One of the most prominent illustrations to understand reward would be our own childhood experience when we are given something for doing or accomplishing something. Did the meaning of reward ever change?In the last 48 hours I’ve spoken to about 500 people from a Junior Association of Management to graduating high school students of Tanza National High School in Navotas City (with Mayor John Rey Tiangco in the audience) to the DBP Scholars in Davao City. It was a crazy schedule but I did manage to learn something from my audience.
As a professional motivational speaker, I don’t only speak. Mostly before an event or a seminar, I ask some people about their thoughts and ideas. One blessing that I have is most people don’t expect me to be a speaker. So, without any hesitation, they tell me their thoughts. It’s fun when those I asked would soon see me on stage and they have to wonder if I were the person in the audience who just asked them minutes ago.
But today’s topic is about rewards, which many people have a diverse take on. Opinion matters as far as our own conviction and understanding are concerned. However, opinions are created by what I call awareness. One danger about stating an opinion without a clear understanding of the subject or issue is that it creates a confusion rather than it encourages a healthy conversation.
So really, how do you understand reward?
When we were younger, probably as young as five or seven, there were many ways to see rewards. One, we were given a bonus or additional allowance for performing well at something. Two, we were given free time. Three, we were given a toy. Four, we were given freedom, although sometimes with pre-approved conditions.Nonetheless, we were given rewards. It’s something that motivated us to do more. It gives us a sort of empowerment that fuels our drive to perform even better at something. Probably without reward, we wouldn’t want to exceed our previous performances.
Such attitude was part of a global mind programming, where we were instructed to think in a certain way and anything apart from it is wrong. And so growing up, rewards have become a very big deal for most people, especially if you’re in an industry where reward is king. Let’s take the case of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and real estate industries.
I would sometimes wonder, what if reward isn’t invented? What if there’s no sales commission at stake? Would sales people really work so hard? Would they stretch themselves beyond their limits? Would they find their career enjoyable? Would they take that little extra effort to close the deal?
Based on my interviews, they wouldn’t.
It’s sad but it’s true. Probably, it’s only a generic take on the issue, but sure it is something to think about. Without any bias to my own personal experience, I would have probably the same take about rewards such as additional perks and commissions and shared profits.
There was a popular real estate companies that once invited me for a meeting. They call it exploratory talk about their upcoming national sales kick-off rally. I can understand the pressure. There isn’t many corporate speakers in the Philippines. In five years time, probably a company may have to repeat with a quality speaker. While there is an incredible number of in-house and freelance trainers and other trainers in between, it’s somehow difficult to find someone who can connect and share the same passion as the audience.
Going back to this real estate company, here are some of my observations about the people I’ve met. No offense but I’d like this to be a wakeup call, too, because it can give a better appreciation of what real reward is.
When inviting a speaker or trainer, one must know its need. In which case, I was asked what I’d like to discuss. I can discuss a good number of subjects but in the end, it’s not about me or my speech. It’s about the impact and connection of my lecture in the audience. Therefore, it shouldn’t be about me or my works for they are only secondary. For me, the best entry point is the need. Without it, how would I know what to talk about best?Next, I believe they are good people. There were four of them I’ve met including the vice president of sales and the marketing manager. “We just wanted them to sell more this year.” is probably one of the most unintelligent idea you can present when you really need to get your “reward.” Hearing this idea from one of the company’s big wigs is surprising but interesting, too. Why? Because 7 out of your competitors may probably come up with the same goal. But the main problem, if you will, isn’t the goal or the quota but the way to finish strong.
Third, you don’t challenge someone especially if one is very much younger than you are. Your being way older isn’t a measure of more success or more experiences in life. You can’t judge the person by his age or complexion or size or gender. One philosophy that I consistently live by goes like, “I don’t have the responsibility to explain my self to others much less prove something to them.” For me, it’s a waste of time. My sole responsibility is to be a good steward of what God has given me. To explain my self and what I did for the sake of proving other people that I did took care of God’s blessings so well that I achieved this-and-that is not part of my values system. I always wish I can just keep quiet.
While this company will surely survive, I don’t think it will ever achieve its full potential in the months to come for they only treat their sales people as another tool to advance their personal interests. It’s sad to say this because the company has a good reputation at least judging from its advertisements but I don’t think they have the heart to give people real rewards.Real reward means something more than money or anything that we can ever touch, feel, see, and hear. Real reward means you’re able to contribute something and your heart was so fulfilled that you no longer have to yearn for more perks, additional bonuses, and higher sales commissions. Money is an important part of life. But I don’t think it’s the most important.
In the end, highest reward that one can ever get is a life that is so wonderfully lived that you can tell your self, “Thank you, God, for helping me to live my life to the best of my ability.” I think nothing beats the feeling of fulfillment.