Feel Rich and Appreciated
When I lived in Austin, I worked for a company that had a strict matrix for how merit performance increases were allowed. To say that in plain English, in an effort to be fair — or was it to control the budget? — the company had a chart showing how monetary increases would be “done fairly.”
I don’t remember the exact merit increase chart, but the matrix chart only allowed for 10% of the staff to receive increases above the rising cost of inflation.
This chart was problem.
Editors had a lot to say about the words chosen to describe performance — outstanding, good, adequate, and poor. Even more, though, was the problem of an entire team that was performing in an outstanding fashion all being limited to a raise of about 4-5%, when inflation was at least half of that.
So I did what I could to provide other incentives. . . . tweaked the atmosphere, found days they might take off . . . to pay them in other ways.
About a mile from our office was a small store with a glass counter. Behind the glass, the shelves displayed expensive Belgian chocolates. If you’ve a taste for chocolate, if you’re a connoisseur — read that as a chocolate snob — as I am, this 6 foot counter could entertain and amaze for well into an hour. One chocolate, in particular, became a favorite with my team.
This delicacy was made both in milk chocolate and dark chocolate versions, each filled with praline. One piece was 1.25 x .5 x .5 in size and was shaped like a US Dollar sign — $ . That was the hit! A single chocolate dollar sign sold at an exchange rate equivalent to that of the Australian dollar at the time.
I would buy those chocolate dollar signs, and we’d have an emergerency team meeting. An official announcement would state that we had once again become millionaires in the chocolate lottery. Then we’d spend 30 minutes or so eating one luxury chocolate a piece.
It was a ritual. It was a game. It was the best time and a way of saying what needed saying.
And our moods and minds changed. We stood taller, smiled more, and were more generous toward each other We also laughed. We were millionaires for the day. One piece of chocolate made that difference.
I can’t give you the chocolate. So I told you the story.
I hope you can imagine it, because I’m declaring, “We’re All Millionaires Today!”
We have a million in the bank and a few million invested. Millions of friends love each of us, and millions of readers and customers love what we do.
A little millionaire thinking really can make a difference. . . . Will you be a millionaire today?
We can change the world — just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss