When Companies Hire Above You To Make a Statement (or Force You Out)...

There's a lot of plays in the ole' Human Capital Management playbook.  There are plays for recruits, high performers, difficult team members, managers, struggling performers and more....

This play is one that's run occasionally for low/struggling performers.  It's called:

"We're Hiring Someone in a Position of Authority Above You. In your functional area"

Bigger title than you.  You report to them.  You probably didn't even know we were in the market, but we just told you, so hey - meet the new boss.   You WERE probably the boss before if this play was ran, so the Who song doesn't apply ("meet the new boss, same as the old boss..).  If you were the boss and we just hired a superior above you to run your department, well, it's pretty clear the new boss is different than the old boss.

Got that?  Good.  Let's give you an example - Sean Spicer is out as the spokesperson for the Trump administration, but his resignation didn't come until Trump just hired someone above him.  More from The New York SpicerTimes:

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned Friday after telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with his appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier, as his new communications director.

After offering Mr. Scaramucci the job on Friday morning, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Spicer to stay on as press secretary, reporting to Mr. Scaramucci. But Mr. Spicer rejected the offer, expressing his belief that Mr. Scaramucci’s hiring would add to the confusion and uncertainty already engulfing the White House, according to two people with direct knowledge of the exchange.

If the moves amounted to a kind of organizational reset, it was not part of a pivot or grand redesign. The president, according to a dozen people familiar with the situation, meant to upgrade, not overhaul, his existing staff with the addition of a smooth-talking, Long Island-bred former hedge fund manager who is currently the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank, which he joined just last month. His rapport with the president establishes a new power center in a building already bristling with rivalry.

The hiring of Scaramucci above Spicer is a classic example of the play outlined above -"We're Hiring Someone in a Position of Authority Above You."

Are we firing you?  Nope.  Do you have the same level of authority you did?  Nope.  Here's a couple of things anyone who uses this play is trying to say:

--You aren't performing at a high level.  That's obvious if we hired a new position above you without letting you know/apply.

--Your performance hasn't been great.  Also obvious if we did what we did.

--We don't think you can do everything we need you to do.

--BUT - and this is significant - we aren't ready to fire you.  You have some sort of value, and we'd like you to continue.

Whether you continue or not in the role is up to you.  You'll likely have to reframe how you view yourself and what the possibilities are in our organization.  Can you do that?

If you can't, then you'll probably resign.  If you can't but can't afford to resign (yet), there's probably going to be some bumps in the road with the new boss.  

Meet the new boss.  You didn't even have a boss in your area of expertise yesterday.  #deep


Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: Scrubs and Workplace References in TV/Movies

Who am I?  Who cares?  Good questions.  It's my site, so I'm going dig in once in a awhile by telling you more about who I am - via a "Stuff I Like" series.  Nothing too serious, just exploring the micro-niche that resides at the base of all of our lives.  Potshots encouraged in the comments.

----------------------------------------------------

If there's one thing I love, it's work references in TV shows..

And a decade or so ago, NO ONE did that better than NBC's Scrubs.  

--Turk and JD..

--Dr. Cox and the rest of the crew...

Was reminded of the brilliance embedded in the workplace references in Scrubs when we were doing BOSS Leadership Training for an ATL-based client this week.  

One of the videos we used to kick off a section of the training was the 100% money video below of JD looking forward to his performance review, Dr. Cox telling him he doesn't have enough time to do it and asking him to write his own review.

Sound familiar?  Check out the video below, and please don't block my view of my afternoon shows as you're completing your own performance review for me to turn in...

(email subscribers click through for video)


UBER-ing: 5 Thoughts About Naming Your Primary Conference Room The WAR ROOM...

