It’s Not About The Money (A Love ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em Post)

Love 'Em or Lose 'Em

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em

I am happy to share my thoughts on Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans.

I find it so fun that the concepts in this book are presented as “ABCs” of leadership. For instance, “A” is for “Ask” which reminds leaders to ask themselves, “Do you know what they really want?” The book leads us through “D” for “Dignity” (In how many ways do you show you respect them [your employees]?), “P” for “Passion” (Do you know what gets them up every morning?”) through, finally, “Z” for “Zenith” (How will you sustain your commitment to engagement?).

I could write an individual post on each letter of the alphabet and its related leadership parallel, but based on the comments to my post last week, I think it’s best to expound tonight on the idea that money isn’t the primary reason people stay at an employer.

One of the first exercises I participated in when I began the Certified Public Manager program was one that focused on ranking my personal values. Once I had done that, the group compiled all of their responses to this exercise. Although our “number ones” differed from one another, in almost all of the cases, “money” or “salary” was five, six, or lower. Most attendees were surprised at this answer.

In this book, Kaye and Jordan-Evans cover the topic of pay in the “A” for “Ask” chapter. They note that “pay” is number seven on a list of reasons people give for staying in their organizations (exciting/challenging/meaningful work is number one)*.


This is certainly true for me. You know those people who say, “going to work doesn’t feel like going to work because I love it so much”? There’s something to that. I see it in the acting community … in the people who show up, completely for free, to volunteer on a set, to be an extra, to do a favor for a producer who needs a certain line said or role played. Sure there are actors who make big money, but in many cases I dare say they would do most of what they do for free, just because it brings them joy. It’s why I get up early and connect via Twitter as “The Optimism Light.” It’s why I write blog posts for various causes I love, not because I get compensated financially but because it brings me joy to “connect the dots” between people, causes, and themes.

I’ve heard it in organizations. If only we got a 5% raise this year. If only my performance were recognized with a bonus. A person with two degrees is making more than me even though she does half the work. It’s not fair. People in private industry have so many more perks. Or, conversely: People in public service have the thrill of a cause to work for. In my opinion, although there is some truth to all of those statements, a “Love ‘Em” leader can dig a little deeper and find some other motivator that would retain the individual or at least to understand what issues are behind the person’s “if only” statements. And a manager who becomes adept at doing that is a manager who is less likely to “Lose ‘Em.”

What keeps you at an employer? If you are a supervisor, what strategies have you found to ascertain what makes employees “tick”?

It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.

-George Lorimer

*For the complete “what kept you” survey data, visit and click on the “What Kept You” link.

I received a complimentary copy of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Currently (Running For Meg and Never Looking Back)

Our Front Yard

Our Front Yard

I read an interesting blog recently that uses the “currently” template (thank you, Jenna, for the inspiration). I’m giving it a whirl this weekend for my weekly post.  (The bold headings are the “currently” template).

Currently Thinking about:

I am currently thinking about how fleetingly time passes. Although I feel that I always take “the long view” and appreciate every moment, and don’t view my November 50th birthday as a bad thing, I am itching to be able to say “and I never looked back” like Joel Robison, a guy who got a job with Coke on their FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour because he did what he loved, for the love of it, and eventually it turned into a job. My “30 Days of Camp Gordon Johnston” project is underway … it’s a start of telling a story I so want to tell.

Currently Reading:

On paper, I am reading “Love ‘Em or Lose “Em: Getting Good People to Stay” by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. (I will be blogging about it next week.) I have not gotten very far into the book yet, but I already see many concepts with which I agree, such as the idea that compensation is not the top reason people stay with organizations (number 1 in this book is listed as “exciting, challenging, or meaningful work” whereas “fair pay” is number 6). This correlates with what we learned in our Certified Public Manager program — that the things that keep people in a particular workplace a) differ from person to person and b) are not predominantly compensation issues.

Love 'Em or Lose 'Em

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em

On audio, I am listening to The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman. I am not a Fox News watcher but I am drawn to a well-reported story about someone (Roger Ailes) who has done so many things (yes, I DO remember the Mike Douglas show; I didn’t know Ailes was a hemophiliac or that he was a Broadway producer). I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t mention the audiobook I finished right before this one: Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. Beyond the obvious ethical questions (patient euthanasia during a hurricane-induced system-wide crisis), so many things about this book made me think and think hard.

Currently Listening to: 

I downloaded two great Rock My Run mixes this week (Born to Run and The Comeback); I give them two HUGE thumbs up. I am also listening to Chris Russell’s RunRunLive interview with Dave McGillivray, Director of the Boston Marathon.

Currently Watching:

I don’t watch much, but my husband and I just finished watching 30 for 30: The Price of Gold, the ESPN feature about the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding incident of 1993.  I am a huge figure skating fan, and I was in Detroit at the National Championships when the attack occurred. Indicative of the times, we learned more about what was going on from CNN than from anything local. I wonder how social media would have changed our access to information.

Currently Thankful For:

I am thankful for my fellow runners. After the death earlier this week of runner (and wife/mom) Meg Menzies, who was killed by a drunk driver while she was out running, thousands of runners, walkers, and supporters banded together to run, walk, and move yesterday in her memory and to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. The hashtag for the event was “#megsmiles.” Although I frequently run alone, especially on Saturdays, it felt every kind of wrong (for me) to run solo yesterday. I felt my fellow “Badass Army” friends and started off my run with them. That felt every kind of right. Thank you, friends. Scott and Meg’s children: you are all in my prayers and will remain there — having lost a family member at the age of 30 who left behind young children, I know the road ahead is hard. But you have thousands of supporters behind you. I hope that makes a difference.


In closing, a quote I saw this week that captures so much of what I am feeling right now:


Have a great week, everyone!

(And if you want to do your own “currently,” use the template then

link up via the button below!)