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What role do incentives play in your transformation?
If you are going to change an organization, you first need to change the people. If you are going to change the people, you first need to change yourself.
Of course, that does not necessarily mean you must ex-change the people for other people, or yourself for someone else, but sometimes that too is required.
Any significant business transformation will require the people to think and act differently. In some cases radically differently. Portfolio Management and IT Governance are not just about tuning the dials on a fine running machine. More and more, it means stewarding change.
Today, right now, leaders in many organizations are trying to steer the organization toward a series of major changes. What worked yesterday, or certainly in 2007, does not work today. This is more true today than it has been in quite some time.
With serious financial reform on the horizon, and major healthcare reform already in the process of rolling out, organizations are looking at serious changes. In some cases, these changes go to the very heart of the organization’s identity.
According to William Easterly, "people respond to incentives." I've read enough of Easterly to say, without hesitation, that he firmly believes this to be the case. This is his fundamental premise and he beats this drum with a firm commitment. In his view, individuals don't do things because they should do them, they don't act because it's the right thing to do. A people takes action as a response to incentives.
In his seminal book "The Elusive Quest for Growth," Easterly repeats this phrase again and again as he looks for ways to stimulate growth in particular economies, especially struggling economies. It's probably not fair to summarize Easterly down to these four words, but if I had to net out his message, it would be that "people respond to incentives." This message should be applied to any significant change initiative.
If you are looking to steer through any form of major change, you might want to consider a close look at the incentives.
After all, people will likely respond to them. But are you in a position to change your own incentives?
(Image source: 360vendormanagement)
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