I recently discovered @jockowillink on Twitter, and his message of Extreme Ownership really resonated with me. I have worked for two small companies totaling just under 20 years of service. I earned and exercised significant stock options. Both companies were acquired for a fair price, and during the sale my stock options (common shares) were dissolved.
Even after ownership is repeatedly taken away, it still drives me to succeed in whatever I do more than any other compensation plan. Why does ownership still motivate me so strongly?
After reading Extreme Ownership, I understand that they took my financial compensation rather than my ownership.
Reading Extreme Ownership really gives me a deeper understanding of the differences between what ownership is and is not, and why it motivates high performing people more than other forms of compensations.
Ownership does not motivated all people the same. A big key to this is the quality of people being compensated. It generally has the largest effects on the best employees. If compensation (more than ownership) motivates a person, that's a significant indication that person is not going to be one of the business' strongest assets. It's much more fun to work with people who feel "this is what I was born to do" than anyone who feels "I'm here to get a paycheck".
Ownership is not the same thing as pride. Pride is based in pleasure from achievements. Ownership is not about achievement, and certainly not best described using examples of achievement.
Additional notes about my personal scenario: The companies sold for over $40M, which was a fair price. It was not a fire-sale, but the executives were very happy to have an exit. The majority stakeholders converted all common stock to a value of $0.00. This was an extremely shady move by the executives. Each of the "leaders" received $200k-650k bonuses as a result of the sale.