Grandma’s Law: How to Put the Power of Incentive to Work for You

RapidStart Leadership

They took something they knew I liked, such as eating dessert, and used it as incentive for me to do something I didn’t: eating vegetables. Promising me a piece of apple pie next month if I eat Brussels sprouts today is not a strong incentive.

Sales Incentive Strategy Done the Right Way

The Kini Group

The concept is the same – in most businesses, salespeople cannot directly affect costs, yet their margin-based incentives and compensation are heavily tied to costs. Incentives on Volume. The Failing Second Sales Incentive Strategy Element. Other Sales Incentives to Consider.

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Top 10 (Bad) Incentive Assumptions

Crossderry Blog

I especially liked the two below; communications about incentives are too often treated as a ”once and done” event: 3. Filed under: PMO Tagged: Communications , communications management , incentive schemes , Performance Management. PMO Communications communications management incentive schemes Performance ManagementThis post from @IncentIntel is timely as we head into silly season: performance and rewards time.

Guest Post: An Entrepreneur's Thoughts on Market Incentives & Foreign Aid

Mills Scofield

Thoughts on Charity, Foreign Aid and Market Incentives - Tanzania. Very honestly, these are all great incentives to come back to Tanzania and work. Or should everyone be a Mother Theresa, helping the neediest of the needy, with few rational incentives for oneself.

Cash Incentives Won’t Make Us Healthier by Alfie Kohn

Deming Institute

In this article (and the embedded presentation included below) Alfie Kohn explores how misuse of incentives, driven by a failure to understand the psychology of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation leads to failure: Cash Incentives Won’t Make Us Healthier.

The 3 incentives that motivate employees more than money

Managers are Heroes

Unless your employees do mostly repetitive, mechanical jobs, you might want to skip the cash incentives. Incentives work for specific jobs. The results: When people were asked to perform repetitive, non-cognitive jobs, cash incentives improved performance.

How to Keep Your Team Motivated – Incentives that Work

Survive Your Promotion

Today as I was flipping through my twitter feed I came across a gem of an article on the likelihood of incentive programs to backfire by Dan and Chip Heath. When you’re designing an incentive program one of your best sources of information is sitting right outside your office door. It reminded me of the old law of unintended consequences. As a manager when you act, things happen. Some of them are things you wanted – outcomes you anticipated.

Why Isn’t This Incentive Program Working?

Let's Grow Leaders

Incentive programs continue to be one of the most debated topics in management. Sometimes incentive programs work well. You’ve implemented a new incentive program and results go down? The post Why Isn’t This Incentive Program Working? performance Recognition bonus employee motivation incentive programs incentives recognition SPIFFsSometimes they do not. Leadership can make a difference. Have you ever experienced any of these scenarios?

Top 10 (Bad) Incentive Assumptions

Crossderry Blog

I especially liked the two below; communications about incentives are too often treated as a ”once and done” event: 3. Filed under: PMO Tagged: Communications , communications management , incentive schemes , Performance Management. PMO Communications communications management incentive schemes Performance ManagementThis post from @IncentIntel is timely as we head into silly season: performance and rewards time.

Powerful People React More Unethically to Incentives

Harvard Business Review

Incentives are a potent tool for shaping human behavior, but they’re famously tricky to get right. New research , published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology, has uncovered an alarming wrinkle that complicates incentives even more: they may make powerful people less ethical.

Rewards and Recognition Done Right

Lead Change Blog

Team Dynamics incentives Leadership Organizational Dynamics RewardsNot all forms of Rewards & Recognition (R&R) are created equal. In actuality, as human beings we aren’t profoundly motivated by the tangible reward or recognition itself. It’s about the meaning behind the reward.

Photo Inquiry Friday: What is the Incentive for Change?

Create Learning

Incentive: any factor (financial or non-financial) that enables or motivates a particular course of action, or counts as a reason for preferring one choice to the alternatives. The missing piece is incentives. In the past what incentives made change possible?

Are Sales Incentives Becoming Obsolete?

Harvard Business Review

To motivate, manage, and reward B2B salespeople, many companies use sales incentive plans that link large commissions or bonuses to individual results metrics, such as territory quota achievement. As digital channels continue to reduce and redefine salespeople’s role in customer buying, these traditional sales incentive plans are becoming less effective at driving sales outcomes. The right sales incentive plan creates a double win.

B2B 4

A Creative Way to “Fix” Incentives?


