March 2010 – Behavior Matters!

Month: March 2010

Lay Offs and Motivation: Lemons or Lemonade?

What motivates one person to take lemons and make lemonade and another person just sees lemons? I recently came across a movie trailer for the movie, “Lemonade – It’s not a pink slip. It’s a blank page.”

Erik Proulx had the idea to document and share the stories of several individuals in the advertising industry who had been let go from their jobs. It is a story of how each one looked at the lay off as an opportunity to pursue something else, possibly a forgotten dream.  It is a fascinating take on what motivates different individuals. 

The lemonade community all share a common thread of being laid off which has a ripple effect of bonding together a group of individuals from all over the world. They support each other, share their stories, and provide a safe space for dormant dreams to be re-ignited and acted upon.

 Enjoy the movie trailer!


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Delta Airlines Customer Service Failure: Motivation Observations

Airplane they wouldn't let me board

Recently I was in Dallas conducting focus groups.  After two long days of travel and facilitating, I raced back to DFW airport with the intent of trying to get on an earlier flight that I knew left at 3:15 PM.  Admittedly, this was a crapshoot and I would be cutting it close.  I was scheduled for the 5:55 PM flight, but the 3:15 PM flight would get me home in time to see my family before my two young children were in bed (which is pretty important to me).  As luck would have it, I was able to return the rental car, run to catch the bus to the terminal, get my ticket, and get through security and arrive at the gate at 2:55 PM – a good 20 minutes before the flight was scheduled to depart.  Here is an approximation of the exchange that occurred between me and the gate agent who we will call Mr. No.

Dallas, March 24th, 2:55 PM

Kurt standing at the counter said, “Hi.  How’s it going? I’m on the 5:55 flight but was hoping there might be a seat open that I could fly standby on this one.”

“Are you a gold or platinum member?” Mr. No replied.

“Not anymore.” said Kurt, wondering why that mattered, “Is there a seat available?”

“I can’t help you if you’re not a gold or platinum medallion member.”

“So there’s a seat but you can’t help me?” Kurt asks with some despondency.

“I can’t get you on now.  If you had been here ten minutes earlier I might have gotten you on.” said Mr. No.

“I don’t have any checked bags and will sit down right away.  I promise.” Kurt says hoping a little levity might help:

“I’m sorry.  I can’t have you go down there – they are getting ready to leave.”

“So you won’t help me? There is 20 minutes before the flight leaves!”

“You’ll just have to take your original flight.”

“I’ll pay.  What would it cost to change?”  Kurt said

“$50.  But I can’t do that now.” Mr. No says right before turning his back on me and checking some paper coming out of the printer.

“Ok?”  Kurt said, while pulling out his i-phone to start Twittering about this horrible experience with Delta.

Motivation Observation

It appeared to me that the agent was concerned about the on-time status of the flight, the extra work it would cause to put me on the flight, and the fact that I wasn’t a premium status customer more than he was concerned about responding to my needs.   I could go on and on about the motivation  (or lack thereof) of the gate agent for Delta, but I do not know that agent, or the procedural rules or incentives that Delta employs to drive motivation – so any insight would be conjecture.

What interests me was my response to this situation and the motivation that drove that response.  My first inclination having been denied appropriate customer service was not to ask for a manager or send an e-mail to Delta’s customer service – it was to get on Twitter and to tell over 700 people about my “horrible” experience.  I ended up tweeting about this over 15 times in the next 3 hours either directly about the experience or responding to other people’s tweets about this.  Here are my first 4 tweets (typos and all):

“Delta airlines won’t let me board plane on standby because it leaves in 20 minutes – horrible cust service!”

“I understand why airlines get such a bad rap – counter agent too concerned about on time deptarture and not cust service”

“Delta #fail here is plane that I can’t board

“Flight leaves at 3:15 I was here at 2:52 – agent couldn’t accomodate me ( not gold or platinum) even if I paid!

In terms of the four drives, which drives were activated?  Clearly, my Defend drive was kicked into high gear.  The fact that I felt that my goals were being hindered by a Delta kicked that Defense Drive into overdrive!  I felt I needed to get payback and the idea of Twittering about this provided a means of vindication.  I would make Delta pay by announcing how horrible they were to the world.  Hundreds of people would hear me venting in real time and who knows, it could be passed on to hundreds or thousands more through retweeting.

