The Team Schism

If you work for a company, you presumably want that company to thrive and succeed, right? So if your company came to you and said “We’ll be more profitable and successful if you take a 50% salary cut,” you’d leap at the chance, right?

Okay, clean the spit off your screen, and let’s continue.

You’ve now encountered the fundamental conflict in all motivation – the conflict between success of the self and success of the team. We want both of those things to be true. But when push comes to shove, most people will pick themselves most of the time.

It’s natural – you can’t pour from an empty cup, after all. We’ve all gotta eat. So if you want someone to do what’s “good for the team,” then you have to align the incentives such that the same actions serve both goals. If you can’t do that, then people are going to be acting against the team most of the time.

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