I just returned from Oklahoma City where I converted Richard and Jan Hill’s three Eden Salon & Spas from commission to Team-Based Pay. I’ve been doing TBP conversions for over 35 years. I have done them for salons, spas, manufacturing companies and high-end retail stores. And for over 35 years, I have been at the epicenter of the often heated debate between commission and non-commission believers. My usual response to, “I don’t believe in TBP,” is, “It’s not a religion – it’s a compensation system.” Then again, if I’m perceived as some “TBP Guru” on a global crusade converting commission companies to TBP, then perhaps their perception is somewhat true. Commission believers see their method as a prime motivator to perform. TBP believers see their method as a means to create a dynamic culture.
Just last month, J.C. Penney’s new CEO, Ron Johnson, eliminated commission in all stores including clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, appliances, electronics and salons. Until late 2011, Johnson, along with Steve Jobs, headed up the creation and operations of the wildly successful Apple Stores. Apple Stores are non-commission and Johnson wanted to create the same “do what’s best for the customer/relationship building” culture at J.C. Penney. It was a bold move that clearly rocked the boat throughout J.C. Penney, but it also cleared the way to shift the culture to customer-centric rather than sales-centric. It will be interesting to observe the transition.
Pay conversions away from commission top the list as the one change that owners and leaders fear most. However, the fear comes from a lack of understanding about TBP, the conversion process, the systems that drive it, and how to lead a company that no longer has commission as the prime motivator – if it even is the prime motivator. [Read more...]