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Getting Your Team in a Net Profit State Mind By Jason Bader Jason @ Distr ibution team .com everal years ago while doing some private consulting work with a plumbing supply company in the Midwest, I discovered a road block that I believe is entrenched in many distributorships. In this instance, it involved the company's profit sharing program. Essentially, each full-time employee was entitled to a monthly bonus based on the profitability of the organization. It was a very generous program put forth by the owners of the company, and I am a huge proponent of these types of profit sharing plans. Unfortunately, there was one little drawback that impeded the effectiveness of this moti- S 36 FEDA New s & View s vational strategy: The recipients didn't understand where the money came from. I learned of this roadblock when I was speaking with a new employee in the warehouse. We talked a little about the structure of the company and how his first couple of months had been. I tend to get the most unbiased information from the newest members of any team. Eventually, I asked him about the profit sharing program. His eyes lit up and he told me how great it was. He told me about getting a check each month. I asked him what the bonus was based on. "When the company makes more money, we get a bigger bonus," he explained. I agreed that it was a pretty cool deal, but then I asked him what he could personally do to affect the size of the check. He looked at me and smiled, "I don't really know, but I keep on getting them." Herein lies the disconnect between company profitability and employee motivation. The Fear of Disclosure I have always loved the expression Open the Kimono when referring to disclosure of company financials. It conjures images of forbidden, magical secrets known only to executive management. For those of you who spend time around financials, I am sure that you would agree that there is nothing mystical or thrilling about an income continued on page 38

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