Recognizing and Perpetuating Success

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Ok… Last mention of Daniel Pink (Sorry guys- “Drive” is a really interesting book!)… He argues extrinsic motivation (pay, monetary incentives, etc…) doesn’t typically work over the long haul but intrinsic motivation does. However, I think there can be a way to merge both worlds.

Let’s say you are a manager in a store and you have just witnessed an employee, Sabrina, helping a customer very effectively. Sabrina is an employee who does a solid job but is not someone who necessarily leads others.

Old school extrinsic motivation reward: “Sabrina, I observed you helping that customer effectively. I want to give you a paid day off for helping that customer!” 

My suggested extrinsic/intrinsic reward: “Sabrina, I observed you helping that customer effectively. I want to let you know that your efforts, character, and performance are absolutely appreciated in this place and I am proud to have you on my team. You matter to us and I am proud of you. Here is a paid day off coupon to thank you for contributing to our company’s success in the way you do.”

In my suggestion, the reward is not an end to itself. Instead, it is in response to, not only a specific behavior that was performed, but also references Sabrina’s internal processes, her sense of self, character, and ultimately reinforces Sabrina’s sense of buy-in towards the company. Those latter characteristics are internal conventions that could certainly contribute to further intrinsic motivation – which Pink cites as being a powerful driving force in successul people.

Agree? Disagree? Do you have any experience in situations like this?

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Filed under motivation, observation

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