Therein lies a potential second drive – the drive to Acquire.  While this sounds contrary since I wasn’t going to the manager or to customer service to ask for money or a free ticket, what I was doing was looking for recognition.  Recognition from others on how I had been wronged.  I wanted the world to know about what I was going through and to recognize me for that fact.  There was a challenge to this as well.  Could I write a tweet that was compelling enough to get retweeted and forwarded on – this was a challenge.  How many people could this vent be exposed to? Thus a third drive, the Challenge Drive, was also engaged.

A fourth drive was also activated – the drive to Bond.  By tweeting about this I was engaging in a conversation with other people about my experience.  I was commensurating with others about my experience and theirs.  We were sharing stories and experiences and building relationships.  By tweeting, I had a group of individuals whom I could talk to about this experience and feel a bond with them.  It was a way of venting without having to do it in person to the people in the airport (who would probably thought me a demented maniac).

When all four drives are activated, it is a very powerful motivator.  I did not hesitate in writing my tweets.  I still feel that it was a good thing to do.  While the Defense drive was the main motivator, the other drives played a significant part in my overall motivation.  This is a very real insight for me – how all four drives together are much more powerful than any one alone.

Moving On

I would love to hear about any customer service failures that you’ve experienced and see if you see how the four drives impacted your response (or not).  Please add a comment and join the discussion.

SXSW 2010: Motivation Personified!

Another SXSW has come to an end and although I did not attend I have enjoyed reading articles from those that did attend.  The event has turned into something of a phenomenon in the techie world even though it was originally touted as a music festival in Austin, TX.  Good music apparently attracted some great thinkers, innovators, and all around fun geeks.

I was checking out the Annual Web Awards winners and came across the coolest video not surprisingly created by an ad agency, Boone Oakley.

What motivates an ad agency to create a video that ultimately is there website on You Tube? To get noticed of course! But beyond that it tells their story and somehow creates an interactive website using video. It takes a plain website idea to the next level. How cool is that! If you click on the other areas of the video you really start to have a feel for who BooneOakley is and for me it was great to experience their humor.

Sit back and enjoy.  If you need a shift in perspective, motivation to create something new, or just need a good laugh this is the right place to be, have fun!


Employee Motivation – webinar slides (in case you care)

Here are the slides from our webinar

How to increase employee motivation – link to webinar

Here is the link to the archived webinar  that Kurt did on Tuesday.  Small recording glitch in it at the beginning, but most of it is up there.

Four Drives Engaged = Passion!

What happens when each of the Four Drives is fully engaged?  Passion.

Passion is a very powerful and emotional motivator.  You may have heard of the organization called, Kiva, if not, it is a nonprofit organization that connects mico lenders to those who need mirco loans in developing countries around the world. Matt and Jessica Flannery had a concept in mind to bring together small business owners in developing countries with people around the world that would be willing to invest and help their business flourish.  This was a new concept that had never been tried before so it was groundbreaking and probably a bit scary.  But they were probably motivated by more than just the thought of doing something good for the world.  They had passion.

Turning a dream into reality can take a lot of hard work, perseverance, and no holds bar passion.  Let’s take a look at what happens when the Four Drive Model is fully engaged to fulfill a dream.

Drive to Acquire & Achieve: The Kiva founders had a clear goal, to link business owners in developing countries with micro lenders across the world.  Having a clear goal on what you want to achieve is critical because it describes the end result. In addition, the more specific the goal is the better, adding dates and measures of success are shown to have an increase in goal fulfillment.

Drive Bond & Belong: This drive is engaged because of the incredible opportunity to have human beings help each other out in service of something bigger. This is the Drive to Bond & Belong at its finest.  Individuals who do not know each other are helping one another out where they can for not only financial support but emotional support as well.  The sharing of stories of where the money is coming from and what it allowed the business owner to do are incredible bonding moments.

