Focus on incentives

Years ago, Federal Express were struggling to clear it’s warehouses on time, resulting in delayed deliveries.

The heart and soul of the integrity of the system is that all the packages have to be shifted rapidly in one central location each night. And the system has no integrity if the whole shift can’t be done fast.

Federal Express just couldn’t get the system to work.

They tried moral suasion, they tried everything in the world, and finally somebody got the happy thought that they were paying the night shift by the hour, and that maybe if they paid them by the shift, the system would work better.

And surprise surprise, that solution worked.

“Pay by the hour” created the incentive too drag out the work.

“Pay by the shift” created the incentive to finish the shift as quickly as possible.

Focus on incentives.