In case you missed it, one of the outcomes of the Uber fiasco - in addition to an indefinite leave for the CEO, departure of a board member for an inappropriate comment during an all-hands meeting among other things - was that the company will be renaming it's primary conference/board room from "The War Room" to "The Peace Room".  More from Bloomberg:

Uber is trying to turn a new chapter in its history, and is renaming its "War Room" the "Peace Room," according to Bloomberg. Uber

On Tuesday, Uber released a 13-page report it had commissioned from Eric Holder, the former US attorney general, and his firm, which sought to evaluate and make recommendations for changes to Uber's corporate culture.

"Several of Uber’s planned changes are symbolic," Bloomberg's Eric Newcomer wrote. "For example, a conference room known as the War Room will be renamed the Peace Room."

Uber will also jettison many of its "cultural values." Here are a few that are getting the ax: “Let Builders Build; Always Be Hustlin’; Meritocracy and Toe-Stepping; and Principled Confrontation.”

Where at we meeting at Kinetix today?  THE WAR ROOM.  Should we change thatname?  Here's some thoughts from the a company where the halls are orange and the majority owner is a woman:

--If I'm apologetic to anyone from our primary conference room being named the War Room, it's not the folks who expect political correctness, it's veterans who have participated in armed conflict.  Business isn't war.  If a hat tip is necessary to anyone, it's vets.

--Our culture is pretty far from Uber.  I'm not sure renaming the room is necessary for us.

--We've named all of our offices, and most of them are pop culture movie and music references.  So the rest of the names are pretty soft.

--We don't have the values that Uber had, but our values are pretty action-oriented.  War room fits the action orientation.

--My CEO would fire me if I changed the name of The War Room to The Peace Room.  Too much.  I'd fire me too.

I get why Uber is doing all of these visible things.  They need to overcorrect.  The rest of us don't.  "Always Be Hustlin'" as a value?  Tells you all you need to know.

Alternatives if you need to change the name of "The War Room" to something else:

--The Conflict Room (lame)

--Politically Incorrect (descriptive, but presents liability)

--Mosh Pit (rock is dead, won't work..)

--Hunger Games (probably true and pop culture reference fits)

--Let's Get It On 

Scratch that last one, that was from Uber's list right before they named it The War Room....

Hit me with your best option in the comments to rename "The War Room".... If you say "Conference Room 1", I'll slap you.


MESSED UP PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Wall Selfie in Workplace (Confidential)...

Yeah, so I travel a bit for work - and I always try and grab some photos.  Ended up at a employer not to be named and took this one a few months back.  To be fair, this wasn't in the entrance of the building but a next level hallway.  Take a look and I've got a comment or two after the jump (email subscribers click through for image):

Selfie

Comments:

--Yes, that's a selfie being taken by a camera, not a smartphone.

--Yes, it's unclear if there's a viewfinder which would indicate it's digital over film.  We're not sure.

--Employer business is focused on sales to youth.  No, I'm not ####ing you.

Bonus points for getting the good looking people right.  Note to marketing director - just take the original art/image and cut that #### down and make it this:

Selfie2

I'm here for you, companies of the Brontosaurus age.  You're vintage, I'll give you that.

 

 


Best Predictors of Higher Income Attainment in 12 Year Old Kids? Rule Breaking/Defiance of Parental Authority Of Course...

Ready for some science today?  Of course you are.  You want to be taken back to the college days where you'd figure out how to game the Dewey Decimal System to find the right cites for that lame research paper you had to write.

Actually, this cite is kind of cool - it comes from the Journal of Developmental Psychology Defiant kidand breaks down Best Predictor of Higher Income Attainment in 12 Year Old Kids... That's right, they measured a bunch of kids 30-40 years ago and tracked them.

Turns out, the rule breakers and the kids who are hard on their parents win.  Check out the full abstract below for some details...

--------------------------

Student characteristics and behaviors at age 12 predict occupational success 40 years later over and above childhood IQ and parental socioeconomic status.

Spengler M, et al. Dev Psychol. 2015.
 
Authors
Spengler M1Brunner M2Damian RI3Lüdtke O4Martin R1Roberts BW3.

