That paraphrase from Zig Ziglar should have been embraced by Prosper Inc. of Provo, Utah, when one of its supervisors thought it would be a good idea to waterboard a salesman as a motivational technique to get the company’s telemarketers fired up. The supervisor’s message…Prosper’s salespeople should fight as hard for a sale as the waterboarded employee was fighting for air.
The “victim” volunteered for the demonstration, although later professed he did not know what his supervisor had in mind when asked to participate. Cue the lawyers.
Prosper admitted that what the supervisor did was overzealous, misguided and not authorized by management, but added that it was not nearly as bad an experience as the employee made it out to be. How the company arrived at that determination is unknown.
The critical legal issue was whether the victim was entitled to an award under Utah’s Workers Compensation Act. Suit was brought under an exception to the act, which is permitted if the employer’s deliberate intent was to cause injury. Unfortunately for the victim, the court didn’t see it that way and threw out the case.
The judge ruled that by the victim’s own assertion, “the express purpose of (the supervisor’s) abusive and intimidating conduct was to motivate team members.” Good insight.
By the way, Prosper describes itself as an educational and coaching business to help people get out of debt or increase their income. According to the company web site, “Our products and services are based on proven principles that, when applied, produce positive results in the lives of individuals and families.”