Seth Godin’s blog the other day suggested you spend more time modeling behaviors against a standard, not just on whether the outcome was positive.

This is one of the key issues I have with many incentive program designs.

Too many incentive programs ONLY focus on whether the outcome was achieved – increased sales, over goal performance, higher margins, more customers. Sounds logical. But it’s bad design long-term.

Not Either Or…

Don’t get me wrong. You should reward and recognize goal attainment. But understand the reason people hit those goals typically comes down to two things.

  1. Luck
  2. They did the behaviors that have been proven to contribute to success

When you only reward the outcome, you are rewarding both luck and preparedness. When people earn because of luck they begin to rely on luck as their “process.” Relying on luck is easy. We are hardwired to do easy.

If you reward the process AND the outcome, people will begin to focus on the process more than luck. People end up doing what they know will get them the reward. They do the things they can control. Their behavior.

That is how you create sustainable performance.