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The Value of ‘Ownership Thinking’

I had the pleasure today of attending a webinar sponsored by the GAWDA HR Committee on ‘Ownership Thinking.’ First of all, I think it is absolutely fabulous that this committee is taking an active approach in enriching GAWDA membership by providing such programs. Most noteworthy is the fact that this presentation offered tremendous internal marketing content and was well worth its hour timeslot.

“The purpose of an incentive plan is to shape employees’ behaviors toward improving the company’s financial position.” These words, now permanently etched into the September page of my desk calendar and highlighted ever so flamboyantly, will stick with me long after the conclusion of the ‘Ownership Thinking’ webinar.

Every presenter who is worth the minutes of your life he monopolizes aims to provide “take-home value.” Take-home value is of interesting significance because it is completely subjective and dependent on each individual listener. As with most things in life, take-home value is about timing. Thankfully, this tidbit from today’s presenter, Brad Hams, came at just the right moment.

As we finalize our Strategic Planning for the year, we explore new and improved ways to incentivize our valuable associates. Prior to today, in my mind, incentivize was synonymous with reward. According to Hams, however, incentivize implies shaping behavior, not simply rewarding or ignoring. Incentive programs should be designed to form and help funnel its participants toward desired outcomes—in business, an improved financial position for the company. Yet how many so-called incentive plans have we seen where an individual’s reward is paid out based on individual performance? No wonder we may find ourselves in me-centric environments. This mentality of configuring incentive plans to shape behavior toward bettering the company’s financial position may not be rocket science, but then again, rocket science would be of no take-home value to me.

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