The Motivation Myth

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The mismatch between how we motivate and how we are motivated.

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  • The Unconditioned StimulusThe unconditioned stimulus is one that unconditionally, naturally, and automatically triggers a response. For example, when you smell one of your favorite foods, you may immediately feel very hungry. In this example, the smell of the food is the unconditioned stimulus.The Unconditioned ResponseThe unconditioned response is the unlearned response that occurs naturally in response to the unconditioned stimulus. In our example, the feeling of hunger in response to the smell of food is the unconditioned response.The Conditioned StimulusThe conditioned stimulus is previously neutral stimulus that, after becoming associated with the unconditioned stimulus, eventually comes to trigger a conditioned response. In our earlier example, suppose that when you smelled your favorite food, you also heard the sound of a whistle. While the whistle is unrelated to the smell of the food, if the sound of the whistle was paired multiple times with the smell, the sound would eventually trigger the conditioned response. In this case, the sound of the whistle is the conditioned stimulus.The Conditioned ResponseTheconditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus. In our example, the conditioned response would be feeling hungry when you heard the sound of the whistle.In the early twentieth century, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov did Nobel prize-winning work on digestion. While studying the role of saliva in dogs’ digestive processes, he stumbled upon a phenomenon he labeled “psychic reflexes.” While an accidental discovery, he had the foresight to see the importance of it. Pavlov’s dogs, restrained in an experimental chamber, were presented with meat powder and they had their saliva collected via a surgically implanted tube in their saliva glands. Over time, he noticed that his dogs who begin salivation before the meat powder was even presented, whether it was by the presence of the handler or merely by a clicking noise produced by the device that distributed the meat powder.Fascinated by this finding, Pavlov paired the meat powder with various stimuli such as the ringing of a bell. After the meat powder and bell (auditory stimulus) were presented together several times, the bell was used alone. Pavlov’s dogs, as predicted, responded by salivating to the sound of the bell (without the food). The bell began as a neutral stimulus (i.e. the bell itself did not produce the dogs’ salivation). However, by pairing the bell with the stimulus that did produce the salivation response, the bell was able to acquire the ability to trigger the salivation response. Pavlov therefore demonstrated how stimulus-response bonds (which some consider as the basic building blocks of learning) are formed. He dedicated much of the rest of his career further exploring this finding.In technical terms, the meat powder is considered an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) and the dog’s salivation is the unconditioned response (UCR). The bell is a neutral stimulus until the dog learns to associate the bell with food. Then the bell becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) which produces the conditioned response (CR) of salivation after repeated pairings between the bell and food.John B. Watson: Early Classical Conditioning with Humans John B. Watson further extended Pavlov’s work and applied it to human beings. In 1921, Watson studied Albert, an 11 month old infant child. The goal of the study was to condition Albert to become afraid of a white rat by pairing the white rat with a very loud, jarring noise (UCS).  At first, Albert showed no sign of fear when he was presented with rats, but once the rat was repeatedly paired with the loud noise (UCS), Albert developed a fear of rats. It could be said that the loud noise (UCS) induced fear (UCR). The implications of Watson’s experiment suggested that classical conditioning could cause some phobias in humans.
  • Imagine its 1995 and you sit down with an economist and ask them to predict the future. Describe two very different encyclopedia’s and predict which one will be more successful in 2010.#1 – developed by microsoft during the same time Windows 95 was released. Microsoft pays the writers and editors to craft thousands of articles on thousands of topics. Very highly compensated managers and executives with large performance bonuses will oversee the project to ensure its completed on budget and on time. Microsoft will sell the encyclopedia on CD and later online.#2 – The second encyclopedia wont come from a company. It will be created by tens of thousands of people who write and edit articles for fun. The writers wont need any special qualifications or education to participate. No body will be paid a dime to write, yet many writers will spend 20-30 hours a week to create the encyclopedia. In the end the encyclopedia will be delivered 100% - FOR FREEThink 16 years ahead – one of these will be defunct and the other will be the largest and most popular in the world. - Which is it?According to common theory, Microsoft had the name, the money, the incentives and the paid talent. This other organization had none of that, in fact in cost many of the contributors time and money to contribute.Result – in 2009, Microsoft pulled the plug on Encarta after 16 years – and Wikipedia now has more than 13 million articles in 260 languages.The conventional view of human motivation has a hard time explaining this result.
  • Computers – whether your laptop of your iphone – all have operating systems. Beneath the hardware is the software. Generally we only really notice the operating system and how it works when they fail. Your iphone stops downloaded, your PC freezes for the millionth time. Motivation 1.0 – In our very early days, the underlying assumption of human behavior were true – WE WERE TRYING TO SURVIVE! Our focus at the time would be on finding food and avoiding a lion or tiger that saw us as their food – they were trying to survive themselves. Motivation 1.0 works well – UNTIL IT DIDNT!Motivation 2.0 – As we began to form more complex societies and relationships, bumping up against strangers and needing cooperation to get things done, an operating system based only on our biological drive to survive, would no longer be effective. In fact, part of this drive often needed to be restrained – to prevent me from stealing your food and or from you stealing my wife!As the core of this new operating system was a revised a more accurate assumption – humans are more than the sum or our biological urges – the first drive still mattered, however a second drive came in to play – To seek rewards and avoid punishment. Unfortunately this also meant that Pavlov’s theory would hold true – we should reward positive behavior and punish bad behavior – use the carrot and the stick!In essence Motivation 2.0 is where we are today – BELIEF: the way to improve performance, increase productivity and encourage excellence is to reward the good and punish the bad. IN THE END THIS SUGGESTS THAT WE ARE VERY SIMILAIR TO A HORSE – THE WAY TO GET US MOVING IS BY DANGLING A CRUNCHIER CARROT OR USING A SHARPER STICK!Motivation 2.1 – in the 1950’s, Abraham Maslow (maslow’s hierarchy of needs) suggested that human behavior was more than rat like - he felt that we had a higher calling. The idea was that if managers could address this higher calling, their would be a positive business impact. As a result companies began to relax dress codes, offer a bit more flex time. And provide some additional autonomy. All of these ideas provided marginal success, thus resulting in a upgrade to our operating, not a new operating system – Motivation 2.1 instead of 3.0.
