Editor's Desk - March/April 2017

Who's Got Your Back?

When you have work to be done and you can't just do it yourself, how do you go about assembling your team? Who are the right people for the project? What kinds of personalities do you look for? Do you look for personable people who you know will get on board with your plan right away?

Are you sure that's a good idea?

When you're working on a project, whether the stakes are high or low, you need to take care when assembling a team. And, while it can be frustrating to face discord and disagreement, you need to bear in mind that you might not necessarily want your team to agree with you all of the time.

At my last job, working for a B2B publisher, we had weekly meetings, every Monday morning, to talk about all of the projects we had on deck, to brainstorm new ideas, to get plans rolling and to talk about what was working and what wasn't. And, no matter what plan we were talking about, no matter what idea was put forward, my immediate supervisor would disagree. Vehemently.

At first, I found it offputting—even a little shocking. Why was he always so disagreeable? But after a year or so, I started to realize that he disagreed even when he didn't really disagree. It was his way of making sure we really knew what we were about. By continually playing the devil's advocate, he forced the team to consider every angle, and as a result, when plans came to be executed, they were solid plans. Oh, sure. There were still bumps in the road. You can't foresee every possible problem. But for the most part, he did a good job of preparing us for every possible worst-case scenario.

As it turns out, people who disagree aren't always disagreeable. And a team of yes-men (and yes-women) is exactly the opposite of what you really want.

It's important to remember, whether you're in charge of the whole process, a key player or just a pawn, that you don't know what you don't know. So you should surround yourself with people who do know.

In the case of incentives and rewards, you might have a lot of experience or you might be a newbie. Either way, you want the right experts in place when you're planning a program to help ensure that you're aware of what works and what doesn't, what's likely to go right and what could possibly go wrong.

And when it comes to planning incentives and rewards, one of the best places you can turn as you start looking for those in the know is the Incentive Marketing Association and its various strategic industry groups.

This month, we spoke with board members from one of those SIGs, the Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance (IMRA) about all of the reasons why working with these professionals is a smart idea. When it comes to incentive and reward planning, believe me, IMRA members know what you might not know. What's more, these people are incredibly cooperative and collaborative, and are willing to share their knowledge to help ensure you can successfully navigate from start to finish with as few bumps in the road as possible.

I've always been impressed with the openness, honesty and partnership that exists, even between competitors, in this industry. So do yourself a favor, and keep our IMRA Directory handy. Build a powerful team. Collaborate. Listen to advice, even when you're not sure you agree. And watch your goals become achievements.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,