Many of you have read the guest post by Kristen Swadley where she reviews her research on the 4-Drive Model. Here is her Senior Honors Thesis presentation which goes into the details of her study and provides a wonderful overview of what her research uncovered.
Here at “What Motivates You” we talk a lot about how you can motivate your employees. We know how important it is to have an energized and engaged workforce. Equally important however, is making sure that you are not demotivating your workforce.
Here are five ways that you can dem0tivate your employees really, really fast.
1. Not being fully honest – it is amazing how quickly people can pick up on BS. Really. You might think that you can pull a fast one and not be fully honest about something, but people know. Researcher Paul Ekman, regarded as one of the world’s best experts on lying, suggests that when we lie, we often “leak” information about the truth or leave “deception clues.” As people, we might not be able to pick up on all of these clues right away, but we usually pick up some of them. When people do find out that their boss is lying, concealing, misleading or telling a half-truth, their trust is gone. When trust is gone, it is very hard to feel motivated.
Dan Airely, Richard Thaley, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman, Ran Kivitz, and many more psychology and behavioral economics researchers have shown that while we like to think of ourselves as rational, thinking human beings who are out to optimize our well being, we aren’t.
In fact, we are very far from it.
Sharon Begley at Newsweek wrote this interesting blog “The Limits of Reason” in it, she states, “But as psychologists have been documenting since the 1960s, humans are really, really bad at reasoning. It’s not just that we follow our emotions so often, in contexts from voting to ethics. No, even when we intend to deploy the full force of our rational faculties, we are often as ineffectual as eunuchs at an orgy.”
We see this all the time. I wrote about it in my earlier post from today “5 Lessons from the Maze.” We tend to act and behave in very non-rational ways. There are lots of irrational types of behavior and thinking and lots of theory’s about them (i.e., Loss Aversion, Status Quo Bias, Gambler’s Fallacy, Hedonistic Bias, Anchoring, Reciprocity, Inequity Aversion, etc…).
Here is what is interesting – we tend to still design our incentive programs and our motivational strategies based on believing that people act in a rational manner. We create programs that have 10 different ways to earn, with multipliers, qualifiers, and ratchet effects. We create programs with multiple components and factors that we think will drive specific behaviors and elicit particular performance results. We believe we know what people want and use only extrinsic rewards to drive our results.
Increasingly we are seeing data that engaged employees drive business success. As the economy recovers at the current snail’s pace, companies are also looking at their employee engagement scores deciding they’d better do something about it now before wholesale exodus occurs by their greatest resource.
Proactive talent managers planned for this factor 3 years ago.
Where are your engagement planning efforts at currently?
Just this week, another study was released by The Brand Union, a brand strategy and design consultancy. This recent study surveyed 680 U.S. professionals revealing emotional engagement outweighs other forms of employee interaction, offering critical insights for executives who want to improve employee engagement health and create business efficiencies during lean times.
Counter-intuitively, organizations tend to find difficulty prioritizing their employee engagement efforts during challenging environments. In fact, during this recession many have executed a status quo strategy, which communicates to their single greatest resource that you are “damn lucky to still be here”. Take a moment to think about this – has this been your organizations approach to engagement?
Therein lies the issue! If we tell our recession survivors they’re lucky to have a job and yet we label them our greatest remaining resource, we are sending mixed messages.
My 4-year old son just got his bike a few weeks ago. He is in heaven. Ask him what his favorite thing in the world to do is, and he will tell you, “Ride my bike!” He wants to ride it everywhere…which is fantastic. He is definitely motivated!
I have one problem…he won’t ride it without training wheels.
We tried. The first four days I was out with him every day, running up and down the sidewalk, holding on to the bike as he peddled. But he was too scared. He would stop peddling anytime the bike tilted. He would always look back to make sure I was there (which caused him to turn the wheel and tilt the bike to one side and then stop peddling). He would stop and say he wanted to go slower.
And the problem was he was actually doing a good job riding on his own. He was able to go a fair way with me just running beside him and not supporting the bike. I would let go and he would be riding just fine.
I was reading an the transcribed copy from a conversation between Ira Flatow and Dr. Paul Bloom on the NPR show Science Friday. This show was titled, “Why we like the things we like” and I think it highlights some very interesting insights that we could all learn from.
The following excerpt is a great example of the Drive to Challenge and Comprehend.
FLATOW: Well, you led into a topic I wanted to ask you about, and that is the pleasure of just learning about things. It’s – you know, just knowing more. I mean, I find that extremely pleasurable, and I’m sure a lot of our listeners do, or else they wouldn’t be tuned to this program.
Salespeople who are engaged in their roles, who are motivated to succeed, and who’s goals are aligned with the organizational goals have been shown to have a significant impact on helping an organization succeed (Badovick, Hadaway, & Kaminski, 1992). Successful organizations understand this and try to keep their sales employees motivated and engaged through a variety of motivational methods – mostly involving extrinsic rewards.
While much has been much written about how extrinsic rewards may have a detrimental effect of on a sales person’s intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, Kohn, or Pink – note: there is also a lot of research on how this extrinsic/intrinsic effect can be mitigated) there is little disagreement on the short-term impact that extrinsic rewards can have on a company’s performance . The short-term benefit of extrinsic rewards assures us that these rewards will be used in businesses no matter what Dan Pink has to say on the topic. However, this does not mean that these types of programs can’t be improved.
Successful organizations and leaders of the future not only need to focus on the optimization of extrinsic reward programs but also on moving other levers within the organization that can drive sales motivation. Using the Four-Drive Model of Employee Motivation (Lawrence and Nohria, 2002) provides a clear framework for how to do this.
This was our most viewed slideshare presentation with over 14,000 views – I’ve now turned it into a 4-minute youtube video….with music and everything. Hope you enjoy and please forward on to anyone you think would benefit from watching.
The Lantern Group is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.