There are two things people want more than sex and money—recognition and praise.
—Mary Kay Ash
Have you ever had to sit through an awards dinner where you didn’t win anything? You’re supposed to clap and smile as you watch the rainmaker accept a prize while you, the lesser performer, are supposed to act like you’re happy for him or her. It’s agony.
There aren’t many jobs where they publicly publish the performance reviews. But sales is one of them.
Sandi Parker, the vice president of sales for Medisafe Technologies, describes what it’s like to be left out of the winner’s circle: “It’s not just failure, but public failure. It’s horrible.”
Parker, who for most of her career has always been a top sales award winner at organizations such as Kimberly-Clark and Safeskin, says, the few times when she wasn’t a winner were “total disappointments.” She says, “You know you’re not going to be on stage. You’re not going to get any recognition. You feel like all eyes are on you, and there’s a big L on your chest. It’s a highly competitive day and you hate to lose.”
Reading Parker’s description, one could argue that the agony of defeat is motivating for top performers.
In many ways it is. But there’s a hidden downside.
Imagine you’re a top performer; you’re on track to deliver $2 million for the year. You’ll make the bonus club and go on the incentive trip. But then, you lose a big account in October. Now ...