January 2010 – Behavior Matters!

Month: January 2010

Fun Motivational Sayings

Which is more important – recognition or incentives?

I had a question poised to me in a group that I’m in regarding which is more effective/important, recognition or incentives? It got me to thinking about how we tend to try to simplify things into easily digestible answers (i.e., make the world black and white). It isn’t so simple. In reality, a truly effective motivational program needs to include both. It also needs to include a focus on intrinsic motivators (i.e., the three other aspects of the 4-Drive model: Bonding & Belonging, Challenge & Comprehend, and Define & Defend). When we look at motivation holistically, we have a number of levers that we are able to pull as leaders. The fact of the matter is, there is no one silver bullet. Everyone has a plethora of motivators that drive them everyday.

That being said, it is important to understand what those key motivators are. Asking people is obviously a key component of that, but I’ve found that often what people ask for, isn’t really what motivates them the most. It is important to get beyond the surface to the underlying motivators that people have. For instance, research that I’ve been part of shows that the majority of sales people will ask for cash if given the choice for an incentive reward (roughly 74% of the time), yet, we typically see a larger increase in sales performance for non-cash awards (on average about 15 – 25% better). Because of human nature, we don’t always know what really motivates us or we have been conditioned to respond in a particular manner to these types of questions. The difficulty is being able to identify what those real motivators are.

My belief is that incentive programs have to get more individualistic. That companies need to provide managers with more tools to be able to determine real motivators and set up individual programs for their teams. Of course, this is easier stated than done. The first step however is asking them. The second step is identifying peoples underlying drives. The third aspect is to ask them again after assessing their motivational profile, using probing questions to get at peoples real motivation.

Would love to hear people’s thoughts on this topic. What have you seen in your own business on recognition or incentives? How do you optimize them?

Employee Engagement e-book

The employee engagement network has produced another e-book that uses contributors sentences to create a wonderful mix of advice for managers (or anyone) looking to increase employee engagement.  My line in the book, “Employee Engagement requires looking holistically at an employees work life and ensuring that they have an opportunity to fulfill the four main drives that motivate: the drive to Acquire & Achieve, the drive to Bond & Belong, the drive to be Challenged & Comprehend, and the drive to Define & Defend.”  Read all the other advice here http://employeeengagement.ning.com/

The Buried Life: 4 Guys, a Purple Bus, and Tons of Motivation

I recently came across a new television show called, “The Buried Life.”  The premise is reminiscent of the bucket list concept where the question that is asked is, “What do you want to do before you die?” The four gentlemen that created the concept and the show came up with a list of 100 things that they wanted to do before they died. They have been traveling across North America since 2006 trying to complete their list. The other part of their mission is to not only cross items off of their list but to help others cross items off of their list by asking them the same question, “What do you want to do before you die?”

Awhile back I wrote an article on death as a motivator and the four guys from, “The Buried Life,” are taking action on living life vs. waiting to die.  The video below is a snapshot of what is at the heart of their motivation to squeeze the littlest moments out of life, to help a stranger, to listen to other peoples’ stories, and to have a lot of fun in the process.  They embody the Four Drive Model in action, the Drive to Acquire & Achieve, the Drive to Bond & Belong, the Drive to Comprehend & Challenge, and the Drive to Define & Defend.

Here is how their mission breakdowns in Four Drive Model style:

The Drive to Acquire & Achieve: They have a list of 100 items that they want to complete in addition to helping others achieve their dreams. In the process they will need to acquire certain items to complete their list maybe it is a big purple bus utilized as their transportation from city to city or money to help purchase a computer for a 5th grade class.

The Drive to Bond & Belong: The foundation of, “The Buried Life,” is to bond and belong to something bigger, helping one another out along the way. To listen to the stories and dreams of strangers, to participate actively in life, and to inspire others to make their dreams come true.

The Drive to Comprehend & Challenge: This is no doubt a challenge to cross off the list of 100 random items. In the process they learn and grow because they are pushing their comfort zones and trying to figure out how to accomplish the next item on the list or how to raise money when they are themselves broke.

The Drive to Define & Defend: They are defining who they are and what items they want to do before they die and in the process they have taken a stand on how they want to spend their time each day. They are forming a tribe of like minded individuals across North America who are inspired to help them and would defend this idea to anyone who threatens its existence.

Motivating behavior can be found everywhere; in this case it resides in the dreams of four guys traveling across North America in a purple bus.

So, “What do you want to do before you die?”


If you know someone that might benefit from this article pay it forward and pass it along.


Negativity Invades Work Environments


When you walked into the office this morning was the general climate a positive or negative one?  It seems that when I speak with my friends and former co-workers that their work environments are increasingly toxic with negativity. Who is responsible for this onslaught of emotional crud?  Is it the leaders in the organization, the employees, both, or nobody?

It is easy to create and support a negative work environment. Have you ever noticed that a positive work environment can be destroyed with negativity in less than 5 seconds?

