That sounds nonsensical. But it is how many incentive programs are run.

Typical program arc…

  1. Company sets sales goals by individual.
  2. Company tells person the company’s goal.
  3. Person “works” toward company goal.
  4. Once company goal is hit, points (or award option) are earned.

Ta Da!

Here’s the secret no one will tell you.

No one in the incentive program rolls out of bed each day and says, “I can’t wait to earn me some points.” And they don’t say “I can’t wait to hit the goal my company set for me.” Heck if they said that you wouldn’t need the program in first place.

What I mean by “if there is no goal there is not goal” is this: If the person in the program didn’t set a personal target there really isn’t a goal.

Sure, you’ve set YOUR goal or the COMPANY’S goal. But there isn’t a personal target for the individual you are relying on to help you achieve your objectives.

And you know how hard it is to get someone to take up someone else’s cause. 

Make the first thing everyone in your program does is set a personal goal. Be it a performance level, an award, a target, an anniversary gift, birthday gift, whatever. Something THEY choose.

Make it personal – not professional. Create the situation where each person in your program wakes up saying “Today I am working toward Mary’s chemistry set!” (Or Bobby’s model, or their partner’s new bling bling – you get the idea.)

Ask them when the program starts, “What are you going for?” Make them answer (as best you can – you can’t force them to do this – but you can nudge them.)

I’ll say it again:

Make your audience’s first goal in the program to set a personal goal in the program.