Incentives have been with us for a long time. As industrial age work transitioned to knowledge work, many began to question whether or not incentives would stay effective. Teresa Amabile summarized decades of research findings on incentives and creativity when she stated that extrinsic motivators like incentives could actually have detrimental effects on tasks requiring creativity, an argument later popularized by best-selling business author Daniel Pink.

How leaders rise above the distractions

Lead on Purpose

Many companies go to great lengths to provide workers with the tools, culture and environment to work productively, but workers still form habits that are killing their … Continue reading → Leadership focus incentives platform productivityHow leaders rise above the distractions The corporate world is full of distractions.

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Five Things that Matter More Than Money to Retaining Great Employees

Survive Your Promotion

It’s nearly review season, and thousands of companies are going through the annual grind of filling out evaluations, budgeting for salaries, and figuring out how to keep their best people happy and engaged at work.

When Sales Incentives Should Be Based on Profit, Not Revenue

Harvard Business Review

Logically, it follows that a sales force can align salespeople’s effort with company profitability goals by linking incentives to profit, rather than sales metrics. Sales incentive compensation plans can play a key role in aligning sales force effort with company strategies.

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Thinking about Roger Goodell, the NFL, and Incentives… (Insight from the Freakonomics Guys)

First Friday Book Synopsis

Our first two books were animated by a relatively simple set of ideas: Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life. If there is one mantra a Freak lives by, it is this: people respond to incentives People do “bad things” when there is an incentive to do so (e.g., “The The Cobra Effect” — The “Cobra” […]. Randy''s blog entries

How Incentives for Long-Term Management Backfire

Harvard Business Review

In the five years since the advent of Dodd-Frank regulation, corporate governance groups, with their policies requiring at least half of long-term incentives to be “performance-based,” have pushed companies to replace options with multi-year, performance plans.


When Your Incentive System Backfires

Harvard Business Review

How many times have you seen an incentive system produce the exact opposite of the desired behavior? Here was the height of insanity — an incentive system that succeeded only in defeating its original purpose. Frustrated citizens, lost revenue and increased costs all thanks to the incentive system and the driver's desire to maximize his individual gain. But even the best designed incentive systems can only go so far.

5 Tips to a Winning Company Culture

Linked 2 Leadership

Coaching Corner Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Leadership Lessons Learned Leading & Developing Other Leaders Practical Steps to Influence company culture gifts incentives leadership What’s the difference between being a good friend and a good employer? According the happiest companies in America last year, not much. Happy companies all have one thing in common: They give without expecting reciprocity.

On Leadership and Counting Carrots

Linked 2 Leadership

Coaching Corner Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Leadership Lessons Learned Practical Steps to Influence Servant Leadership business Incentive leadership motivation “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” ~ Dr. Robert Anthony So What’s Your Carrot? Do you know what motivates others at work? Research from Duke University and George Mason University reveals that, although you might think you do; you probably don’t.

Fixing Pharma’s Incentives Problem in the Wake of the U.S. Opioid Crisis

Harvard Business Review

One place to start might be a fresh look at the incentive compensation structure in the pharmaceutical industry. ” The opioid epidemic is an extreme example of how development and marketing incentives drove sales, but ultimately raised the risk of potential addiction, overdose and death.

Incentives Don’t Help People Change, but Peer Pressure Does

Harvard Business Review

In a recent study conducted in a California hospital, I found that that the type of incentive matters. Communication about the initiative made it very clear that this was a one-time incentive. In other words, while the specific goal and monetary incentive was new, as was the frequency of feedback, the information workers had access to about the effects of neglecting hand hygiene, and the way compliance was monitored, was not. What motivates people to change the way they work?

Research: How Incentive Pay Affects Employee Engagement, Satisfaction, and Trust

Harvard Business Review

Offering employees performance-based incentive pay is one common approach, and it usually takes one of two forms: bonuses are offered to individuals based on assessments of their performance, or bonuses are offered as organization-wide incentives, such as profit-related pay or share ownership. Sometimes, these incentives work in ways managers intended them to. But our results regarding work intensity and individual-based incentive pay should give managers pause.

Gold Star Leadership

Kevin Eikenberry

Influence Leadership Learning coaching feedback incentives recognition This picture takes me instantly back to my kidhood. The homework or test is handed back to me from the teacher with a grade, and if you did well and got really lucky, it might have one of these stars on it.

Do Your Company’s Incentives Reward Bad Behavior?

