Final Thoughts: Perfecting the Phantom Stock Plan

If you've hung in with me the past couple of months you know I've sung the praises of phantom stock for private companies. If you're new here you can start the series here.

Today, some final thoughts (or final for now, anyway).

Phantom stock plans can be, without a doubt, one of the most important steps you ever take in assembling the team of people who will take your company to new heights. However, there’s something more important that getting the right structure. You need to create the right mindset.

If you create a “perfect” plan but don’t establish the right mindset your plan will flop. You’ll wonder what went wrong with the plan. But it won’t be the plan’s fault. It will be yours. Ultimately, it’s your job to see that the employees not only understand the plan but that they are inspired by it.

Mindset relates to the perception of the plan in the minds of participants. When you make Sally a participant in this plan she should feel like she was just made a partner in the company. She should understand that her financial future is tied to yours (and vice versa). She should realize that you trust her to help produce the results that will create value for both of you.

Always position the plan in a positive light. Explore and discover ways to make your plan one of the highlights of your relationship with your key people. You’re investing in them. Make sure they know how much you value their efforts and how much you trust them to generate great results. Your phantom stock plan is a symbol of your commitment to a partnership relationship. They aren’t getting actual stock but they don’t really want those headaches anyway. They want to know that they have a chance to participate in the value they help create. A phantom stock plan, properly designed, can do just that because it sends the right message about the future:

We’re building a great company.

We’ve got the right people.

We’re united as partners in our financial success.

Let’s go make it happen.

If you'd like a copy of the complete series, click here.

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