Author Archives for Seymour Burchman and Barry Sullivan

Do Nonfinancial Measures Have To Be Soft?

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In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Graham Kenny posits that nonfinancial measures should be included alongside financial measures in incentive plans. He goes on to say that this is leading companies to use both hard and soft performance measures—where ‘soft’ measures can be more subjective in nature. We wholeheartedly agree with the premise—so much so that we wonder if Kenny goes far enough, particularly where subjectivity is concerned. For many, however, the element of subjectivity in this context implies an arbitrary assessment of performance against goals, based on the general sense of the board’s compensation committee.  This interpretation rightly... Read More


Launching a New Business Requires Something Special

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Innovation has long been critical to a company’s sustained success. Yet many companies fail to innovate meaningfully and consistently—and compensation programs may be partly to blame for many firms’ failures. In our experience, the compensation programs within larger corporations are typically not structured to appropriately reward entrepreneurial teams that are starting innovative ventures.  For example, metrics are often wrong, measurement periods are frequently too short, and the size of the rewards are rarely commensurate with the incremental value they create. We know of three executives who were instrumental in launching $100 million-plus businesses. Despite the huge incremental value all three... Read More