Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goals, Accountability & Incentives: Why they matter

When I was a kid, my parents used to take us out to dinner when we brought home good report cards.  Family dinner at Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse was all the incentive my brother and I needed to try our very best everyday at school.  Additionally, if we didn't do well, we had to bring our report cards home to be signed by mom and dad, and there would inevitably be consequences (no tv for a week!!!).  We were held accountable for our poor performance.  As I got older, my parents became less and less involved in motivating me to get A's.  I worked hard because I wanted to get into a good college.  I was working towards a personal goal.
Goal, Accountability, Incentive= Olympic Gold (photo
The need for goals, accountability, and incentives doesn't disappear when we finish school.  Turns out these elements will contribute to success in everything you do.  Trying to lose some weight?  I bet you set a goal for yourself.  Are you checking in with someone who's holding you accountable?  Chances are if you're not, you're struggling to keep yourself on track.  Have you set up incentives for yourself? ie. If I run 10 miles this week I get to buy myself a new pair of shoes.  You bet thinking about those red stilettos got me off the couch more than once.

The same applies to business, especially in the business of arts, since so many artists and arts administrators work independently.  Trying to get a show off the ground?  There's your goal.  Set smaller ones on a daily or weekly basis to keep yourself from being overwhelmed.  (I will call five potential investors today.)  Get someone to hold you accountable.  I love this concept: two producers from MTWorks have challenged each other to a Producer Off.  As each one raises more funds the other takes off an item of clothing.  You can bet they're checking in with each other to gauge progress (accountability), and the threat of ending up naked on the internet has GOT to be incentive!  Additionally, in business there's the added incentive that, if you're successful, you will likely get paid (and who doesn't like to get paid?).

So there's your fomula for success: Goal, Accountability, Incentive; rinse and repeat.

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