“I don’t care if you ARE a millionaire, GET ME MY COFFEE….!!”

December 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm (Sales and Business)



Now, I don’t know if Bill Gates ACTUALLY said this to any of the employees at Microsoft… but I DO know that many of them became millionaires.

The story goes that a good few years ago, the employees of a then little known firm called Microsoft were offered share options instead of Christmas bonuses when the firm was still in its infancy. Of course, those who believed in Bill Gates and his vision of “a personal computer in every home” took the share options and those who decided that this young upstart was crazy and way out of his depth probably took the bonuses. Whilst there was a difference in the “Instant – but short-lived gratification” (The Christmas bonus) and the “Delayed but compounded gratification” (The Microsoft share options) experienced by the “Non-believers” and “Believers” respectively, their actions were largely dictated by what they believed would happen in the future with Microsoft and whether or not they believed in Gates’ Vision would come to fruition.

We all know what happened with Microsoft shares – they went through the roof.

This brings me onto one of the most important factors of getting people to support you, your ideas and your vision in business.

How to motivate a workforce is something that has puzzled managers for many years but has recently become even more important. Gone are the days that people would swap their lives for “The business”. That loyalty, especially in cut-throat, highly competitive markets, has gone. Especially when you are looking for the retention of “hard-hitting, impression making, alpha types” that give your business that cutting edge over the competition.  

So what is the best way to get employees on your side, ready to go out and represent the company as if it were their own? To talk with passion about the place of their employment. To brag to their friends about the company their work for?

I will tell you some things that it’s not. It’s NOT the amount of money they get paid. It’s not the bonuses they are promised. It’s not the boozy lunches, it’s not the Golf Days…

It comes down to much more than that.

Let me take a little time out here to explain why money is not a motivating factor – especially on a salaried basis.

People spend in accordance with what they earn. If you pay a person more, very often, they will spend more.

Sometimes even getting deeper into debt because they are purchasing more and more expensive items – normally items that lose value quickly too. So six months down the line, the person earning £45 000 per year is no better off than they were when they got to the end of the month when earning £40 000 per year. So they see no difference and there is no different reaction. Someone working for a one-off bonus may be slightly different as it’s a sizable one-off payment and no doubt there is a clear target that needs to be met prior to obtaining that goal. This will result in working late nights and early mornings until the goal is achieved.

I read somewhere that it takes three months from a pay increase for an employee to move back to “wanting more” again.

So what is it that makes employees great? That brings them in as a team and gets them all acting in unison?

From my experience, it comes down to 2 things and for all you business owners and managers out there, if you get these two things right, your company will become a very sought after employer and you will retain more good staff.

The first point is that employees need to feel understood and valued for their abilities and secondly, more importantly, they need to feel inspired with the company venture. The project. The Vision.

Steve Covey talks about this in  7 Habits of Highly Effective People, about people who have their own unique mission with-in the business and are very proud of it.

Employees need to be led. They need to feel that they are valued. If you show someone, anyone that you value them, be it in a relationship, as a business partner, as a client or even as an employee, they will go that extra mile for you. By just saying, “I pay your salary, so you do what I say” is likely to get peoples backs up. Nobody likes to feel like they are being manipulated into doing something.

Now, let’s be honest here: Not all employees are going to be people who are going to be the work focused, “Go the extra mile” for the company types. You are always going to have people who come in at 9 on the dot and leave at one minute to 5 but my guess is that those people have their passion somewhere else – in another field but they are more than capable of doing their job to the required standard. If a manager can talk to them about their passion and show at least an interest in the employee, the employee will in turn become  more manageable.

In closing, a large amount of managers and business owners would give anything to win their employees “Hearts and Minds”. To make them totally congruent with the values of the business. Achieving this is much easier said than done. But, again quoting from Dr Covey, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood”, learn to get an idea of what makes your employees tick. Understand them and then move to allowing them to understand your point of view and how your point of view and the  companies point of view will benefit them. If the manager can do this, winning hearts and minds will be a lot easier…. and hopefully, a lot more automatic. 😉

Now to tie this in with the heading that no doubt captured your imagination. If any of those employees who worked for Microsoft in that era were asked “Do you like your boss?” I have a funny feeling it would have been met with a response along the lines of “Oh Hell YEAH…! He made me into a millionaire!!”

These opinions are my own but ones that I have used in the workplace too. I know there are a great number of business owners, mangers and employees who read this blog so I would warmly welcome your comments on this.

Have a GREAT week, folks 😉




  1. Andrew Smith said,

    Well balanced again, Mr. Harrison!

    The one thing I would also add is its not just employees that will buy into this. In my experience valued business customers are those that also feel they are understood and there are about to embark on a ‘value exchange’. They too also need to feel inspired with the company and its vision.

    That’s another reason why Microsoft became so successful.

    • urbanjunglesurvival said,

      Agreed Andrew.

      Clients, after all are looking for business partners for these “Value exchanges” and therefore so much of the new business development from a B to B point of view has got to be more from a “Consultative” point of view rather than the outdated “Beauty parade”….. WHat a rubbish term that was!!

  2. Grant said,

    Loved it, I think this ties in well to some research a company I worked for who make soft skills training resources did for a new programme on why people leave companies.

    They found much the same in terms of motivators, the three main reasons they found which motivated staff to leave and find greener pastures was Stress, lack of recognition and boredom.

    Keep em coming Mr PH awesome


    • urbanjunglesurvival said,

      Interesting Grant – it also costs so much to replace people including recruitment agency fees, down-time because of Training of new recruits, management time etc etc….

      I will keep them coming 🙂


  3. Tweets that mention “I don’t care if you ARE a millionaire, GET ME MY COFFEE….!!” « Urbanjunglesurvival's Blog -- Topsy.com said,

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by imeldak, Paul Harrison. Paul Harrison said: don't care if your a millionaire -http://bit.ly/6KCBjs […]

  4. andy said,

    I love the analogies, really hit home with some solid advice built in. You have a unique writing stuff, that is fun, infectious and very informative. Its as if I am speaking to you as I read the posts. That passion comes through onto my screen.



  5. Bobby Koetser said,

    Another punchy view Paul – sure you’re not an HR graduate?

    Employers get the employees they deserve, so treat them like gold if you aspire to win their hearts and minds!


  6. Greg said,

    Big Paul

    Brilliant as always , I will use this in both my aluminium and retail shops .

    There seems to be ” MPPI ” principles coming through
    I LOVE IT ..

    Thanks Harry

  7. Mel said,

    Hi Paul

    All very true. Large performance-driven bonuses aside (which you recognised have different effects), salary is often more about retention that motivation. From what I have seen, a base salary of almost any amount doesn’t buy much motivation if the individual has the impression they can easily get hired by someone else for similar money. I just stumbled across the following (different topic) which might be of interest:



    • urbanjunglesurvival said,

      Great video Mel. He is right on the money. Sometimes being able to step back and view things from a different angle can change EVERYTHING. Also, always asking that questions “How can I do htis better?”, “How can I deliver more value, at less cost to more people, quicker, than what I am currently doing”. If you keep asking those questions, make no mistake, you WILL get an answer.

  8. Paulo said,


    Brilliant addition from your tool belt of knowledge.

    If I may add my two cents worth

    There is a region in our brains called the Nucleus Accumbens.It is also known as the ‘pleasure centre’. It releases Dopamine which creates a feeling of contentment and pleasure which drives addiction. The greater the excitement – the greater the addiction. Financial compensation is linked to this area of the brain.
    A different region of the brain, called posterior superior temporal sulcus, is responsable for social interactions. This is also sometimes called the ‘Altruism centre’. Feeling valued and inspired makes us want to go that extra mile for your company.

    To summarize: Making an employee feel more valued and inspired will make them more productive than just offering a financial compensation. The ability to get both regions of the brain to fire off at the same time will guarantee outstanding results.

    Thanks for bringing this information back to the front of consciousness.


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