Author information

  • 1University of Luxembourg.
  • 2Free University.
  • 3University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • 4Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education.

Drawing on a 2-wave longitudinal sample spanning 40 years from childhood (age 12) to middle adulthood (age 52), the present study was designed to examine how student characteristics and behaviors in late childhood (assessed in Wave 1 in 1968) predict career success in adulthood (assessed in Wave 2 in 2008). We examined the influence of parental socioeconomic status (SES), childhood intelligence, and student characteristics and behaviors (inattentiveness, school entitlement, responsible student, sense of inferiority, impatience, pessimism, rule breaking and defiance of parental authority, and teacher-rated studiousness) on 2 important real-life outcomes (i.e., occupational success and income). The longitudinal sample consisted of N = 745 persons who participated in 1968 (M = 11.9 years, SD = 0.6; 49.9% female) and 2008 (M = 51.8 years, SD = 0.6; 53.3% female). Regression analyses and path analyses were conducted to evaluate the direct and indirect effects (via education) of the predictors on career success. The results revealed direct and indirect influences of student characteristics (responsible student, rule breaking and defiance of parental authority, and teacher-rated studiousness) across the life span on career success after adjusting for differences in parental SES and IQ at age 12.

One surprising finding was that rule breaking and defiance of parental authority was the best noncognitive predictor of higher income after accounting for the influence of IQ, parental SES, and educational attainment. Given the nature of our archival data, the possible explanations are rather ad hoc and our exploratory results need to be replicated.

For instance, individuals who scored low on Agreeableness were also shown to earn more money (Judge, Livingston, & Hurst, 2012). One explanation Judge and colleagues (2012) gave for this finding was that it might be because of the fact that such individuals value competition more than interpersonal relations and therefore want to advance their interests relative to others. Another explanation might be that individuals with higher levels of rule breaking and defiance of parental authority also have higher levels of willingness to stand up for their own interests and aims, a characteristic that leads to more favorable individual outcomes (Barry & Friedman, 1998)—in our case, income. This may be one of the reasons why defiance of parental authority plays a role in determining income—students who show higher levels of rule breaking and defiance are more likely to engage in negotiations about earning and payment (see Judge at al., 2012) and fight more strongly to achieve personal benefits. We also cannot rule out that individuals who are likely or willing to break rules get higher pay for unethical reasons. For instance, research in the field of organizational psychology showed that employees invest in unethical or deviant workplace behavior when they are not satisfied with their income and when they have a high level of love of money (Tang & Chiu, 2003). Thus, this kind of behavior might in turn lead to higher income. Nevertheless, further research is needed to better understand the construct and its mechanisms.

---------------------------

KD NOTES - My favorite parts of that abstract are as follows...

--individuals who scored low on Agreeableness were also shown to earn more money

--students who show higher levels of rule breaking and defiance are more likely to engage in negotiations about earning and payment

--We also cannot rule out that individuals who are likely or willing to break rules get higher pay for unethical reasons (whoops!)

The kids are alright.  It's just that some of them are going to get paid based on how they are wired, and some of them aren't.  Embrace the difficult child in your household, people. 


HR PROBLEM: When LinkedIn Recruiter Doesn't Work For Your Team...

Here's a new world take on an old-world saying:

"No one ever got fired for buying recruiting services from LinkedIn"

That's a spin off on what our boomer fathers/mothers/grandparents used to say back in the day: LinkedInRecruiter

"No one ever got fired for buying IBM".

New world. Same type of saying.

If there's one thing that's true, it's that LinkedIn is ubiquitous these days when it comes to recruiting. As i've written before, the old big job board world got pushed aside by the Indeed (owns the new job board posting, powered by SEO), LinkedIn owns the candidate database and Glassdoor owns company reputation.  With the launch of Google for Jobs, this current order is likely to change again.

