Startup Equity: What About Performance? (Part 10 of an n part series)

Stickman Startup Performance Dashboard“But, how do I make sure that the person is a great performer before I am forced to give them equity?”

This question gets asked by nearly every Founder, Investor or Compensation Committee Member very early in the development of an equity compensation plan. Sometimes it is expressed more genuinely as, “I don’t want to give away part of my company to someone who hasn’t carried their fair share.” Either way, the concern is valid. Sometimes the answer is very simple, and sometimes it is not.

Your equity compensation plan should be aligned with Continue reading

Evolving Equity Like It’s a Flying Machine

untitled3Other professionals in HR, compensation and investing frequently ask why I am so passionate about changing the way companies use equity compensation. They point out that the majority of companies follow the same path and many companies (as well as many individuals) have been very successful with the current paradigm (see below for a quick summary). Why mess with something that seems to work at least some of the time?

I ask you to consider the Continue reading

The Best Performance Goals Are D.U.M.B.

untitledAnyone who has taken a class or performed a Google-search on performance goals has learned about the concept of “SMART” goals. The most common breakdown seems to be: S – Specific, M – Measureable, A – Attainable, R – Relevant, and T – Time-bound. We all seem to know this and yet many still seem to have problems creating successful pay for performance programs. I would like to propose a new D.U.M.B. approach that celebrates the spirit of insanity.  Insanity is being defined as the repetition of doing the same thing, again and again, with the expectation of different results. If SMART goals aren’t working for you, why not try DUMB goals?

D.U.M.B Goals are: Continue reading

Equity Compensation – Performance Earned Units (PEUs), The First Ingredient in a P4P Stew

Stickman - Equity Comp-PEUAll too often the myriad types of truly performance-based equity get muddled together into a stew. Like other great equity compensation ingredients (RSS, RSU, ISO, NQSO) each type of performance equity should first be tried as an independent ingredient before being thrown into your LTI pot and hoping for the best. Performance Earned Units (PEUs) are a fairly pure form of Pay for Performance (P4P), so I figure we should start with them. Continue reading

CFO Corner: Say on Pay Campaigning and the 97% Rule

stickman - say on pay and the 97 percent rule

It’s proxy season and Say on Pay is once again on the minds of anyone involved in executive compensation. As of this past week, about 170 companies have reported their results and less than 2% have failed. When we are at the end of this season, it looks like it will be somewhere south of 3% failures, about where we were the past two years. Let’s start with the positive, what I like to call the 97% rule. 97 out of every 100 companies have executive compensation practices that meet or exceed the desires of their shareholders. Continue reading