(The following post was originally published in November 2008 but lately I’ve been seen a lot of stuff that makes we want to remind folks that this is still a problem so I’m reissuing. This is not endemic to LinkedIn – it happens on twitter, on blogs and even on mainstream media sites such as INC and Business Week. FYI… I’ve corrected parts of the post that no longer apply.)
i2i Symbolist we focus on helping companies analyze their existing influence programs and design the best strategy/program to engage and influence the behavior of their target audiences in order to drive better overall business alignment. Part of that effort is finding out what questions companies have related to that endeavor.
I’ve been scanning the questions area of Linkedin a lot lately trying to discern a pattern, or overall need, that may need to be filled (hoping of course we can fill that need.) While I’m still not sure I have a pattern of need from companies, I do see a pattern that can (will) cause companies bigger problems in the future.
Thin Slicing the Data
I quickly did a search in the “All Questions” area of Linkedin for motivation, awards, rewards, recognition, and incentives which turned up about 50 questions. Some of them were very specific, some more general in their nature like “what motivates people.” I scanned through the questions and with a decidedly unscientific sample (10 questions) there were 232 answers or responses. Out of those 232 responses, only 5 answers were from people with ANY connection, either through education or profession, to the business of influencing and aligning behavior. That’s roughly 2% of the answers for those of you wanting to put a finer point on the lack of expert input.
Not only are people answering and providing their input on areas where they absolutely have no expertise (a tax specialist and a Director of Astrology weighed in on a question about monthly sales programs) but a couple of the “best answers” were from a Software Designer and a Realtor.
Now I gotta ask… does this make any sense to anyone? If I have a question about how to best diversify a portfolio, or update my enterprise accounting system – I’m not gonna take advice from a Realtor. But for some reason we think that designing a strategy/program that will influence behavior is something that can be successfully accomplished while getting your horoscope read or closing on a house. I’m just not getting it. I guess because folks have participated in a program in the past they know how to best design one. Hey, I’ve had surgery before… call me before you shell out the big bucks to that neurosurgeon!
Before you tell me – “hey – you can fix that by participating and answering the questions from a expert point of view.” You’re right. And I’m trying. But with all the noise out there will my signal get heard?
Free Advice Inside
I only bring this up to say… be careful. From what I’ve seen out there you can really do more harm than good by following some of the advice presented.
Here’s a freebie for you… if you find an answer you think is good and applies in your situation – send it to us (email:
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll take a look at it and give your our EXPERT opinion - FOR FREE. If nothing else, you can be pretty comfortable you’ve taken at least one extra step toward designing and building a program that will drive some results.
That’s my rant for
Thursday Tuesday- I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading.
Originally posted on on Incentive Intelligence