Repost: We are NOT rational beings so why do we try to make rational incentive programs?

Take the blndfolds offTake off our rational blindfolds…

Dan Airely, Richard Thaley, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman, Ran Kivitz, and many more psychology and behavioral economics  researchers have shown that while we like to think of ourselves as rational, thinking human beings who are out to optimize our well being, we aren’t.

In fact, we are very far from it.

Sharon Begley at Newsweek wrote this interesting blog “The Limits of Reason” in it, she states, “But as psychologists have been documenting since the 1960s, humans are really, really bad at reasoning. It’s not just that we follow our emotions so often, in contexts from voting to ethics. No, even when we intend to deploy the full force of our rational faculties, we are often as ineffectual as eunuchs at an orgy.”

We see this all the time.  I wrote about it in my earlier post from today “5 Lessons from the Maze.”  We tend to act and behave in very non-rational ways.  There are lots of irrational types of behavior and thinking and lots of theory’s about them (i.e., Loss Aversion, Status Quo Bias, Gambler’s Fallacy, Hedonistic Bias, Anchoring, Reciprocity, Inequity Aversion, etc…).

Here is what is interesting – we tend to still design our incentive programs and our motivational strategies based on believing that people act in a rational manner. We create programs that have 10 different ways to earn, with multipliers, qualifiers, and ratchet effects.  We create programs with multiple components and factors that we think will drive specific behaviors and elicit particular performance results.  We believe we know what people want and use only extrinsic rewards to drive our results.

Ouch! Continue reading “Repost: We are NOT rational beings so why do we try to make rational incentive programs?”

1 lost commercial – 1 big teachable moment

This past summer I was conducting a team building program  for a company that does some fantastic work helping other companies work more effectively.  We conducted an event that had teams create sixty-second commercials that highlighted who they were, what value they brought and why somebody would use their services.  We consciously give them a lot of information and very limited time to make their commercials.   They had to do rush to get this done.

We told them that they needed to work together, be creative, and focus on quality…we emphasized how the little details matter.   As you will see, the little things really do matter.

One team accidentally taped over their commercial and had a little over sixty seconds of film that showed feet walking…

We took this as an opportunity to show how important the small details are.  We created the following video that was shown to the entire team at the video showings.  It was a fantastic teachable moment and one that was a highlight of the meeting.  The group discussed how easy it is for things like this to happen and what needed to be done to make sure that these types of errors didn’t crop up.

Take a look and let us know what you think…

By the way, the team re-shot the commercial and it was fantastic along with the others…shows you how adversity can bring out the best in us sometimes….

Teams – Part of the Motivation Equation

Team building
Team Building Fun!

We know teams

We do a lot of work helping improve how teams operate.  Some of it is straight old fun team building – you know the type where you go off-site for a day and do different types of games and activities (note – some people love these types of programs and others detest them with a passion).   Other programs we do are much more intense and involve really working on specific team issues and developing action plans for greater collaboration, communication, or productivity.

We’ve worked with big teams.  We’ve worked with small teams.  We’ve done programs for executives and for line-workers.  We’ve worked with teams that are working well and just want to get to that next level and teams that really are on their last leg and need immediate urgent care or they will implode.

We have done one hour fun sessions.  We’ve created on-going programs that last months and require intensive work by the participants.

Regardless of the type of team development we are doing – it is also part of building a more motivational organization. Continue reading “Teams – Part of the Motivation Equation”

5 Lessons From the Maze

People going through the maze

The Maze

Over the past 18 years I have conducted a team building event called the Electronic Maze® with hundreds of companies and thousands of participants.  Sometimes called the “Magic Carpet” the Electronic Maze is extraordinary, not because it is magic, but because of the team behaviors and emotional responses it elicits.

Those behaviors and emotional responses are surprising similar across a wide variety of groups: senior managers, line workers, middle management, cohesive teams, strangers, international audiences, men, women, and every group that we’ve ever done this with.

Those behaviors are also very insightful as to how we perceive the world, work with each other, and get things done. Continue reading “5 Lessons From the Maze”

3 tips to increase the Drive to Bond & Belong

The 4-Drive Model of Employee Motivation’s second drive is the drive to Bond & Belong.  The drive is defined by our innate desire to form “close, positive relationships” with people around us.  The image of the lone wolf going it alone or the inventor holed up in his workshop are atypical – most people want to bond with others and feel they belong to a group.  Here are three tips to increase the B Drive:  Continue reading “3 tips to increase the Drive to Bond & Belong”

The 4-Drives and Motivation at Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center

A few weeks ago Susan and I spent the day interviewing 11 employees at Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center  in Chaska, MN (see Oak Ridge Part 1 here).  We had observed that Oak Ridge had “gotten the formula right on employee motivation” and wanted to probe more to find out how.  From our original findings, we highlighted five things that stood out: 1) leadership counts, 2) It is not about the money, 3) It is about the team, 4) Genuine recognition rejuvenates and 5) It is all about appreciating people.  I’m taking a different approach this time, looking at it from the 4-Drive Model and seeing how each of the drives showed up in the 11 interviews. Continue reading “The 4-Drives and Motivation at Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center”