Friday, April 4, 2014

Putting It All Together

Conventional wisdom is wrong.

In a survey of more than 600 managers, more picked motivational factors like incentives, recognition, interpersonal support and clear goals than picked the primary aspect related to people feeling motivated. Certainly recognition is important for the people with high-i (influencer) behavioral style (DiSC). Interpersonal support would be important to the amiable, stable, secure S style people. Clear goals and incentives might be important to D's and C's. But making progress is important to them all.

In their book, Amabile and Kramer talk about 3 key aspects to a motivated inner work life. One is making progress, even if it's small, rather than suffering setbacks. Okay, that seems obvious. The other two aspects are having a catalyst factor--like work-related help and resources, goals, autonomy. This factor mirrors what Kohn and Pink have discussed. The last aspect is nourishment of esteem coming from encouragement, respect, comfort and other social support. This might be related to what Wiseman et. al. discovered about the differences between multipliers and diminishers. Even some of Gallup's 12 Questions get at some of this, though the questions focus more on the emotional aspects of work and only a bit on progress.

With all of the latest and preponderant research on motivation, we would do well to act accordingly and not rely on conventional wisdom: that we can motivate people through incentives, rewards, recognition, rigorous performance appraisals, carrot-and-stick approaches, etc.

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