Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Building a culture through right incentives

What you incentivize, positively or negatively, over a period of time, becomes your culture.

Incentives are the real key to understand human behaviour, whether in isolation or in a society. Incentives work for kids in a big way (ask the parents and teachers), while they are equally effective for large organizations and countries.

Incentives, both positive and negative, could come in a variety of shapes and sizes; also, one size may not fit all. Some could be in the form of an admiring glance, a gentle nod of the head or a Nobel prize; could also be a mild reprimand or the threat of a full-blown war, and in each case, incentives could motivate behaviour change. What makes this change long-lasting and a culture, is the commitment and consistency. Incentivizing the behaviour or act, over and over again until it is internalized and becomes a 'way of life' could be the most effective way of "building" or "changing" a culture.

While small adjustments in the culture may require simple incentives, big change calls for an "incentive environment" with a good mix of positive and negative incentives disbursed at regular intervals. While this seems simple and common sensical, this could perhaps be the biggest challenge of world leaders, CEO's, NGO's and any other change agent.

So much so that, designing  and implementing incentives for the group could perhaps be one of the most important tasks of a leader. A great plan without the proper incentives could well mean the results not meeting expectations, and could leave a lot of us wondering why things don't work as per plan.

Finally, change doesn't happen overnight and one can't rush it either. But the surest way to make it happen and help it last, is through placing the right incentive.
Now, what was the change you were dying to see...


  1. Can i have your views on -

    Change in a leader in the team and impact on an individuals confidence because the current leader has not driven and acknowledged previous contributions and present expertise of this team player.

  2. Any change, like the one you mentioned, can be disruptive and opens another chapter in this book called 'life'. All of us would be better off if we learn from adversity and adapt...good luck.

  3. Thank you for your views, your thoughts are inspiring, i always drop by and bookmarked your blog. Keep it going! I learn a lot here. You are a great leader.

    Thank You once again.