BS Shorts #21: 19.05.22
Work is not for charity
It’s seen as less acceptable, is it not, for charity executives to earn big bucks. It’s commonplace of course to kick footballers and high flying financiers for earning egregiously.
There may be something rather British about this moralising. In charities, there is the misconception that funds channelled to employees is skimming what rightfully belongs to the cause. Well yes, until this becomes a blatant false economy. Fail to pay appropriately and the best talent wanders elsewhere.
This is only the start of the problem, because in their desperation (egged on by public sentiment) to ensure that more money goes to those in need, charities don’t adopt sound business principles and become paralysed by fear of error and failure.
To grow, a business has to experiment and take calculated risks, whether strategically or financially. The net result of ultra-conservatism is stasis, which Dan Pallotta explains beautifully in his 2013 TED talk.
Finding great talent
There’s a fair comparison to make with British MPs’ remuneration, who earn on average £70,000 p.a. and, reasonably enough, are disincentivised from taking ancillary work. By national standards, this is still a significant wage but if you consider the regular Westminster to constituency commutes and the foul torrent of abuse that most MPs endure at one time or other, it’s a wonder anyone wants to do it.
As with the charitable sector, the great concern for our politics now is a lack of real talent. Many MPs join the House of Commons now with no real world experience beyond writing a few ministerial speeches or taking a SPAD role, and when you consider who the current role models are, we should be genuinely worried that most young people don’t aspire to a political career. No wonder.
Interestingly, in Singapore, politicians are paid serious six and seven figure salaries and so attract the very best of the crop. I’d like to see Nadine Dorries, Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and Liz Truss go through that recruitment process.
Next week with Sir Martin Sorrell
On the next instalment of A Load of BS, I'm in ad land again in conversation with Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP and now the fast expanding S4 Capital. We'll be talking about his big influences, big deal making, big data and motivation for doing it all again.
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