Who signs your paycheck? Sound like an easy one huh?
But very few people – employees or entrepreneurs – can correctly answer this question.
Employees think the boss or business owner does. Of course, you instantly recognize that mistake. And you would probably try and educate your staff that it’s the customer who really pays their wages. Even that is simplistic. The money that materializes in the bank account to pay your salary and dividends, profits and perks as well as your employees’ wages is dependent on a more complex collection of sources and constituencies.
For example, in the publishing world, most book publishers, their editors treat the authors like crap. (Only one of my two publishers is guilty.) They think the author is their slave, to be told what to do, and to be tolerated as a necessary nuisance in producing product. Similarly, in Hollywood, writers are treated worst, actors almost as badly.
While it is true that the publisher is paying the author, there’s more to the relationship than that. Because publishers can only distribute books but can’t sell them, they are dependent on the authors to promote. If an author rolls over and goes to sleep, they’ll have a dud book on their hands. Thus, they should be marketing to their authors as an important constituency, to get certain things in return.
When I took my Wealth Group to Disney, on the Dawn Safari, we learned something about hippos. They can’t clean their own teeth. Can’t handle floss. So there are lots of a particular kind of little, tiny fish that hang around hippos. The hippos hold their mouths open so the little fish can safely swim in and out. The fish feed on the scraps of food stuck between the hippos’ teeth. The fish are floss for the hippos, the hippos provide food for the fish. It’s called a ‘symbiotic relationship.’
The money that covers your paychecks probably comes from several different symbiotic relationships, if not hundreds. Not just with customers, but with middlemen like distributors, dealers, retailers, your own sales force, your front desk staff; whoever touches the customer or provides or refers customers. With vendors and suppliers. With the media. With JV partners. Etc.
These people can’t be taken for granted or stuck in the seat at the far back of the bus. They are all important. They must all be communicated with, cajoled, motivated, persuaded, managed. There should be no one way streets. There should be deliberately engineered symbiotic relationships, with all parties knowing their roles and appreciating – and being reminded to appreciate – the contributions of the other parties.
You might give some thought, make a list, make a chart of everyone who, in one way or another, you need signatures from, before you can cash your paycheck. Then consider how good a job you do keeping them all happy with the relationship. Sort of like being a polygamist.