But the problem for Indeed/LinkedIn/Glassdoor comes back to monetization.  What's the best way to get people to pay for the service?

For LinkedIn, it's putting together a package of job postings, company page assistance, display/social ads and a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter.  LinkedIn is masterful at selling all this in bundles, because that's the best way to maximize revenue and limit focus on the effectiveness of any one feature/tool.  Everyone gets job postings as a concept and will pay for them.  Check out my company's breakdown of the major platform's version of social ads and their effectiveness (LinkedIn trails other options) for a deeper dive into that LinkedIn tool set.

That leaves us with LinkedIn Recruiter.  Ah yes.  Here's the feature set you get when you buy LinkedIn Recruiter licenses, pulled from the LinkedIn solutions page:

  • Zero in on the right person with 20+ Premium search filters
  • View full profiles for the entire LinkedIn network – all 460M+ members
  • Contact anyone with 150 InMail messages per month per team member
  • Easily and collaboratively manage your pipeline
  • See what your team’s up to with powerful reporting and analytics tools
  • Source on the go with Recruiter Mobile, the iPhone and Android app

All that is great and btw, I think LinkedIn is a great service.  Love it or hate it, they've built something truly useful.  It's what you pay for that can be the issue.

When it comes to LinkedIn Recruiter, you're conceptually paying for a form of access to candidates that others don't have.  My company (Kinetix) has onboarded new recruiting clients and had HR and TA leaders provide us access to up to 20 LinkedIn Recruiter licenses.  When we go in and look at those, it's shocking to see the level of adoption present.

Bottom line - There's a lot of companies that buy LinkedIn Recruiter licenses because they're bundled with job postings, and the sales people are trained not to remove the bundle.  There's a good reason for that - job postings almost always get used, but LinkedIn Recruiter licenses can sit vacant and well, it will just go unnoticed and we'll say those recruiters are lazy, etc.

But recruiters aren't lazy for the most part - but they are who they are behaviorally.  Some are hunters, most are farmers.  To use LinkedIn Recruiter effectively, you've got to work - and hunt by really personalizing the InMails you send.  Here's a clip from a LinkedIn product manager describing how the best recruiters use InMail to get great results over at Fast Company:

This may seem cliché, but using the word “connect” tends to boost response rates for InMail. The same goes for mentioning that you’d like to follow up—using terms like “talk,” “chat,” “call,” etc. can all improve response rates.

But don’t go much further than that! Among the InMail recruiters send, we’ve actually found that phrases related to scheduling (like specific days of the week), salary, and sharing email addresses, all tend to decrease the likelihood of response.

If you're imaging what % of your recruiters have the ability/time/smarts to become email marketers and do a drip marketing campaign to a passive candidate and nurture them over time, you're right to think the low numbers that come to mind in your head...

It's 1 out of 10.  That's why so many LinkedIn Recruiter licenses sit dormant.  They can't do what's required to make InMail effective, so their response rates crater and they don't use the tool. But you bought the job postings.  Hell - you needed them.  But there's a reason that LinkedIn bundles it's stuff with such a high degree of urgency.

It's because some of the stuff doesn't work for the vast majority of recruiters.  Doesn't mean it's not a great product - but it does mean that you can't provide a $50,000 violin to a county fair-level banjo player and expect them to use it.

Sometimes the banjo player just needs a banjo.

But if your music store is telling you they can only sell you a banjo WITH the $50,000 violin - well, then you have a decision to make.


Targeting Companies Doing Layoffs in Recruiting Strategy - Smart or Lame?

If there's ever been something that's generated a "yeah, duh" in the halls of corporate America, it is the following:

"Company Z just announced a big layoff.  We should go after them from a recruiting perspective."