  • Motivation 2.0 is at times successful, however many times it does not work. The reason why falls into 3 broad categories: 1) Why we do what we do - if motivation 2.0 was true, Wikepedia should not be a success. In fact, that is only one of many examples – open source software( Linux, Apache web browsers, android), open source cookbooks, etc. Although much of this generates reward – companies implementing Linux, Android phones, etc., these open source products depend on intrinsic motivators, not extrinsic. Many of these programmers were asked why they did what they did and the common answer was “the way they felt while working on these projects – the intrinsic value of the project. Other examples – Legal entitiesUse to be “for profit” and “non for profit” Now there are “low profit, limited liability companies” - modest profit with a focus on providing significant social benefitsUsed to be S Corp, and C Corp. Now there are a handful of B corps – executive incentives favor long term value and social impact instead of short-term economic gain2) What is the purpose in what we do. - if motivation 2.0 was true, most of what we do is based on the economic value that results from it. Through 2002 is was taught in most economics classes that we primarily made decisions based on economic self interest and wealth attainment. - $10 dollar test. You are given $10 and told to share, some, all none, with you. If you accept my offer, we both get to keep our portion. If you reject the offer, we both loose. If I gave you $6 would you keep it? If I gave you $4 would you keep it? Most would not keep it at $2 or below! $2 is still better than no dollars however whether people were motivated by fairness, revenge, etc, they decided not to except it. This violated Motivation 2.03) How we do what we do - it was originally taught that “works consists mainly of simple, not particularly interesting task. The only way to get people to do them is to incentivize them correctly and monitor them closely” In the early 1900’s that seemed to work, but today’s job are much more complex and self directed then before – in direct contradiction to Motivation 2.0. - 2 types of jobs 1) Mechanical or Algorithmic 2) Creative or heuristic The jobs used to be split by level – a grocery clerk is mechanical – blue collar versus white collar. Today its about function and not level. Accountants, programmers, etc are all white collar yet get outsourced often because they are very mechanical or prescribed. Sourcing used to be considered mechanical because their was one way to do it, now it is very creative since there are so many options.Harvard researchers have found that the typical Carrot & Stick Approach works nicely for algorithmic tasks, but are often devastating to Heuristic tasks. CONCLUSION Motivation 2.0 has three issues:It doesn’t mesh with the way many new business models organize what we do – as human we are intrinsically motivated, not only extrinsically motivated profit maximizers.It doesn’t match up with what 21st economics now believes about what we do – economic now realize that we are human beings, not just single minded economic robotsIts hard to reconcile with much of what people do. Its not just mechanical tasks – for many people work is creative, interesting and self directed!
  • A rush of dopamine is released when we think about eating marshmallows, buying a new outfit or shoes. We are anticipating the rewards – how happy or attractive we will be in the future.
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  • Goals can narrow our focus – this is one reason they can be effective. With more complex tasks, the wrong metrics/goals can often result is failure. Examples of dangerous goals: - Sears – imposes sales quota on its auto repair staff – workers respond by overcharging customers - Enron – sets lofty revenue goals – we know what happened here - Ford – Intent on producing a certain car at a certain weight at a certain price by a certain date – unleashes the dangerous Pinto - Recruiters – hold back posting jobs in their ATS to get a head start on the time to fill - Recruiters – focused on positions filled end up with bit in seat syndromeContrast these with an approach based on intrinsic motivators. When the reward is the activity itself, based on delighting customers, delivering the best products/candidates, and deepening self learning, there are no shortcuts
  • Economists in the US and UK found this to be false.2 from MIT1 from Carnegie Mellon1 from University of ChicagoGroup from London school of EconomicsFound that financial incentives can often result in a negative impact on overall performance. In many instances, contingent incentives – the cornerstone of how businesses attempt to motivate employees, may be a losing proposition. Rewards can also negatively effect creativity!Harvard study of 23 professional artists. - asked to create commissioned and non-commissioned works - 10 commissioned and 10 non-commissioned works were selected and given to a panel of experts. - the commissioned works were rated as significantly less creative than the non-commissioned works - One artist stated that the commissioned work was harder because it became more work than joy and felt very constrictedRewards can also become addictive: - once offered they are always expected and force the organization to always offer the, - before long the rewards may no longer be sufficient and forces the principal to offer larger rewards to achieve the same effect. - Employee referral program are a good example – many of the best pay the lowest dollar amount but focus on the reward of working with those you respect and want to work with in your team
  • Autonomy should not be looked at as giving up control. There are degrees of autonomy appropriate for functions, industries, etc. There are 4 main areas that vary with each position to create autonomy – the work itself, the time, the technique and the team. