The Motivation Question

Lets consider some FAQ asked on motivation and related issues as highlighted in the book ‘Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does.”

“Is there ever a time when rewards when rewards are appropriate?”

Unfortnately, yes. Rewards become necessary if people are unwilling to do the right thing. To illustrate, the FAA now offers $10, 000 rewards to those who report people who aim lasers at flying planes. Lasers can blind pilots and cause planes to crash.

“How do I make expectations clear without creating complexity?”

As a leader, we need employees to meet their set goals and deadlines. But it shouldn’t be necessary to motivate them regarding these basic duties; employees should self-motivate to reach their goals.

“What is the best way to motivate the younger generate?”

As a matter of fact, we can’t motivate people, regardless old or young. Diferent generations have different values. As a leader, we must help all our people including the younger ones to align their values with their peers’ best, most productive value. This alignment can lead to the development of mutual motivational drive. In building motivation, values would count most of all.

“Why don’t contest motivate people?”

We want employees to strive to achieve their goals because they understand the importance of doing so, not because they could win a contest. Most of the time, motivational contest are counter-productive which will direct those employees’ focus away from their routine goals and towards a temporary and arbitrary competition goals.

“Why is competition ineffective in spurring motivation?”

Most athletic superstar would usually says that winning isn’t their main drive. But rather they pursue a quest for excellence. And often these superstar derive tremendous enjoyment simply from their own prowess.

“You cannot hope to motivate people in meaningful ways of you don’t understand the levers that influence the way people are motivated.”

The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior

My reading note on a book by Jonah Berger, Invisible Influence (2016).

Main Reading Points:

  • Others constantly shape how we think, behave, dress, drive and manifest  our identity through what you choose to purchase. Example, I once bought a wallet from The Ridge because one of my friends bought it, but it turned out to be a great minimalist wallet.
  • We are usually aware of ‘social influence’ around us, and how people affect each other’s behavior, but we usually think it doesn’t applicable to us. 
  • The more often we see people or things, the more we will come to like them.
  • However, we will dislike or avoid things if too “many other people” favor them.
  • For example, if we were riding a bicycle next to someone, his or her mere presence most likely compel us to go faster.
  • Most siblings share no more qualities or attitudes than any other 2 randomly picked personnel. 
  • Americans value uniqueness while other cultures value harmony and conformity. 
  • New products must balance between “similarity and difference”.