Your Incentive Program May Be Producing Poorer Results

Many of us have to motivate or incentivise people that we work with as part of our job. Most of you reading this piece would work with sales staff or channel partners that you need motivate and incentivise every quarter in an effort to reach sales targets. Either way we tend to use financial incentives as a tool to achieve these sales based outcomes we are striving for.

Dan Pink gave an interesting talk in 2009 as part of the TED conference about incentives and motivation and how our default behaviour is to offer an incentive to get an outcome. What he goes on to discuss however is the fact that there is a direct mismatch between what science knows about incentives, and what business does with incentives. While Dan fully acknowledges that under certain circumstances incentives work very well, he highlights instances where incentives actually have the opposite effect. In fact, some of his findings indicate that, when it comes to selling new ideas – eg. Cloud – our traditional sales incentives and partner programs may actually have a negative impact!

     TED: The Puzzle Of Motivation