In Action, Leaders

“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” – Jim Rohn

I’ve experienced a recurring theme lately, and it’s not a positive one. I work with a lot of great leaders who also happen to be great people. They work hard, and most of them have contributed an incredible amount of value to the organizations they lead.

Now a number of those individuals are approaching the end of their careers, and they’re having a difficult time thinking about the long term best interests of the business when their own careers are very short term. For these people, it’s becoming more and more about them and less and less about what’s good for the business. The value they’re bringing decreases every year as their careers wind down.

But just because you’ve worked somewhere for thirty years doesn’t mean you get to spend the last ten coasting through your day and taking home a big check. Most businesses can’t afford to pay somebody a big salary to do nothing. Unfortunately, too many businesses are doing just that.

Recently a business leader explained that “I’ve worked so hard for such a long time & I just don’t feel like I have the energy to do that anymore.” Great. No problem. Then don’t work as hard. But don’t try to tell everybody that you deserve to get paid as though you are still working that hard. Your salary is based on the value you’re bringing today – not the value you brought fifteen years ago.

You might be telling yourself that this doesn’t apply to you. You’re either not at that stage in your career, or if you are, you’re certainly not stealing from the company by getting paid to do nothing. Fine. Ask yourself these questions anyway: What do I do that really brings value to this organization? How much of that am I doing? What am I actually spending my time doing on a daily basis? Are those things valuable? If an employee was doing what I’m doing, how much would we pay them? Would they even be allowed to stay here?

I spoke with a CEO recently who explained to me what he does every day. It sounded like stuff you could have an intern do. Ask yourself honestly if you’re still bringing that high level of value that you’re being paid for. Better yet, find some peers or advisors or somebody who’s honest who will tell you what they see. Too many experienced leaders live in a bubble of their own ego and can’t see when they’ve become dead weight. Don’t be that person.

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