Bonuses will help you do the wrong things faster

April 7, 2014

Read time 1 min

After writing about Reaktor’s sales team not having bonuses I’ve had numerous discussions on the topic with a large variety of people. Many have told me how, in their context, bonuses actually work. They’re right and wrong at the same time.

People will do things for money and in that sense, sure, bonuses work. Yet it’s important to understand the difference between doing things right and doing the right things, which Peter Drucker helped us distinguish.

A skillful pickpocket is doing things right. He’s very good at stealing and keeps honing his technique with every victim. Is he doing the right things? No! Doing the right thing means you’re doing something of value.

Bonuses are often used to motivate people in doing the things they wouldn’t otherwise do. If you need to manipulate people into doing things they don’t like doing maybe there’s a message in there saying you’re doing the wrong things? There are things people don’t like doing but will still gladly do when they know they’re doing the right thing.

Instead of focusing efforts on how to motivate sales people with bonuses I suggest you spend your time designing a better product or finding better ways of selling it.

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