The problem at Preston Wynne Inc.? Front-line staff at the company's Saratoga, Calif. day spa were making too many mistakes on the point-of-sale system when checking out customers. "It was driving our controller nuts,"reports cofounder Peggy Wynne Borgman. "They had come to rely on him to correct even tiny errors. Rework was consuming a big part of his day."

Borgman called her solution the Immaculate Transactions game. If front-line staffers maintained 96% accuracy for two consecutive weeks, they'd each get$50 cash. In about a month, they were winning. "They started doing whateverthey could to clean up transactions. For example, the closing conciergemight call someone on an earlier shift to investigate an iffy transaction,rather than turn in potentially flawed data."

Immaculate Transactions was the first in a series of games. The second, now under way, sets a goal for accuracy in scheduling, while a future game will encourage staffers to convert new customers into regular clients. You can'twin a later game unless you maintain performance levels for the earlier ones. That, says Borgman, helps people understand that the targets are morethan just short-term goals.

Copyright 1998 Open-Book Management Inc.