need to understand why they’re digging the ditch. And, as it turns out, the incentive to get that archetype working harder is higher pay; if they are motivated with more money they’ll be more successful.
However, Trammell says that 99 percent of the people in the room are portrait painters, or work a job that requires knowledge, skill, and creativity to complete their job. Incentivizing portrait painters via more money isn’t a successful strategy to get them to work more. You need to minimize stress in their environment while maximizing alignment and make adjustments in real time because it’s a dynamic work environment.
Second up was Hess, who sat down for a fireside chat with Frank Gruber to talk about his experiences connecting with younger generations of people. Specifically, he talked about millennials and how they, as a group, relate to technology as the prime target demographic.
But how do you attract a millennial to work at your company? Hess was interviewing somebody for a potential job, but the candidate ended up going to a different company. He was viewed as a mercenary versus a hired gun; that is, the job was geared as a mission that could be completed versus a retirement-track position.
To keep those employees, or portrait painters, you have to be honest about the career path, what they’ll make, and how they’ll fit into the future. If you’re not providing them near-term value you’re going to lose them because it’s sometimes scarier to stay at a company than leave.
If you’re interested in being a better CEO, and curating a solid group of employees, Trammell and Hess have some great insight for you. Here’s the video:
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