In business, however, we’ve gotten to the point where management is incentivized by the spread – not the real game. Roger: It has become one – and not for the better of the world, that is for certain.
In football, we know that teams can’t keep beating the spread forever.
And you show with real data – real companies like Google and Cisco, decades of shareholder performance across all industries – how this approach has failed. Unfortunately, it had an unintended consequence of focusing management on the firm’s stock price rather than its real operations.
We run companies for the owners and players, not the fans. That produced perfect alignment – or so we thought.
In the long run, everyone wins if you manage for the fans.
The analogy in business would be to serve the customer. Roger: We started off the rails with an innocent-sounding theory by way of a paper by It argued that we should align the interests of managers and shareholders by giving managers stock-based compensation.
Then we had massive accounting fraud (Enron, World Com, Adelphia) that was designed to drive expectations.
Then we had massive options backdating fraud, that was designed to help executives cash in on expectations.