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4 posts from July 2009


ROI Weapon and an Army to Fight

We know it's a good idea to engage people, right? We even know how to measure it thanks to Gallup and their Q12.

It's interesting, the industry spends nearly $46 billion dollars a year to motivate engagement. We must think it's a good idea.

In fact, recently, we have demonstrated the correlation between engagement and a company's financial performance thanks to the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. Check out the white paper, Economics of Engagement .

But that's just not enough. Today, leadership wants proof. I believe that the lack of metrics proving the value of engagement  has been part of the cause behind cancellations. And now we have this lack of confidence thing going on that makes redeployment especially challenging.

So, what are we going to do about it?

Today we announced a strategic partnership with The ROI Institute of Birmingham, AL - designed to bring credible results measurement to engagement programs. Armed with ROI data, leadership can defend existing programs, justify future spend and fuel evidence-based continuous improvement of incentives, meetings, events, rewards, recognition and loyalty programs.

Now for the weapon. The ROI Institute has developed and refined a worldwide accepted method of measuring ROI that includes isolation techniques and strict guiding principles, all in an effort to create results that are credible with C-Level executives. This methodology is used in many disciplines to conduct literally thousands of studies a year in over 40 countries. We're refining the methodology for engagement programs.

Now we just need an army. Our partnership will result in one, two and five day workshops being offered later in 2009 and a series of webcasts being offered through media partners. We want everyone to have the opportunity to develop the skills required to understand and measure ROI.

Our goal... help create a new paradigm where the results of all engagement programs are measured. Big idea? Yup. Can it be done. Definitely. We have to.


What is it going to take?

Sure, the economy is bad. But depending on your sector, we have already bottomed out or are close. Other sectors are definitely headed up.

But... I keep hearing about and experiencing first hand the delays in making business decisions. I just heard Thursday from a reputable source about a firm that has delayed buying a $300,000 machine, even though it's "on sale" for $200,000. This is a company that can easily part with the cash and my source would know.

It's unmistakeable that confidence weighs heavily on business decisions. Think about it. Have you delayed spending just because you don't have a good feeling about things?

I'm not advocating that we revert to the unbridled consumerism of the last decade. Hey, if you don't have it, don't spend it. Frankly, I like the trend - moving from a national net savings rate that's negative to one that is positive. That's an excellent trend. But if you do have it, get going and do your part to help us get things moving.

The Vistage CEO Confidence Index shows an improvement in CEO confidence for the 3rd straight quarter. Now that's good news. Check out the full report.

Relative to enagement programs, I can't help but think that the lack of good, solid metrics is paralyzing industry. "Can I confidently redeploy my incentive, meeting, loyalty program, etc?"

More later...


I Have a Dream!

I have a dream that one day leadership stops whispering about their engagement programs as if they were something to be ashamed of.

I have a dream that one day leadership confidently stands in front of stakeholders, stockholders, employees, customers, clients, board members – even the media and the government - and proclaims “We are proudly investing in our greatest asset, our people. “

I have a dream that one day we will openly share the manner in which our incentives, meetings, events, loyalty, rewards and recognition programs are designed and state “Look! Here’s what we were trying to accomplish, and here are the results - more engaged people, better business results and improved profits.”

My dream is to make this vision a reality.

We just need a few more things to fall into place.


Mad as Hell!

I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore.

I am mad at users of meetings, events, incentives and reward and recognition programs for accepting poorly designed programs and failing to measure results.  I am mad at the media for their feeding frenzy of the last 12 months, pointing fingers and tearing the stuffing out of our industry. I am madder yet at Washington for piling on. Shot in the knee by our own elected representatives we have been!

Lastly, I’m mad at our industry for making us vulnerable and contributing to the perfect storm that has engulfed us. We have too often sold all the stuff, hotel rooms and airline seats we could. The storm has resulted in the condemnation of our industry by the general public and the cancellation of literally billions of dollars of programs. Thousands upon thousands have lost jobs as a result. The industry staggers and our clients, in many cases, are staggering as well. Think about it. They have pulled the plug on the very activities that were creating levels of engagement that drove business results.

Enough is enough.  Our industry and virtually every economic indicator is down and I don’t like it.

In fact, I’ve decided we’re going to do something about it.