Picture a recent meeting that you attended at work. In general most of the meeting attendees were probably in an okay mood chatting about this and that and then walked in ‘Negative Nelly.’ Every workplace has a “Negative Nelly or Ned.’ ‘Negative Nelly’ has a demeanor that exudes negativity from her body language to the expression on her face.  She enters the meeting and BAM! in less than 5 seconds the positive environment in the room has been replaced by a negative one filled with tension, apprehension, fear, dislike, anger, and frustration.  She never even spoke a word just her mere presence filled the environment with her negativity.  Every meeting she attends she deliberately sabotages the meeting by making snide comments, focusing in on the gloom and doom scenarios, and not adding value to the meeting.

Now as a meeting attendee you have some options; 1) Ignore ‘Negative Nelly’ and the behavior that she is portraying 2) Pull ‘Negative Nelly’ off to the side and share with her your concerns about her behavior and negative attitude 3) Leave the meeting or 4) Participate in the meeting by displaying a positive attitude and behavior and pull the environment back from a negative one to a positive one focusing on the task at hand.

You have a choice every day at work on how you show up.

How do you show up for your meetings? What behavior and attitude have you chosen for the day? What is your motivation to support a positive or negative work environment? These are just some things to consider as you go about your work  this week. You may be surprised to look into the mirror and see the beginning glimpses of a ‘Negative Nelly or Ned’ staring right back at you. If you do, what are you going to do about it?


If you know someone that might benefit from this article pay it forward and pass it along.


Friday Fun: Become a Reverse Paranoid

If you need a little pick me up today, Jack Canfield provides a wonderful reminder in the video below. I enjoy his reverse paranoid aka optimists view of life and turning situations around to see the opportunities vs. the hardships.

It can be a challenge to look at situations and see how in the world they can become opportunities but I am also reminded that through challenges great internal growth can occur.  I am a firm believer in constantly learning and growing. I have had my own shares of ups and downs but with each down I come up over the challenge with a new found knowledge, wisdom, and appreciation for the up times.

I recommend taking 1 minute and 17 seconds out of your day to view the video below. Who knows maybe by the end of the video you too will become a reverse paranoid.

Welcome to the club!


If you know someone that might benefit from this article pay it forward and pass it along.


Remove Motivation Roadblocks: Dig In and Go Within


It seems the job sector cannot win. There are millions across the United States that are currently unemployed and of those that are employed many are not satisfied in their current job. What gives?  

Those individuals who are employed but experiencing low job satisfaction rate can turn around and point fingers at their employers but I suggest that they also take a look within themselves. Granted there are many reasons to point fingers elsewhere. The fact is many workers have been asked to take on extra work from their colleagues whose positions were eliminated, to expand into areas outside of their skill set and comfort level, and to work endless hours and days without any merit or incentive payouts at the end of the year.  So if your employees are not as motivated as they used to be these items above may start to paint a picture for you.

But there are also numerous individuals who have created opportunities for themselves despite their current circumstances.  There have been recent stories in the news of individuals taking on new careers by going back to school, opening up their own business, and branching out from their current job to other opportunities in their company.  So how did they get over their motivation roadblocks?   I surmise they asked some tough questions of themselves and did some soul searching.

This is the time to dig in and go within and find the answers. It takes a lot of energy to accuse and blame the economy, your employer, the President of the United States, etc.  I suggest taking that energy and using it to discover your own motivation roadblocks and create a plan to unblock them and move forward.   


If this does not sound like your current situation but you know someone that might benefit from this article pay it forward and pass it along.  Thank you!


The Bachelor: A Great Study in Motivation and Drive

I admit it, I watched the season premiere of The Bachelor and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know by admitting this I may become a cast off in society but it is an honest statement. I was completely enthralled by the 30 second elevator speeches the women were giving to their possible future husband. In the early days of The Bachelor show there was a simple, “Hello, my name is…” introduction, short and sweet. The latest episode had anything but simple introductions the women introduced themselves with a very clear intention of making a memorable impression. The introductions were a great study to watch in the art of a 30 second creative sales pitch.

Regardless of the gimmick or lack thereof each woman appeared to be motivated by a single focus, to marry The Bachelor. This clear focus drove them to be out spoken, manipulative, create drama, and be vulnerable. It is amazing that one motivating factor can produce such an array of emotions and behaviors.

As a fresh new year begins, it is a great time to tap into the hope, excitement, and energy that can be felt. If 25 women can demonstrate on television their motivating drive to find a husband, anything is possible if you have a clear focus and motivation. So get out there, get creative, get focused, and make 2010 a memorable year!



What’s Going to Motivate You in 2010?

Let us know what you think will be your biggest motivator in 2010?

For me I think it will be the Drive to Achieve. We’ve been working at this motivation thing at The Lantern Group for a number of years but I have a sense that this needs to be the big break out year. I am motivated to see the ideas, the concepts, the results raised up to that next level.

What about you – what’s your motivation for 2010?

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