Hindsight… it’s a wonderful thing… I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t have moments in their life where they look back and say “Oh, now I see” or “I wish I’d…”, it’s part of human nature. It happens because no-one’s perfect and life doesn’t come with a handbook or alerts on how things are going. It happens in business too, it’s oh so easy to look back and wish you’d done things differently.
One of the biggest challenges I have encountered during my time with Corporate Rewards is that of getting the best possible result from an incentive programme for a client or re-evaluating a clients existing programme which is not performing as expected and amending the platform to achieve the results the company requires. And, strange though it sounds, part of that challenge is that a client is often most focused during the design phase and once the programme has closed. It’s therefore a key part of our role as Project Managers to review and drive the programme throughout the partnership to get the best result for our client rather than looking back at the end and experiencing the bitter taste of hindsight.
So how do I make sure we get the best out of our programmes and drive them to be as successful as possible?
- Be clear on the objectives
Understanding from the start what the client wants to attain from their programme is vital. If I don’t know what a client is really looking to achieve, with the best will in the world, my advice will be based on assumptions or general knowledge. It’s fundamental to understand how we can help reach the clients specific goals and manage their expectations.
And the importance of really understanding the objectives applies whether you are in an agency relationship or dealing with something internal… I use the same logic when working on something for my team. I don’t just ask what I’m trying to achieve, I keep digging – why is that important, what happens if that isn’t achieved and what is the impact if it works?
- Make them measurable
If something isn’t measurable, then all you have is a subjective opinion on whether it has been achieved. And the danger there is that when it is subjective, a client may have a different impression or view on what success for that objective looks like. And once again hindsight plays a role, as it may not come to light until the end of the programme. If something can be measured, you can improve on it, track it and work to understand it. Not everything can be quantified of course, but for programme success, the more measurable the objectives can be, the clearer everyone will be on how a programme is performing.
- Then measure it!
Goes without saying? You’d be surprised! Making sure that someone is paying attention to how a programme is performing against its objectives and then acting on what they see is often, in my experience, the link that is missed. Whether you’re working on something internal or something for a client, making sure you are aware of those objectives and performance against them throughout is essential. Awareness is, I think, the best guard against the dreaded hindsight situation.
- Step back and take stock
So, now we know what we’re trying to achieve, can measure it and ARE measuring it, what next? Improvement! Look at anything that isn’t working and question it, really question it. Get opinions from other people, turn it on its head, talk to your participants, whatever you do, address it! Having done all the hard work of identifying what’s performing well and what’s not, don’t fall at the last hurdle of implementation.
- Keep striving
Everything looking on track? Don’t stop this process once you’re on track, or you’ll find yourself looking back and thinking “I wish I’d just…”, as long as an incentive is running, there’s the opportunity to make the results even better, so the process of measuring, reviewing, improving is a cycle which should run and run for the life of the programme.
I know I’ll never be able to banish the horrors of hindsight from my personal life (my most recent being related to not picking up on a broken alternator in my car until it was too late), but I’m doing all I can to banish it from my work life and encourage the same approach in everyone I work with.