November 2011 – Behavior Matters!

Month: November 2011

What are you grateful for?

I occasionally use this blog to write about what I’m grateful for. I’ve found that it helps me keep things in perspective and to keep my attitude positive (even when things might not be going so well).

It would be nice to hear what others are grateful for as well. Take 30-seconds and think about it and then leave a comment. I’m sure we would all appreciate hearing about what your grateful for – particularly with Thanksgiving coming up soon.

Good Night i-Pad

Having a 5 year old and a 2 year old…this was just too classic.



With all the new ways of communicating – the old fashion bedtime story is still one of my favorites – but I’m not sure how long it will be for our children.  Your thoughts?

Behavior is what matters

For all my passion and research into motivation I have to respectfully admit that motivation by itself is shit. By itself, motivation doesn’t do anything. The most motivated people in the world sometimes still just sit on their butts.

What is needed is behavior.

It doesn’t matter if motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. It doesn’t matter if my motivation applies to the A Drive or the D Drive (or the B or C Drive for that matter). If I don’t start or stop doing something (i.e., behavior) then the amount of motivation I have is a moot point.

Motivation is important in that it leads to behaviors. Motivation is one of the key elements in achieving behavior change (starting or stopping something). But it is only one part. The guys from Vital Smarts, Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzer came out with a book called “Change Anything” not too long ago. It sheds light on this problem. While it mostly talks about individual change, but their insights can be applied to all motivation. They state that when we fail to change, “…when it comes to personal change, we think first of our own lack of motivation.” The problem with this belief is that there are a number of other factors that influence whether or not we actually change.

Change is hard. That is why motivation is important. It is the gas that powers the change engine. We need it to push through the difficult times and persist with our change effort. Again, Patterson et. al., talk about the other influences on whether or not we change – there are social factors and environmental factors. We can be motivated to loose weight all we want, but if we hang out with people who are always going out and eating big meals and just watching T.V. and if we have a packet of Oreos in the cupboard and no carrots in the fridge – it is much harder (and some might say – even impossible) to change.

When we are designing motivational programs for our employees, we need to understand that no matter how good our incentive program is or how well we activate the 4-Drives – our employees will be hard pressed to change if the social and environmental aspects are stacked up against them. If we want greater collaboration and teamwork, not only do we need to design the compensation plan so that it supports that, but we might have to look at how we configure our work space and what activities we allow while at work. If we want to get people out in front of customers more, we need to explore what are the routines that we have our employees do that inhibit this or what are the social/cultural pressures that might get in the way of this behavior.

So it boils down to understanding that while motivation is important, it cannot be the only thing that we focus on. We need to broaden our perspective to understand how motivation fits into the larger behavior picture.

And so while you might be motivated to agree or disagree with me – I’ll only know if you leave a comment (and thus, do a behavior). Click on “leave a comment” below.


Left Brain versus Right Brain

Love this! Great visual that highlights the difference between our right brain and left brain thinking styles…


This is another good visualization too


Just remember, we all have a full brains!  That means that we are both right and left brain thinkers.  Make sure you tap into both sides of your brain.

Do you need a mini-sabbatical?

Do you need a break?

For those few of you who might have noticed, the number of blog postings on this site over the last two months has been significantly down.  This was on purpose as I realized that I needed a sabbatical of sorts from writing.

After my crazy experience of working through Hurricane Irene (see here) I was a little burned out.  I could tell because the writing ideas that had come easily (well relatively easily) to me before, were now few and far between.  There was not that burning desire of “Wow – I need to share this with people.”  In fact, it was just the opposite, whenever I came up with an idea, it was, “Who cares?”  I was burnt out on it.  It was adding stress to my life (more than what I felt was necessary) and was becoming an “issue.”

So I cut back.

Not completely, but enough that I felt like I was taking a break.  I did not post every week.  The posts that I did do were short and mostly updates.  I tweated less.

I did not take a complete sabbatical.  I still worked.  I did my day to day things.  I jumped into creating some new workshops.  I worked on developing some new business ideas with a friend.  I sold a bunch of projects for this fall/winter.

But I didn’t write.

And it felt like I had some time off.  I felt like I had a break.  Which is what I needed.

And I found out a few things.

1. The world did not end (I knew that would be the case, but still, one never really knows)

2. My readership dipped, but when I did post something, it popped back up right away

3. I want to write stuff again (now that I’ve had some reflection time

You should try it

Most of us don’t have the opportunity to take a real sabbatical.  However, I bet that each of us could find one or two things that we could take a sabbatical from.  For me it was writing this blog and keeping up on the social media stuff.  By taking a conscious break from it, I feel more motivated to do it now.

What is your mini-sabbatical going to be?  What do you need a mini-break from?  Is it new product development?  Leadership meetings?  Working on next years annual conference?   New sales?  Worrying?

And remember, the world won’t end…even if you think it might.

For your mini-sabbatical

1. you need to reduce your thinking on the topic/issue (not completely give it up)

2. You should give yourself a set amount of time to take off (I did it for two months, but I could see it working in as little as two weeks)

3. Keep a journal or log of ideas that come to you regarding your mini-sabbatical area – but don’t work on those ideas (this is to help with your motivation later)

4.  Do things so that you don’t fret too much about what you’re not doing (I did not look at the number of viewers to the blog because I knew that it would probably distress me)

5.  Remember, the min-sabbatical is supposed to rejuvenate you – if you feel it adding more stress, you need to change something about it (either how you are doing it or the fact that you are doing it at all)

Leave a note and share your ideas on this.  Let us know how it goes.

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