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Grin… You’re asking a guy who gives himself a C- in management these questions? And, who admits to having been unemployed for 10+ years???

Motivating people, who are not naturally motivated is tough. I’ve seen morale problems sink entire organizations. Sierra rarely had this problem. We hired smart people, and smart people tend to hire smarter people.

Here’s an example of what a bad manager I was….

I had a rule, which I really did honor. I told everyone who worked for me that the poorest performer would be terminated each year. I’m not sure that’s even legal in today’s polically correct society. My feeling was that anyone who comes in within the bottom 10% of their class isn’t in the right job. I wasn’t doing them, or me, or Sierra’s shareholders, any favors by keeping them around. I also asked my people to prune the bottom 10% of their organizations each year.

I heard many times that this was a system that was unfair and was bad for morale. But, you know what: the more profitable we were, and the more our games were at the top of the charts, the better morale was.

There are some who believe motivation and good morale come from Friday afternoon beer busts, and company parties. I was never one to believe in these things. Good morale comes from kicking butt. Pick an enemy and beat the enemy. Set a goal, and exceed the goal. Say when you’ll get it done, and get it done sooner. For us the ultimate high was watching someone play the games and see the look in their eyes.

Or, at least… that’s the system that worked at Sierra.

-Ken W