Well, yeah.  No Sh##.  The devil of course, is in the details.  That's what makes this recent tweet by Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, so interesting.  He's going direct and talking to up to 5,000 people recently impacted by a Microsoft layoff, encouraging them to consider a career at Salesforce.  See the tweet below (email subscribers enable pictures or click through for image):

 Microsoft announced July 6 that it would cut 10% of its global sales team — around 5,000 people. Around the same time, Microsoft CIO Jim DuBois resigned, although it's unclear whether his departure was related to the company's reorganization.

But back to the concept of recruiting people from companies doing layoffs.  Thoughts/questions for your reading pleasure and comments:

  1. Do we really want the laid off people?  They were the weak ones, right?  (damn - that's harsh. Bear with me)
  2. At the end of the day, most of us would love to create FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) in the minds of everyone at the targeted company.  Benioff has a big enough microphone to do that on a macro basis, but the rest of us can't really do that.  Neither can our CEOs, because most of them are babies when it comes to their use of social, their following, etc.
  3. That means in order to target survivors, your recruiters have to do the equivalent of the Mosul ground initiative (read up on your news!) and plant FUD the old fashioned way - by reaching out to candidates one at a time.
  4. But let's face it, if there was ever a time where you were going to reach to a passive candidate or two at a competitor with a "just checking in, heard about the BS" note, it's when a layoff occurs. Sadly, most TA shops have so much going on this won't happen unless it's demanded.
  5. Follow up notes on the value of laid off candidates - I believe they have value.  The bigger the layoff (5,000 is pretty big) and the better the economy when it happens (means the company missed on strategy, not a reflection of the talent), the more there will be high quality employees in the layoff.

Should we recruit from competitors who just announced a layoff?

Um - yeah.

But it's harder than it looks.  And you're CEO tweeting is likely to give you jack in the process.  So get ready to roll up your sleeves and spend a day targeting and pinging candidates with a personalized message.

PS - Benioff is talking to the survivors at Microsoft as much as he's talking to the impacted.  That's the value of having a rock star CEO who can "imply" a whole bunch of things with the social megaphone they have.

 


NASHVILLE - What Happens When An Employment Market Becomes Too Cool For School....

If you know anything about the Southeast US where I live, there's a couple of big realities from a lifestyle/work perspective:

--Atlanta is the capital

--The Southeast is booming in general

--There's no hotter market than Nashville, or as I like to call it, #Nashvegas

Since I travel a lot for work, I tend to measure how hot a market is for business, employment and cultural gravity by the general availability/price of hotels in the market.  By that measure, Nashville is red hot.  It's hard to find a business class hotel that won't make you cringe for less than the high $100s or right at/above $200.

That's a lot.  Compare to the market to Atlanta, where great rooms can be found from $110 to $140, and it's clear that Nashville is booming.  Because of the boom over the last decade, inventory on the hotel and Nashvegashousing front hasn't caught up to the demand yet.

Why is Nashville so hot?  Many would tell you that the growth is a function of multiple factors - including a centralized metropolitan government that generally allows the metro to work together (see more about the government setup here), a unique cultural pull with origins in country music (expanding beyond that taste, but still the flagship) and an emerging hipster dufus vibe ITP (inside the perimeter).

Add it all up, and employers have been flocking to Nashville for the last 10-15 years.

But with great growth and a lagging housing market comes a few problems - namely what it costs to live "comfortably" in Nashville.  More from the Nashville Business Journal:

"It is obvious that living in Music City is starting to add up, and now a study shows the city has seen the greatest year-over-year cost of living increase in the nation.

Released by financial planning website GoBankingRates, the study compared the change each of city's cost of living index from Numbeo to GoBankingRates's metrics for how much annual income it takes to "live comfortably" in a city. For instance, it takes a salary of $70,150 to live comfortably in Nashville today, according to the study.

Local home prices have skyrocketed recently, with the median single-family sales price in Nashville in June of this year at more than $293,000, according to the Greater Nashville Realtors. For comparison, Nashville’s median sales price hit $200,000 for the first time in June of 2013.

