Monday, 23 May 2011

When Motivation Reduces Effectiveness

As a leader, do your motivating actions actually result in reduced effectiveness? 

In environments where intrinsic rewards are most salient, many people work only to the point that triggers the reward - and no further.  So if students get a prize for reading three books, many won't pick up a fourth, let alone embark on a lifetime of reading - just as executives who hit their quarterly numbers often won't boost earnings a penny more, let alone contemplate the long-term health of their company.  Likewise, several studies show that paying people to exercise, stop smoking, or take their medicines produces terrific results at first - but the healthy behavior disappears once the incentives are removed.  However, when contingent rewards aren't involved, or when incentives are used with the proper deftness, performance improves and understanding deepens.  Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible.  Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one's sights and pushing toward the horizon.

From:  Drive by Daniel H. Pink
Published by:  Riverhead Books

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