I’ve mentioned Bri Williams before. She runs a consultancy in Australia and has a wonderful newsletter that I devour and save ever time it hits my inbox. I won’t lie… I steal a lot of ideas from her. But as Picasso is said to have said but didn’t: “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” Please follow her at @peoplepatterns on twitter. (And no… I did not get paid to post all this wonderful stuff about her. It’s just all true.)

Today’s newsletter was so spot on I wanted to repost it in its entirety here. But to ensure Bri gets any link love I might be able to generate for her, I’ll simply “steal” some of it – torture it into a discussion of incentive program design – and link to her wonderful article.

The title of her letter is: “Recipe-culture is ruining business.”

I had never heard the term “recipe culture” before but I’ve surely talked at length about best practices being nothing more than “the rest practices” – meaning copying best practices is a sure path to average. 

But recipe culture is a much more “made to stick” terminology (and will steal THAT unapologetically.)

What does this mean to how you design and run your reward, incentive and recognition program? 


The incentive program your incentive provider ran for a “similar” company is not the program you should run for your audience and your goals/objectives. It is a program you should LEARN from but not simply ctrl c – ctrl v into your platform. Do your due diligence. Listen to your PROFESSIONAL program designer. They will know what to tweak for your particular situation. 

In Bri’s newsletter she speaks to the difference between following a recipe and learning to cook. Cooking is about the interplay of salt, fat, acid, heat. Those are the key “infinity stones” of cooking. Understanding incentive design also requires knowledge of influence infinity stones: psychology, behavioral economics, communications and motivation. Combining them in the proper ratios at the appropriate times is hhow we can help people decide to act, feel good about changing behaviors and breaking and maintaining their behavioral inertia. Professional incentive solution architects know how to best combine the elements of influence to create a winning dish. 

They are chefs… not just cooks.

Go,go,go,go…to click this link. Read Bri’s post. SUBSCRIBE to her newsletter.

Learn to cook!