Signing the Front or the Back of a Paycheck

The view of people who sign the front of a check can be different from the view of someone who signs the back of a check.

Back of the Check

There are a lot of people doling out advice who do so without ever having to sign the front of a paycheck. They’ve never had to make payroll, and they have never had to sign personally for a line of credit. They offer their advice without the responsibility of having tens, hundreds, or thousands of people depend upon their judgement and decision-making for their livelihoods.

The fact that they haven’t started or led a sales organization doesn’t mean that their opinions, ideas, and experience  don’t have value. But it does mean that it doesn’t come from the same place as someone who has had a very different set of experiences and a different level of responsibility. They haven’t had a company’s success or failure rest on their shoulders—or their decisions. It’s easy for them to tell you that you can avoid doing the hard stuff, the stuff you don’t want to do.

Front of the Check

People who have signed the front of a check have a different view of things. They have a more practical, less idealistic view of things. Generally, they don’t fall prey to the latest fads, and they tend to offer advice that is based on principles that have allowed them to grow their business. That experience is hard won, and much of it comes from having made mistakes. They will tell you that it is necessary to do the hard stuff, the stuff that you don’t want to do, the things that make you uncomfortable.

There are many who write about what one must do to grow sales without ever being responsible for anything more than their own personal sales. They sign the back of checks, and they can afford to be idealistic, having no responsibility for the larger organization as a whole. They are free to tell you what you should do, without having any skin in the game where they receive a check that they sign on the back. They have strong opinions about the things that you should not do to grow your own sales or your own business.

There are others who offer you different advice. They have skin in the game, and being wrong comes with a very high price. Their responsibility extends far beyond themselves, and they feel the pressure to perform and succeed. Very few of them would offer you the advice you hear from those who sign the back of a paycheck, because they sign the front of a paycheck.

Filed under: Accountability

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