Harvard Business Review

In order to properly align its incentives to support its mission and objectives, a company must determine what managers and employees believe they are being encouraged to do and not do. Does GM’s reward system dispense incentives for cost controls even to the detriment of product safety?

Ask the Experts: Should incentives be used to encourage fewer sick days?

Chartered Management Institute

Should incentives be used to encourage fewer sick days? Reply by Prof Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe is a Chartered Organisational Psychologist, a Patron of Women in Management and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. You are not watching this post, click to start watching

The Dumpster Effect

Let's Grow Leaders

Communication Recognition Relationships Results conditinal rewards incentives leadership recognition recongition rewards My husband and I approached the hotel for a wedding.

Wells Fargo and the Slippery Slope of Sales Incentives

Harvard Business Review

” That speaks to why they did this in the first place: To meet sales quotas and earn incentives. In these and many other similar (but often less high-profile) cases, much of the blame gets placed on the sales goals and incentives. Many companies have great success using incentives and stretch goals to motivate the sales force and drive revenue. We called it “Is Your Sales Force Addicted to Incentives?”

Leading a Cultural Change

Coaching Tip

Add to that individual performance incentives, where a one-year term determines a large bonus while investing in risky long-term payoffs takes a back seat. Books Business Coaching Career Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Communication Failure Safety & Security Success Tips Work life Albert Einstein cultural change decision making emotion human beings job insecurity Leading limbic system performance incentives

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Rich Incentives for Innovation Yield a Flood of Mediocre Ideas

Harvard Business Review

Offering employees equity stakes and other lucrative incentives to spur innovation raises their output of mediocre ideas but does nothing to stimulate real breakthroughs, which are stubbornly rare, say Oliver Baumann of the University of Southern Denmark and Nils Stieglitz of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany. Companies would do better to offer low-powered incentives for innovation, the researchers say.

Midweek News – New Column in Incentive Magazine and Interview on Women’s Radio

Tanveer Naseer

First up, I’d like to share the news of a new monthly column called “Real Leadership” which I’ll be co-writing with S Max Brown for Incentive magazine. They say that March comes in roaring like a lion and that certainly seems to be the case on my end as I have two exciting news items to share with my readers. Our first piece can be found in this month’s issue and it’s called “ Real Leadership: The Power of a Compliment ”.

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New York Incentive Program for Teachers Falls Flat

Harvard Business Review

A recent teacher-incentive program aimed at boosting student performance in New York City had no effect at all, according to a study of 200 public schools by Roland G. Experiments in Kenya and India have shown positive effects of incentives, but the New York program, under which schools were eligible to distribute up to $3,000 per teacher, may have been so complex (due in part to union influence) that teachers couldn''t predict how their efforts would translate into rewards, Fryer says.

Perverse Incentive Compensation

Tony Mayo

Laura Putnam: An interview by Bob Morris

First Friday Book Synopsis

Laura Putnam is an author and CEO of Motion Infusion, a well-being training and consulting firm that provides creative solutions in the areas of engagement, behavior change, human performance, and building healthier, happier, and more innovative organizations. Laura is a frequent keynote speaker, provides training workshops nationally and internationally and has worked with Fortune 500… Read More Laura Putnam: An interview by Bob Morris.

Think Like a Freak: A book review by Bob Morris

First Friday Book Synopsis

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner William Morrow/An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (2014) How and why mastering the economic approach will produce better answers to questions and better solutions to problems In their latest book, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner cite […].

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Huge Payments to Executives for Good Luck

Deming Institute

management systems executive pay incentives performance appraisal rewardsA recent Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation article on the finding that: 90 Cents of Every “Pay-for-Performance” Dollar are Paid for Luck.

Great Again: A book review by Bob Morris

First Friday Book Synopsis

Northhaft Liberate entrepreneurs from start-up killing tax and regulatory shackles Offer meaningful incentives to bring high-tech manufacturing back to America Why are so many middle-class communities being "hollowed out Great Again: Revitalizing America’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Henry R. Northhaft Harvard Business Press (2011) Why are so many middle-class communities being “hollowed out&# ? With David Kline’s assistance, Henry R.

Is It Time For A Peer-Reviewed Bonus System?


Incentive compensation systems often seem just as likely to disappoint employees as to motivate them. Leadership bonus burkus Coffee & Power compensation equity HCL human resources incentives performance managementWhile it’s possible that the promise of more money will inspire an individual or team to work harder, it’s equally possible that the payment of such money will disturb a co-worker or colleague team who believed they worked harder but got less compensation.