My Challenge to the High Paid CEO’s of the World

Tomorrow is Labor Day, and I thought I’d make a challenge to the higher paid CEO’s of the world.

First, believe me when I say that I’m not talking about those CEOs who truly pay their employees fairly and who try to understand where their employees are coming from and that, the bigger the company, the more it is supported by the employees.

The CEOs I’m talking about and issuing the challenge to are those CEOs that you hear about in the news who are paid 100 times or more than their average employee, as well as those who pad their own salaries at the expense of their employees when they could easily pay their employees more without hurting their business’ profits. Some CEO’s of some large corporations may be paid as much as 1,000 times the salary of the average employee at their companies.

So, how do these CEOs get paid so much? Well, their salaries are determined by boards made up of other CEOs. So, there’s a “I’ll rub your back if you rub mine” mentality. This results in CEOs getting more and more raises, even in those cases when some of their companies perform ever more poorly every year! Oftentimes, its only when a CEO does something really egregious that negatively effects the other CEOs on the board does a CEO get fired or penalized in some way.

But, are these CEOs really worth 100-1,000 times the salary of their average employees? A lot of industry insiders and of course, fellow CEOs will say “yes”, because the companies are large and the decisions that a CEO makes will affect the entire company, plus, they say you would not attract the talent needed for the job, etc.

I’m not so sure this is true. In Japan, most large corporation CEOs make no more than 35 times the salary of the average employee. Yet, companies like Sony, Toyota, and Toshiba, and many other Japanese corporations, have all done well and have certainly made their mark worldwide.

So, my challenge to these CEOs is this:

If you can fill in completely for, and do the work of just 20, that right, just 20, of your average employees for just 1 month, without any ill effects to the company, or customers, both internal and external, to the point where they couldn’t tell the difference in terms of work quality, quantity, and adherence to the same deadlines and quotas, then you really do deserve that huge salary.

An example would be a CEO filling in for a unit of 20 people who puts together and coordinates accounts for the sales team, such as the one I was once part of about 12 years ago.

The challenge would be that the entire unit would be off for that month and the CEO himself or herself would come in and do all that the 20-person unit does for a whole month.

If that CEO can fill in as above, making sure each sales rep gets the accounts that they should get, with all the paperwork and information intact, in order, and on time, seeing that the accounts are delivered to the sales division by the deadline, making needed corrections to accounts, reassigning accounts when the division needs them assigned, seeing that the accounts are printed and collated, filing reports correctly, seeing that added materials for those accounts that require them are added to the paperwork for those accounts, double checking to make sure that the sales division has gotten exactly what they need,  plus, maintaining any machines that the unit uses, keeping track of and ordering supplies, making calls for any needed repairs, making calls and sending e-mails to investigate and address any problems, and working with and meeting with, division managers and other internal customers, without anyone who interacts with, or depends upon, that unit, not seeing any negative impact to them for that month, then that CEO certainly deserves that huge salary!

That’s my challenge to the high paid CEOs of the world. Will they accept? I doubt it.

And to those who think the CEO should be made to fill in for exactly 100 people or that number of people who would equal the CEO’s salary? Well, in a way, comparing the CEO to the average worker in their company is a little like comparing apples and oranges, so that’s why I lowered the number of people to 20. And if this still doesn’t convince you, try calling just 10 people you know and offer to take on all of their responsibilities for just 2 weeks. You’ll see!

Of course, a lot of CEO’s won’t even know of this challenge, but, if any of you happen to have the ear of one, or care to write or e-mail one, let them know about this challenge. If any do take it up, I’m sure they will learn a lot.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

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And thanks for reading!

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