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Great points. In our practice we incorporate influencers into nearly every design project. Clients are often surprised when we ask for both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE influencers. The positive people always make sense, but we have to explain the purpose of including some naysayers.

The negative influencers often provide great insight, even if it is in a traditionally unconstructive manner. They are also the first people, if not included, to poison the water of any new program. Their sharp comments and ability to be heard can destroy new programs before they get started ("it will never work"). We have also found that when you include the negative people up front, they are far less likely to disparage things down the road. Some of their ideas are incorporated, and they become fully aware of the process, including tough decisions that must be made, required to get any type of program completed.

If you define compensation as the total reward package you receive for your labor, money is the most socially unacceptable portion of it, in my view. Yes, cash pays the bills, but it is considered rude to brag about the amount you earn.

Noncash rewards like recognition, on the other hand, can be less problematic. It can be a group celebration of success and a model for others to emulate. Power is a tremendous positive reinforcement for most people, so consequences that grant and withdraw power tend to be extremely effective within a context of adequate cash pay.

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