That’s What Motivates You…Really?

What motivates you more – A passionate, clear, inspiring vision?   Or satisfying a more mundane need?

All of us would like to think it's a passionate vision.  Especially if we can see tangible, specific rewards.

But is that reality?  What truly motivates people – I mean, really.  That's the debate going on over at I2I Incentive Intelligence.    Here's a recent post – Why Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose Isn't Enough.  Author Paul Hebert has this to say:

There is a lot of discussion lately about the “new” paradigm of motivation for our employees.  The discussion, driven by books such as "Drive" by Dan Pink and others before him, focus on the need to tap into a more noble vein and eliminate the plebian tools we used in the past, the awards and the incentives, and in their stead provide vision and direction but allow the individual to work autonomously, learn and grow and be part of a larger effort.  

I get that and I agree with it.  At a basic level this is good stuff.  But in a day-to-day business world it may not be effective. 

Strategic vision is important.  Getting people aligned is important.  But without incentives to really break behavioral inertial we’re doomed.

Hebert goes on to share this video from The Daily Show that goes directly to his point.


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party


You just have to love Jon Stewart.

This is something to watch out for, especially if you're doing focus groups or other customer research.  What people say motivates them, is not always what will get them to actually take action.  What people say they will do is not always what they will actually do.

If you're interested in what motivates people, check out the Incentive Intelligence blog. They've got some of the best insight I've seen into what motivates employees and people in general.   


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14 Responses to That’s What Motivates You…Really?

  1. web design says:

    Thanks for the information.It’s really important in an organization to detect what will drive a person.Awesome video..thanks for sharing.

  2. I believe that employees have to be innovative and would need to think out of the box.That way their respective company will get a boost.Liked the video a lot.Thanks.

  3. My motivation comes from my family. The harder I work, the happier we are. They are the inspiration for everything.

  4. Interesting post!really a big help to all people out thing that really motivates me is my family too.

  5. Nice post! Motivation is essential to reach our goals in life

  6. Austin SEO says:

    Love reading your post. Make each job interesting for employees to be fully motivated.

  7. Incentives to employees is very important if you want to motivate your employees.Thanks for the video and the details.Liked the post a lot.

  8. paid surveys says:

    Thanks for sharing the video. I agree, incentives are important. It’s something that they love to work for. It’s actually a plus.

  9. There are lots of things that motivates people. There are people much motivated, if you always tell them that they’re doing a good job. It’s good that there are incentives, but businesses shouldnt over do it. People might expect too much every year.

  10. WebMarketer says:

    I find that some of this is sexist. If I were to suggest some of these ideas about communicating with women, I am sure I would be chastized for it, but here it is accepted as if routine. Why can’t communicating be communicating regardless of sex?

  11. The debate, led by books as a unit of Dan Rose and others before him, to emphasize the need to tap into a vein and eliminate most noble tools used in the past prices and incentives, and provide for them vision and direction, but allow the individual to work independently, learn and grow and be part of a larger effort.

  12. The debate fueled by books like Drive by Dan Rose and others before him, focus on the need for a more noble vein and eliminate plebeian tools we used in the past, rewards and incentives.

  13. Buy RS Gold says:

    This is a great list, and I appreciate the work that went into it. One question: up to what date is the list complete, and can you add other things?

  14. This subject is interesting for me as I am a woman and am just about to launch an Image Consultancy company in London. My image/logo will be of a man and woman facing each other done in a stylised way and not real people. firstly i want my services (personal shopping, colour analysis,styling etc) to appeal to both men and women but also I felt that there had to be some kind of ‘interaction’ between them and not just a sterile pose of a woman and therefore making it look as though it was only accessible for women..all your comments have been interesting. I do however believe, that advertising whether its good or bad has a powerful effect on people and whether they choose to buy something or not. there must be a sub-concious process that takes place, whether we like it or not that if you see the face of Gisele Bundchen for e.g the supermodel backing a brand be it a watch, car or piece of luggage then one is ‘buying into’ that whole image and thats what they want isnt it? I personally am not swayed to buying any single thing unless i can afford it (well most of the time!) but the power of advertising is enormous and must surely use every physcological trick in the book to boost sales amongst us..after all thats the whole point of advertising. Thanks for listening..Rachel Moss London 6th May2007

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