Launching a New Business Requires Something Special

Innovation has long been critical to a company’s sustained success. Yet many companies fail to innovate meaningfully and consistently—and compensation programs may be partly to blame for many firms’ failures.

In our experience, the compensation programs within larger corporations are typically not structured to appropriately reward entrepreneurial teams that are starting innovative ventures. For example, metrics are often wrong, measurement periods are frequently too short, and the size of the rewards are rarely commensurate with the incremental value they create. We know of three executives who were instrumental in launching $100 million-plus businesses. Despite the huge incremental value all three created for their corporations, their compensation plans failed to adequately reward them for creating such explosive growth. Although they received large bonuses and public recognition, they and their teams received only a tiny fraction of the value that they created. Sadly, all three of these executives left their companies to work in smaller, more entrepreneurial firms.

Well-considered special incentives can be helpful—even mission-critical—in launching new businesses. These incentives can be tailored to fit the specific facts, circumstances, and expectations for a new business much more naturally than the regular, ongoing incentive programs of the parent company.

Read the full article at the NACD.