How Would They Feel About Being Paid Too Much?

I’ve always wondered something about professional athletes. This happens in some sports more than others, so let me set the scene for you.

A football player agrees to a five-year contract for ten million dollars. After the third year, he feels he’s worth more, and he wants to re-negotiate his contract. His first three years were superb. He had excellent statistics and he feels he should “get a raise” now. So he informs management he wants to be paid more than the amount agreed upon in the contract.

Let’s say it gets to the point where he’s actually demanding more money. He puts it simply to management:

“Revise my contract and pay me more, or I’ll sit out and not play at all.”

Management responds with:

“We think the world of you and we’ll be more than happy to negotiate a new contract when your current one ends in two years. However, we’d like you to fulfill your agreement for the next two years.”

Now, let’s say our player decides not to play (which does happens in the sports world), and he doesn’t come in to practice either. He has basically told the team, “You want me to come to practice and get ready for the upcoming season, then pay me the additional money that I believe I’m worth.”

This is a very interesting scenario. The football player has signed his name to a five-year contract and has agreed to play for five years for ten million dollars. After three years, he’s performed really well and he has helped the team.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

Well, from where I stand, there are two things to consider here:

1) First of all, our guy signed a contract. He made an agreement to play for five years at a particular salary. Now he feels he’s worth more and very possibly is, but he did make an agreement. He signed this agreement. What are agreements worth these days?

2) While you’re thinking that over, let’s also consider this next point. What if our player had performed poorly for the first three years? What if his performance was nowhere near what was expected of him? What if it was common knowledge that he was being grossly overpaid? Does this player step forward and say to management, “Guys, you trusted me with a five-year contract and ten million dollars to perform at a certain level, and I know that I haven’t come close to that level. I would like to be paid less for the two remaining years on my contract. Or I’d like to return some of the money you’ve paid me so far because I don’t feel I’ve honestly earned it.”

Whoah! Now that’s an extraordinary communication to receive from a professional athlete or really from anyone in the business world.

But should it really be that extraordinary?

Why is it okay for our football player to stop working altogether and demand that management give him more money when he has agreed, in writing, to give his very best for five full years? At the end of those five years, he and the team can certainly get together and discuss the future.

When someone is under contract to do X, why is it okay for this person to cast the validity of the contract aside when he feels he deserves more BUT, if he performs poorly, the idea of paying some back or getting less isn’t really an option?

That was a long-winded sentence, but you get the idea.

And how is all of this a “hiring tip”? Well, you might consider presenting the above scenarios to a potential staff prospect. Ask them to consider both scenarios: having performed much greater than expectations and also far less than expectations. Ask them for their views on the two scenarios.

This may produce some valuable insights for you.



 

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