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The Gaming of Incentive Plans

Money Despite the fact that I now subscribe to fewer print magazines than ever I somehow recently managed to fall behind a bit in my reading. Over the weekend I came across another excellent article by Joel Spolsky in the October issue of Inc magazine.  It's all about incentive plans and how they're all too frequently manipulated "because the geniuses who design them don't anticipate how employees will respond."

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

Inevitably, people will figure out how to get the number you want at the expense of what you are not measuring, including things you can't measure, such as morale and customer goodwill.

Truer words have never been spoken.  It's an important message to consider, particularly if you're charged with developing and managing incentive plans.

On a completely unrelated topic, my blogging activity will probably be light this week as I head out to attend the Web 2.0 Summit.  The upside is that I fully expect to do quite a bit of Twittering while I'm there, so stay tuned to my tweets if you're interested in what's going on at this very important event.



When I see publishers offer incentive plans to bookstores (shocking I know, but it does happen) I get the same uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach -- "You guys haven't thought this all the way through...."

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