I heard that so often growing up.

I’ve said it myself with my kids.

I think it is embedded subliminally when they hand you your first child at the hospital. And even with the warnings, we all have jumped off many bridges growing up.

Let me save you from one.

Often, I get pulled into a “quick” internal discussion to provide an answer to a client who has asked us to “give me ideas on how to do ‘insert type of reward program’.”

Being extremely client-focused our sales and operations teams spring into action wanting to respond quickly. After all, they think, we’ve done these types of programs hundreds of times we should have plenty of ideas on what the client could do. And trust me. We do.


You know who else has hundreds of ideas on how to do something? Doctors.

But would you ask a doctor for ideas on what you should do for “heart health” and then pick one idea from a list of the answers? What if one of the most successful options for heart health was a quadruple bypass? Would you do that because the doctor said they were really popular and she’s done a ton of them and they all worked?

Probably not. At least not without a thorough exam and diagnosis.

And for similar reasons you shouldn’t ask a blanket question about what type of program you should run. 

There are so many variables to consider when designing a program, implementing what the “other guy” did isn’t smart and might be the worst decision you can make.

Take few minutes.

Think through the objectives.

Check with what else is going on in the company. Does your VP of Sales have a program running? Does your company already have a strategy in the works? Would the recommendation run counter to other initiatives in the company? Would both those programs fail because they are fighting each other?

Don’t follow others off the bridge.

Don’t do what is popular with everyone else.

Don’t run the program that has the most google hits.

Don’t do what is “getting results” at your competitor.

Don’t do what your incentive company says they are good at.

Trust me.

Don’t do them.