Yesterday I wrote about how we are not rational.  Today, we look at how sometimes we don’t even see things that are right in front of our eyes!  Take a look.

Did you see the bear the first time?  I know when I first did this test, I didn’t.  How long did it take you to notice the changes in the 2nd video?  I didn’t catch it until about 3/4 the way through and I was looking for it.

So what does this mean?

It means that we have a limited ability to focus.  Our visual acuity is our strongest sense, and yet, as shown here, we can miss a lot.

We are only able to attune to a very limited set of items at one time.  This is important.  It has significant implications for how we go about the business of motivating.  Here are just two of the implications that I can see from this:

1.  Simplify the structure.  We have a limited ability to focus on multiple things at any given time.  Yet we build incentive plans that have multiple components, varying ways of earning, special allowances for items, and a multitude of other aspects that are intended to drive every aspect of the business.  We have a tendency to make them more complex.  We need to make them simpler.

If we miss the dancing bear when it is right in front of us, how is a sales rep going to focus on the 3rd product that has two qualifiers, and a kicker based on overall portfolio performance?  They don’t!

2. Simplify the communication.  This is key.  I’ve worked with too many companies that try to convey all the information on the plan in one presentation or one document.  If you do this, you’ve lost the majority of your audience.  Remember, we can only focus on so much at any given time.   Break up the communications into a number of smaller pieces.

Focus each communication piece on a few very specific objectives (e.g., intro piece to get people excited and give the main overview, 2nd manager piece to get into how his/her team can use this, 3rd piece on how this plan ties into overall company objectives, 4th piece on specific aspect(s) of plan, and 5th piece with the rules and eligibility requirements.

If you can’t do multiple pieces – then make sure you have clear breaks in the presentation/document and use transitions to refocus attention on that sections objectives.

Would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment.