What are your motivators?

Posted 10/1/09

Recently, I attended the Motivation and Incentive Conference. It was in Chicago this year and showcased many companies and resort destinations …

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What are your motivators?


Recently, I attended the Motivation and Incentive Conference. It was in Chicago this year and showcased many companies and resort destinations looking to provide rewards, awards and incentives for corporate employees. Between vendors and attendees, there were a few thousand people meandering the tradeshow floor actively engaged in discussions and presentations about what best motivates employees.

So what does motivate us? Is it cash? Is it a trophy, plaque or engraved crystal plate? Is it a trip to Tahiti, Mexico or Las Vegas? Maybe a gift card or other reward we can use at our discretion like a dinner or hotel voucher?

What motivates you?

The three most common forms of motivation are fear motivation, incentive motivation, and growth motivation.

Fear motivation means we are driven to perform and produce for fear of losing something. Many folks today are working just a little harder, coming in early, staying late, and picking up some of the duties for fear that if they don’t, the consequence will be a loss of their job or position or perhaps a reduction in salary or commissions. This type of motivation is just not sustainable as people will typically burn out after a period of time or find more satisfying and less stressful work elsewhere.

Incentive motivation is like the old donkey, carrot and stick philosophy of incentivizing people to work hard. This is a good temporary motivator in some cases when trying to drive performance to meet specific goals and objectives or when trying to create a change in behavior. Again, not sustainable because eventually the donkey gets tired, the carrot gets stale and the stick is just too long. If we lighten the load, shorten the stick and sweeten the carrot, we still need to let the donkey take a bite every once in a while to taste victory. The problem again is if we feed the donkey too much of the carrot he will get full, fat and happy.

Growth motivation has proven over and over again to be the most effective for long-term successful inspiration. When we clearly outline growth goals and expectations and equip people with the tools and resources necessary to succeed, we have provided them with an executable roadmap for achieving their goals and dreams. Success begets success and when we get even the smallest taste of it we are driven and motivated to pursue even greater successes. We had the appetizer and now we want the whole meal.

Growth motivation is also known as intrinsic motivation, inspiration that comes from within, performing with a driven and meaningful purpose. But there are external motivators too that aren’t material gifts or rewards; a baby’s smile or laugh, snow on the mountain peaks at sunrise in September (Did you see that a couple of weeks ago? It was amazing), a smile, a hug, a kiss, being with someone else who is so fired up and optimistic, a great book, a gifted speaker, having a plan, being prepared, a song, a poem, looking into the eyes of love, and so many other wonderful and marvelous motivators.

Tell me what motivates and inspires you or how you inspire and motivate others at msnorton@comcast.net. Thanks for all the e-mails; keep them coming and make it a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of www.candogo.com.


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