How incentives get in the way of change


I once worked for a large financial services firm as a contractor. It was there that I met Reg (name changed). If you had to sum up Reg’s responsibilities, it was to produce a set amount of work, attend two meetings and notify people of the latest industry news.

He had his set weekly work done in around 10 hours, meetings took 4 hours and the industry update took him 30 minutes to compile. 14.5 hours per week. My job was to help boost output but it wouldn’t be from people like Reg who had no incentive to change.

So we did the dance around the subject. I listened to the delicate art of making what is quick sound way too technical for most people. I listened to a person who desperately wanted to keep his lifestyle and work at his current level.

My job wasn’t to get Reg to produce more but to provide help. It was an eye-opener to see how he had no incentive to produce more and had to work so hard to stay exactly where he was. Probably a big reason that I’m a freelancer, an entrepreneur and a business owner.

About the author

Rich Peterson

I've spent the last 10 years planning, mapping & reimagining the processes of hundreds of SMBs. Whether the goal is more money, more time, more clarity or more customer smiles, my insightful process is worth every minute for my successful clients.
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