Post: The “invisible hand” 👋 and YOUR business


The “invisible hand” 👋 and YOUR business

Summer “break” is nearly over for my kids so this past weekend, my wife and I took our boys to explore some of the treasures northern Arizona holds including the Grand Canyon.


We even saw a ground squirrel taunting a rattle snake near Bright Angel trailhead. Here’s a video


While we were in the “neighborhood” we took the boys to some lava caves.


What makes these caves great for my kids is, they can actually be KIDS in the cave.


Run around, touch the walls, pick up rocks, etc.


We took them to Kartchner Caverns in southern arizona a few years ago and well…


My son was 7 years old at the time touched one of the walls and they had to flag it with tape to be cleaned later.


The lava caves?


They’re no touch barred. Touch away. Wild caves. No guide, nothin.


As we slid into the mouth of the cave we noticed what felt like air conditioning radiating out.


Then about into the cave I noticed a piece of trash on the ground.


I’m no Sierra Club member, but I’d prefer to keep the wild, wild. And, the trash won’t pick itself up.


So I thought immediately, I’ll make a game out of this for my kids.


👉  Pick up 12 pieces of trash (I thought this would be ALOT) and you get a soda at the gas station.


👉  Pick up 22 pieces of trash and you can get a soda + a candy. (Bordering impossible, but if they do it, cool).


 (If you need nutrition advice for your children, just let me know 😜)


What’s interesting about the litter clean up, is all I had to do was:

✅ Introduce the game.


✅ Set basic rules of the game.


And…the key?


✅ Rewards!




The boys are now racing through the cave to both navigate the turns and squeezes but also to find trash on the ground.


My 7 year old ended up with something like 36 pieces of trash or so.


What’s cool is success builds on itself.


So once they’d got in the game, they were lit up by knowing there was a reward but even greater?

The pursuit of getting the most trash and “winning”.


The thing is, we “mature adults” are wired the same exact way.


In fact, Adam Smith father of modern economics called this the “invisible hand” that moves the economy.


People act in alignment with their own self interest + incentives. (neuroscientists have validated this theory).


In your business, right now, you’ve got a whole team that is aligned with what’s best for your company



The worst part?


Most companies today are ran more like a socialist system than a capitalist system.


Fixed salaries and guaranteed pay regardless of business outcomes.


And as a leader, you end up frustrated with the performance of your team.

Can’t figure out why they’re “not motivated” or aren’t willingly working for the “sprint times.”

Why work harder for the same pay?


Look it’s not magic. People act in their own self interest.


And those millennials?


They’re in the same boat as the “older folks” 🙂


They want incentives aligned with business outcomes + they want to do good in the world.


At my upcoming Scaling Up Workshop, we’re going to dive into aligning incentives with OUTCOMES you want in your business.


This one practice from Scaling Up, done right could literally change the trajectory of your business.


Identify the one big “thing” your business needs to get done this quarter.


Set a “quarterly theme”


Create a game out of it.


Align the incentives.


Keep score.



Get out of your teams way and let them win!


See, it was this Scaling Up style quarterly “theme” setting that saved Facebooks bacon in 2012. (Whether that was net good or bad for society, I’ll let you judge).


Not long after Facebook had went public, their stock price began to TANK.


Because they hadn’t mastered 1 critical thing for users…


Yes; going MOBILE.


So Zuckerberg created a theme for the whole company around going mobile.


The rest is history.


Want to get your team aligned around a “game” that’s good for your business like this?


Click here to SIGN UP now for my  Scaling Up Workshop where we train on theme design.

✅  The Do’s

❌  The Dont’s


And, examples of successful quarterly themes/games


How can you align the incentives of YOUR business with outcomes?

Get the incentives right, motivation will take care of itself…

Corwin Smith

Share this post!