I was putting together a program design the other day and as my usual process, I mapped the program activities out like a Gantt chart. The top “bar” covering the whole program timeframe was the base incentive – points or tracking for the overall program goal. Then, below that a couple of other shorter bars for activities to earn points that reinforce that goal.

I took a step back and I noticed a huge amount of white space between the start and the finish of the program.

That is a sure sign I’ve not done a good enough job for my client.

It also reminded me of something my parents said to me when we first started raising a family.

“Keep them busy.”

What they referring to of course is the kids. Their philosophy was if your kids are busy doing things they like, they are less likely to get distracted, bored and start looking for ways to up their adrenaline levels. Read: get in trouble.

Now, I can’t say that is the only reason our kids got through school and college and are both paying taxes but still on my phone plan, but I do know we had less issues than a lot of our social circle did with their “laying around doing nothing kids.”

My point though is this.

A program that only has one or two “bars” on the Gantt chart is going to be forgotten. It’s not really going to drive the results you want. You need to keep them – dare I say it – Engaged! That is what builds brand loyalty and long-term connections to your brand.

Keeping them busy in your program helps keep them interested and less likely to go wandering around your competitors offerings.

I know I’m stretching this metaphor to its breaking point but trust me – the more you can do in your program the better. Until it’s too much. That’s where a professional comes in. We can tell you when you’ve added too much salt to the stew. And yes. I know I mixed metaphors. But my parents also said never let that get in the way of making a good point (they didn’t but it’s nice to bookend a post like that.)

Keep’em busy!