It was sign written in Hindi, probably an untrained hand, and it said “Ek kilo meat ke saath, Ande free…”. Which translates into “Eggs free with One kg meat”. I couldn’t help but smile.
It was a small shop, likely to be run by somebody who isn’t a marketing graduate. But the owner certainly understood basic the principal of “Incentives”.
For some very primary ingrained reason, humans respond “better” to incentives.
A cranky child wailing at the top of the voice, has an incentive to do so…attention from Mother.
We all love to shop when we get a discount…an incentive to pay less.
Teenagers rebel, to satisfy the incentive of “being their own self” and “imposing their own free will”. A break from the past, where parents were the masters.
Of course, every organization has incentives built into the system.
You may have a job to do, but you’ll do it much better when there are incentives built into performing the job.
Incentives aren’t always monetary, although, it’s easier to create a monetary incentive, for example, Bonuses offered by organizations and discounts offered by retailers. The more powerful incentives are of the ‘Moral’ or ‘Social’ kind.. Which appeals to the inner self, and satisfy at a much deeper level.
When trying to understand somebody’s behavior, Ask yourself “What is his/her incentive…” in behaving so.
Or, if you’d like a certain behavior or action from somebody, attach an incentive to it.
Here’s a great video that demonstrates the power of incentives: The Piano Stairs
PS: I recommend the book “Super Freakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. A great collection of some very interesting case studies.
The piano stairs blog post from the authors: http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/who-will-climb-the-piano-stairs/