Want Results? Reward Behavior

Want Results? Reward Behavior

In another blog, I discussed the essential value of encouraging innovation on an organization-wide scale. To help achieve that, I addressed varied ways to nurture an innovative culture, including financial rewards, time off and the flexibility to work from a place that’s inspiring.

But, no matter if it’s a question of innovation or some other organizational goal, a salient principle holds true: Reward the behavior you desire.

In working with all sorts of organizations, I’m often surprised how often this relatively simple, yet powerful idea is overlooked. But understanding it and applying it on a consistent basis can help boost the organizational goals that you wish to achieve.

Sell This, Not That

Here’s a scenario of inadvertently overlooking the essential value of rewarding desired behavior. Let’s say an accounting firm has traditionally emphasized tax preparation. Every CPA within the firm knows the tax code inside and out. But the company partners want to shift the organization’s emphasis to estate planning, a more comprehensive service.

Despite management’s direction to move toward estate planning, relatively few CPAs within the firm report add the service to their existing client base within the first few months. Puzzled, management circles back to see what the issue might be. As it turns out, the company’s commission formula is still heavily tilted toward tax preparation—the very focus management wanted to readjust.

The ultimate solution is simple. The company makes estate planning more lucrative for its CPAs. In turn, those CPAs respond by placing a greater emphasis on overall estate planning rather than a tax return that needed to be prepared just once a year.

Innovate, Then Reward

In a sense, the accounting team was asking its employees to innovate—by shifting their sales focus to newer, more innovative products and solutions.

But rewarding desired behavior can prove very powerful when building a culture that encourages innovation at all levels of an organization. In fact, it’s essential.

In a recent global survey by the O.C. Tanner Institute published in the Harvard Business Review, 3,500 people from companies in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and India were asked about their employers’ attitude about innovation. The findings pinpointed a widespread disconnect: While most employees believed that everyone within an organization should be involved in innovation, far fewer said that, in fact, they were actually involved in any form of innovation.

The reason? While management often said they believed in the value of organization-wide innovation, they consistently failed to provide employees with the necessary means to pursue innovation—funding, personnel and other practical means of support.

The report concluded: “If executive endorsement of innovation comes off as largely empty talk, employees are likely to become disillusioned, perhaps cynical. Even those who are self-motivated may stop caring, unless they have the backing—material and moral support—from their leaders.” Further, a “dispiriting work environment can become a dysfunctional company: poisonous to productivity, to say nothing of radical breakthroughs.”

All this boils down to the necessity of rewarding desired behavior. In the case of innovation, if you wish to nurture it at all levels of your organization, make certain suitable support, rewards, benefits are in place to effectively encourage it.

The same holds true for whatever behavior or results you wish to foster. No matter if it’s a newly introduced product or service you want your sales force to promote or a pervasive culture where innovation is everyone’s responsibility, encouraging the behavior you desire mandates a suitable reward structure. Anything short of that can come off as mere lip service.

Watch the Reaction

Watch the reaction to Daniel Burrus’ Recent Keynote presentation.

Daniel Burrus has over three decades of being right about where things are going, which is evidenced by his long and diverse list of repeat clients. Daniel has worked with leaders from Fortune 500 companies, the Pentagon, and heads of State-delivering powerful insights and actionable strategies.

A ‘must-hear’ presentation.

Steven A. Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Your thoughts on how to create an opportunity for change through a customer focus is the excellence our team is striving for. The framework you provided on innovation, creativity and customer value will be instituted as a management practiceto enable the technology infrastructure group to take Wells Fargo to the next stage.

Victor Nichols, Wells Fargo

By applying Daniel Burrus’ principles to our business, in less than a year we have been able to double our revenues and increase the value of our company by a factor of four, and we feel the biggest impact is yet to come.

Arni Bellini, CEO, ConnectWise

Recent Work

Recent Work

When IBM launched IBM Global Business Services with their top 40 industry experts to plan a game‑changing future for IBM, the only outside resource they used was Daniel Burrus. (The meeting was a great success, and he has continued to work with IBM).

When Vodafone launched its Global Mobile Enterprise service to Fortune 200 companies, they chose Daniel Burrus to deliver the message to C-level Executives in multiple national events.

When Deloitte gathered leaders from China and SE Asia for a major forecasting event, they chose Daniel Burrus. (Based on the success of that event, Deloitte has changed their industry-forecasting model to incorporate Burrus’ Hard-Trend methodology.

A Master at Tailoring Presentations

A master at tailoring his presentations to the specific needs of your audience, Daniel is a futurist keynote speaker who identifies game-changing trends and strategies to help you:

  • Empower audiences to take positive action.
  • Separate the Hard Trends that will happen from the Soft Trends than might happen
  • Learn which current and emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on your industry.
  • Learn how to creatively apply these technologies to create strategic value and competitive advantage.
  • Anticipate Disruptions, Problems, Customer Needs and New Opportunities
  • Learn how to leverage the skills and talents within your organization in new ways.
  • Learn how to use new tools to change the rules of your industry with honesty and integrity.
  • Learn powerful personal strategies for shaping your future.
Daniel Burrus’ Speaking Accolades

Daniel Burrus’ Accolades

  • The New York Times named Daniel as one of the top three gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.
  • One of the Top 21 Speakers For the 21st Century by Successful Meetings Magazine.
  • He has been voted by his peers and clients as one of the Top Five Futurists and Technology Speakers every year since the award program started.
  • A member of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.
  • He has delivered over 2,700 keynote speeches on six continents to audiences from 25 to 12,000.