Last year, a Nashville Business Journal analysis of wealth data from researcher Esri found the average net worth of Greater Nashville’s most affluent areas had increased by 48 percent, increasing the Greater Nashville's inequality ratio to 5.7. That means the wealthiest 20 percent of ZIP codes in the region have an average net worth that is 5.7 times larger than the average net worth of the bottom 20 percent. This gap has climbed from an inequality ratio of 4.47 in 2013."

If you click through and dig in, you'll find some gems related to how much income you need to live comfortably in Nashville compared to some other cities of note:

Los Angeles - $76,047

Seattle - $75,283

Nashville - $70,150

San Diego - $69,958

Atlanta - $62,184

Dallas - $57,984

Austin - $54,631

Louisville - $48,897

Want some analysis of those numbers?  It's now cheaper to live comfortably in Atlanta than it is in Nashville.  Also, if you ruled out the west coast as a professional living in Nashvegas, you might want to look again, because your standard of living is similar to those who live in San Diego, Seattle and yes, Los Angeles.

Of course, you won't see Dolly Parton pulling through a Jack's in Seattle like I did in Nashville in 2006.

Final note - Austin is widely thought to be an incredibly hot market with many similarities in cultural pull and hipster vibe to Nashville. If you were buying stock by the measure listed above, you would sell on Nashville and buy Austin.

The market never lies.  Nashville's a great town, but these numbers show it may have heated to the point where it's going to level off from an employment perspective soon.

 

 

 


PURE GOLD: On the Topic of Age Bias and Startup Culture...

Old people are..just so..so..so...old!

Coming off a two-day blitz to finish some interviewing training, and what interviewing training would be complete without a section on non-Title VII bias that impacts us all?  Turns out, science shows we all like a certain type of person no matter their qualifications.  Among the things we're suckers for:

--attractive people...

--smooth communicators...

--people who are alums from the school we went to...

--candidates who tell us we are both attractive and smooth as part of the interview...

Kidding about the last one.  You know what's not listed above as something we are subconsciously attracted to?  People who are older than us (related to attractiveness for sure).  That's why this farce blog post from a fictional startup was so accurate - it basically just says it all.  Check out these excerpts from the post at McSweeneys and then go read the whole thing:

"Hello, and welcome to our startup. We hope you’re enjoying your complimentary snifter of vaporized coconut water. Once you’re done, please place the glass into one of the blue receptacles around the office, which will send the glass to be washed and dried. Do not place it into one of the red receptacles. The red receptacles take whatever you put inside of them and launch it into space.

As you can probably tell by looking around, every employee at our startup is 23 years old. On the morning of your 24th birthday, the barcode on your employee ID stops working and you can no longer enter our building. We do this to ensure our company has a ceaseless, youthful energy. We believe old people are displeasing to look at and also, bad at ideas.

Care for a nap? Well, you are more than welcome to take a quick, refreshing nap in one of our many nap pods. You will be lulled to sleep by the soothing sound of our 23-year-old founder softly whispering startupy things such as, “Disruption,” and “Like Uber, but for horses.”

Go read it all.  It's all truer than we'd like to admit at all companies who chase culture as part of a strategic plan.


The Perils of Your Company Culture Becoming Sales-Focused (Above All Else)...

Nothing happens without sales.  Treat your salespeople right, because unless they kill something, nobody eats.

For the reasons stated above, it's not wrong for the leaders of your company to want to transform your culture into a sales machine.  The problem happens when people who weren't hired to sell suddenly find themselves with quotas but no idea of what to do next.

