I just finished reading 'Why Motivating People Doesn't Work and What Does." by Susan Fowler. Here's a synopsis of the book taken right from the book. It's definitely worth perusing, and ultimately reading if you're interested in impacting culture in a positive way.
One of the primary reasons motivating people doesn’t work is our naïve assumption that motivation is something a person has or doesn’t have. This leads to the erroneous conclusion that the more motivation a person has, the more likely she will achieve her goals and be successful. When it comes to motivation, assuming that more is better, is too simplistic and even unwise. As with friends, it isn’t how many friends you have; it is the quality and types of friendships that matter.
In thousands of experiments worldwide, the results are the same: even though people will take the money or rewards you offer, the only correlation between those incentives and performance is a negative one. In other words, external rewards produce a disturbing undermining effect on the energy, vitality, and sense of positive well-being people need to achieve goals, attain excellence, and sustain effort.
Every day, your employees’ appraisal of their workplace leaves them with or without a positive sense of well-being. Their well-being determines their intentions, and intentions are the greatest predictors of behavior. A positive appraisal that results in a positive sense of wellbeing leads to positive intentions and behaviors that generate employee engagement.
This leads to a bold assertion: Motivating people may not work, but you can help facilitate people’s appraisal process so they are more likely to experience day-to-day optimal motivation. Optimal motivation means having the positive energy, vitality, and sense of well-being required to sustain the pursuit and achievement of meaningful goals while thriving and flourishing. This leads to a second bold assertion: Motivation is a skill. People can learn to choose and create optimal motivational experiences anytime and anywhere.
The title of this book states that motivating people does not work. It also promises an answer to the question, what does work? The essence of the answer lies at the heart of the science of motivation and the revelation of three psychological needs – autonomy, relatedness, and competence (ARC). Regardless of gender, race, culture, or generation, the real story behind our motivation is as simple and as complex as whether or not our psychological needs are satisfied.
Researchers have studied our need for autonomy and the effects of not having it more than any other psychological need. Autonomy is our human need to perceive we have choices. It is our need to feel that what we are doing is of our own volition. It is our perception that we are the source of our actions.
Relatedness is our need to care about and be cared about by others. It is our need to feel connected to others without concerns about ulterior motives. It is our need to feel that we are contributing to something greater than ourselves. Notice the range of needs that relatedness covers. It is personal, interpersonal, and social. We thrive on connection.
Competence is our need to feel effective at meeting everyday challenges and opportunities. It is demonstrating skill over time. It is feeling a sense of growth and flourishing.
When a person experiences high-quality psychological needs, she will have an optimal motivational outlook. When a person experiences low-quality psychological needs, he will have a suboptimal motivational outlook.
People revel in the positive energy, vitality, and sense of well-being that occur when all three psychological needs are satis ed. But – and this is a big but – one depends on the other. The ARC Domino Effect is in full force when even one psychological need is missing. If A or R or C falls, the others are diminished as well.
Your psychological needs are not drives. In fact, they are just the opposite. Drives dissipate when they are satiated (such as thirst as we drink water or hunger as we eat food). However, when psychological needs are satisfed, you experience such positive energy, vitality, and a sense of wellbeing that you want more!
Psychological needs are fragile. Their power is in the combined potency of ARC – but if one is out of balance, the others are diminished. Workplace and life experiences can easily distract us from experiencing ARC. Organizations undermine our autonomy by tempting us with junk-food motivation. Individuals push emotional buttons that can destroy relatedness. The pace of change threatens our competence. How do we protect our psychological needs from all these distractions? The answer lies in self-regulation.
Self-regulation is the mechanism for countering the emotional triggers and distractions that tend to undermine our psychological needs. People need high-quality self-regulation to help manage their workplace experiences if they ever hope to have an optimal motivational outlook. Three potent techniques promote high-quality self-regulation – mindfulness, values, and purpose. These are the MVPs of self-regulation.
To guide your people’s shift to an optimal motivational outlook, help them self-regulate by linking assigned tasks, goals, or projects to their developed values. For you to do that, your people need to have developed values – and to have you as a good role model.
Collaborate with your employees to find alignment between their perception of their role-related values and purpose and your perception. Come to conclusions together that meet both their needs and those of the organization. Acting with a noble purpose reflects the highest-quality self-regulation.
A great irony of leadership is that motivating your people doesn’t work because people are already motivated. People are always motivated. What does work is helping people understand why they are motivated. Your opportunity lies in facilitating people’s shift to an optimal motivational outlook so they flourish as they succeed. When you activate optimal motivation for yourself, you provide more than a role model – you create a ripple effect that encourages your people’s optimal motivation.
People can flourish as they succeed. This is the promise of optimal motivation.
If you want to purchase this book. Here you go; http://amzn.to/2h5TpoS