Drive Comprehend & Challenge: To create a brand new, never seen before business concept definitely engages learning and growth opportunities.  Similar to the pioneers that went West in search of gold, to explore new territory in the arena of giving and receiving would be scary but exhilarating all at the same time. I am guessing when things got tough or it was hard to see the end, the founder’s initial goal was able to help get them back on the right track and keep moving forward.

Drive Define & Defend: This was an opportunity to define a new way of helping and servicing a population that had great potential. The ripple effect is incredible and as the first donation came in to help the business owner something took place. This exchange was not only monetary but it was emotional it was a connection that formed across continents. The business owners and micro lenders formed a tribe, a grouping of individuals bound together by something bigger then themselves that they would defend if ever confronted by anyone.

Passion, when engaged fully has each of the Four Drives fueling the fire. It also allows one to help move the passion forward from conception to implementation by giving a framework for breaking down the different areas of motivation and drive.

Never underestimate the motivating fuel of passion.  From a stem of a dream, the fuel of passion, something new is brought into the world. 


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Upcoming FREE Webinar 3/16/10


Why do Some People Climb Mountains, While Others Run?
Simple Tips to Help You Increase Employee Motivation

When: March 16, 2010
Time: 11:00 am CST
Duration: 60 minutes
Pre-Registration: Not required
To Attend: Click the URL below on 3/16/10 at 11:00 am CST to join the special presenter’s mode for the meeting.


In this 60 minute webinar, Kurt Nelson, will share insights from working with motivation for the past 18 years. You will learn practical ideas on what you can do as a manager to overcome motivation challenges, increase productivity, and learn about a cool new tool that has everyone a buzz, the Four Drive Model.  The Webinar is FREE and open to the public.

What’s the buzz all about? Join us on 3/16/10 at 11:00 am CST to find out!

To Attend: Please click the URL below on 3/16/10 at 11:00 am CST to join the special presenter’s mode for the meeting. Pre-registration is not required.


Join us for this look into motivating employees and increasing productivity!

If you know someone that might benefit from this Webinar please share this with them.


Drive to Comprehend & Challenge: The Impact of Technology on Learning

I came across this video awhile back but a friend recently sent me the video again and I was reminded of the impact and the speed of technology on learning.  One of the Four Drives, the Drive to Comprehend & Challenge is definitely engaged during this video.  It is about 4 minutes in length and it leaves a lasting impression.

The video I believe is from 2008, but the information and impact remains powerful. The human brain has been shown to be capable of much more than we are currently using on a daily basis. If technology continues to grow as shown in the video somehow are brains are going to have to catch up. If not, we may become a nation of super computers that end up doing the computational and analysis for us. Wait a minute doesn’t that happen already? Is our nation turning into a real life Sci-fi movie?

The Drive to Comprehend & Challenge motivated the innovators on the technology forefront, now we need to understand what are the implications for not only us, but for the younger generation.


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Olympic Withdrawal Impacts Motivation Worldwide

The Olympic closing ceremonies were held this past Sunday with all of the fanfare of Mardi Gras.  It was a celebration of the games, the athletes, the triumphs, and the disappointments. It was also goodbye, to us the viewers who have cheered, cried, and shared in the athletes stories from around the world during the last few weeks.

I enjoyed hearing the back stories of the athletes which made their journey to becoming an Olympic athlete more tangible and compelling. For many of the athletes, the Olympics were a dream born out of a seed of an idea and sprinkled with desire when they were very young. As a young and hopeful dreamer they could not possibly understand or know the road that lay ahead of them. The long hours of training, the injuries, moving away from home to train, and the doubt that always laid doormat in the back of their minds just waiting to sneak out and attack their dream.  As I have written in a previous blog article, the motivation of an Olympic athlete is something to behold. The internal drives that push them to be the best in the world at their sport can inspire even the most cynic of individuals.

I heard on the radio yesterday that people across the globe are sadden by the ending of the Olympics as the athletes were a ray of inspiration in a very dark world. I would agree, even though I do not understand many of the Olympic games, (curling?), I appreciated what they represented and offered to the world. The closing speeches were a call to the young all over the world to aspire to their dreams, to not give up hope. I would add that the call should go out to adults as well whose motivational drives are in survival mode not thriving mode. The seed of your dreams still remain; they just might need a little dusting off.


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


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