I think about all the things that are out there that provide incentives for people to do things that don’t seem to be in the company’s best interest.

> Regional airlines have gate-to-gate valet checking of luggage — with no lines to check and less waiting time to pick up — for free — while they charge you to wait in line to check a bag that you have to wait for again at the carousel.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

> Banks often assess service charges for use of ATM machines, but allow you to have one-to-one service with a teller for free.  Is in-person really more cost-effective for them?

> The government spends millions promoting healthy eating, but fresh foods often cost a premium.  Couldn’t they design a food stamp program that gives additional benefits to those who purchase healthy foods and charge a premium for junk food choices?

> Instead of giving days off for people who are sick (and perhaps inadvertently creating a few “mental health days”), could employers reward those who are well?

Consider whether your policies and practices align with your desired intent.  Could it be possible that you are mixing your message about what you value or giving others reasons to do things contrary to what you desire? 

Your customer will likely do what they perceive to be in their best interest.  Try to have that be the same as your interest too.

— beth triplett

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