Posts Tagged ‘rewards’

Are we so different?

Friday, May 15th, 2009

“use lots of encouragement, praise and rewards (positive reinforcement)…. Concentrate on developing desirable habits… Keep your training sessions short, consistent and always have fun”.  This is the advice on how to house train your puppy.  However, this is much the way that the banks chose to treat their traders, huge rewards for doing the ‘right thing’, loads of instant gratification and then off to look for the next ‘win’.  Today the Treasury Select Committee has said that the banks reward system was all wrong.

Within any team, family or group, we will get more of the behaviours we positively reinforce, so if we are not getting the results we desire, one thing to do is to consider what we are truly encouraging.  Don’t ask for teamwork and then reward individual achievements, don’t tell people you want them to tell the truth and then shout at them when they do, don’t ask for creative input and then tell people their ideas are stupid!  If the ‘results’ are wrong, look to your own behaviours and see what you are rewarding…

“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.”   Robert Green Ingersoll

“For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards.”   Sun Tzu


Carrots or Sticks?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

The shadow chancellor, George Osborne, is suggesting that the conservatives may adopt a successful American ploy of rewarding people for recycling. Apparently a number of US cities have introduced this measure with great success. Rewarding people for recycling changes behaviour and the poorest citizens suddenly become green, instead of it being the preserve of the middle classes. The reward is paid for in the savings in landfill charges so everyone wins; the environment, the poor, and the city! It feels a much more palatable proposal than fining us for throwing away too much or putting chips in our bins.

I think it provides an interesting insight into the human psyche; give us a positive motivation for doing something and we will probably comply; threaten and punish us if we are ‘bad’ and we seek to avoid and evade. Successful change, whether it is at a corporate or personal level requires a positive incentive to make that step. If you are trying to bring about a change in your own life, like perhaps shed the odd pound or two, or get fitter, then find something besides the end goal that makes you feel good about it. Notice how much better you are looking now, how much more comfy those trousers are etc.

What motivates you to do something different?

“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain


Motivation… the short version

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

I was reading the synopsis of a best selling book on motivation this morning and I was frankly unimpressed, so at the risk of setting myself an impossible challenge, here is what I believe is the essence of motivating people. 

They fall broadly into two camps; those who pursue ‘good’ things and those who seek to avoid ‘bad’ things.  Of course they decide what constitutes good and bad.  People do things because they choose to. 

They choose to do things that:-

  • Interest them
  • Reward them, either sooner or later
  • Remove them from risk or other nasty things
  • Make them feel good 

I think that is about it.  Obviously different people are motivated by different things and your job is to find out what motivates whom.  It is a subtle and complex art and requires insight and sensitivity.  Crude attempts to motivate tend to turn people off as they are not only irrelevant, they basically show that they are not seen and appreciated as individuals.

“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated.”    Edmund Hillary