Over my career to date I have had the pleasure of leading multiple billion dollar as well as smaller enterprises through good and difficult times. I find it ironic and extremely narrow minded that people would believe that the way to grow a brand is for leadership to take a pay cut. My thinking is that you the need the best and brightest at every level of an organization to be engaged and motivated to deliver shareholder, employee and community growth. We need to be enhancing growth throughout an organization and not advocating reductions in any individuals rights for prosperity. America is the most giving nation in the world and we need to ask the question why is this? Because we take pay cuts? I think not.
We have to get back to an environment where it is okay to do well as long as you are doing good at the same time. I can tell you as a president or CEO of several organizations I have voluntarily foregone eligible bonuses or merit increases when I deemed it necessary that others in the organization needs were greater than mine. The key point here is that it is voluntarily and not prescribed. We do not operate in a socialistic or communist regime.
It is extremely myopic to believe that a CEO or even more so that a CMO taking a pay cut drives a brand. If that was the case working pro bono would work wonders for the brand. The reality is that there many factors and leaders in an organization that drive a brand and to suggest that two people control a brand is naive at best and dangerous at worst.
A company that is growing affords for merit increases, bonuses and advancement to be rightfully achieved. A company that is not growing for whatever reason needs to reevaluate its value proposition and general purpose. Leadership will prosper or not accordingly.
We also need to have a candid discussion about what a CEO especially gives up for leading a company. From personal experience I can not tell you how many sacrifices I have had to make. At times I would loved to have been around for every special occasion in my family, be it school plays, sports days or just seeing my children every night. Those may seem like small things but they add up. I never had the luxury of simply calling it a day and clocking out. My company at the time needed me and there I was.
It is time that we acknowledge that with leadership comes responsibilities that others do not necessarily bear. We should celebrate and not condemn those that make theses sacrifices and not jump to reckless conclusions that may fit the agenda of the moment.
Let’s back to having honest discussions about how best to grow a brand and not resort to easy pandering. Prosperity comes from growth. Let’s focus on that. Thank you for “listening”.
* 1st published on LinkedIn