I was reminded of the perils of leaders trying to transform a decent culture into one that is purely revenue-focused by two things over the holiday weekend.  First, this from Fast Company on the Tesla acquisition of one-time solar energy darling SolarCity:

If there was one sign that the company was flying too close to the sun, it was, many felt, an extravagant sales-team huddle in Las Vegas around March 2015. In a scene straight out of HBO’s Silicon SolarCity.IPO_1Valley, Barnard, then SolarCity’s chief revenue officer, burst onto the stage in front of Lyndon, Peter, and 1,300 employees (Musk would arrive later) at Hakkasan nightclub, rapping over Nicki Minaj and Drake’s hit “Truffle Butter” while surrounded by provocatively dressed dancers. At another point, he appeared dressed as Helios, the Greek sun god, wearing a green suit of armor designed by the same people who created the Iron Man costume for that movie. “The party was cool,” recalls hip-hop artist Chingy, who also performed. “Lots of energy, a beautiful crowd. We shined like the sun.” There was, after all, much for them to celebrate. SolarCity was by then the clear industry leader, owning a third of the residential market and handling more installations than its next 50 competitors combined. (Barnard explains that he was only trying to rally his troops, and strongly denies that the culture became bro-y. “I don’t tolerate that bullshit,” he says.)

OK - that's fun, but what follows shows how the grind to create revenue and keep growth rolling quarter/quarter and year/year can result in less than stellar sales practices:

The company’s growth rate—it was hiring 100 sales reps a week to help hit aggressive targets—led to some dubious tactics when it came to marketing SolarCity’s zero-money-down concept. Many sources felt that the drive to hook customers often eclipsed any concerns about whether they would follow through with the lease purchase. “You had all these poorly trained reps basically going, ‘Just sign here! Don’t worry, you can cancel any time!’ ” says a former sales director. “People were treating it like signing off on iTunes’ terms and conditions.

The company’s average cancellation rate increased to 45% or higher; its door-to-door sales team saw rates of 70%, multiple sources say. (The SEC is reportedly probing the lack of public disclosures around cancellation rates in the solar industry. A spokesperson for SolarCity says that rates have improved, and that the company reports on “installed assets,” rather than “preinstallation cancellation rates.”) With competition in the solar space increasing, SolarCity engaged in a pricing war with many of its rivals, a race to the bottom that hurt deal profitability.

If there's one thing that seemingly happens a lot when companies/employees are under incredible pressure to sell, it's the emergence of low quality/borderline fraudulent sales that might not ever generate revenue as outlined above at SolarCity.

I wrapped up the holiday week by listening to some former Wells Fargo employees talk about the account fraud that happened at the company, with over 2.1 million fake accounts created by associates at the giant retail bank.  To hear my dinner companions tell it, everyone in the company knew it was going on. Find a good rundown of what happened at Wells Fargo here - and here's a great snapshot of what can go wrong when you say EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE IN SALES at your company:

“Cross-selling,” it’s called, and virtually all banks want to do more of it. Once a customer opens a checking or savings account, maybe he or she would also like an auto loan or overdraft protection or a credit card. The more products a customer has with a bank, the more money the bank makes and the less likely the customer is to leave. That’s why all banks cross-sell. But arguably no bank has ever done it with the fevered intensity of Wells Fargo.

Training in “questionable sales practices was required or you were to be fired,” a former employee tells Fortune. “We were constantly told we would end up working for McDonald’s” for not meeting quotas, a former branch manager told the Los Angeles Times in 2013; another former branch manager said employees “talked a homeless woman into opening six checking and savings accounts with fees totaling $39 a month.” 

The message was clear to everyone in the retail bank: “The route to success was selling more than your peers,” the board’s investigation found—not profitability or customer satisfaction, but simply selling more products to each customer. Everyone knew the goals were sheer fantasy for many branches and employees. At some branches not enough customers walked in the door, or area residents were too poor to need more than a few banking products. Bank leaders called overall quotas “50/50 plans” because they figured only half the regions could meet them. Yet no excuses were tolerated. You met the quotas or paid a price.  The predictable result: fake accounts.

Ugh. Companies can't succeed without sales.  But leaders who are trying to transform from product/service cultures to become sales machines at all costs generally fail.  More often than not with jail time being possible/likely for someone involved.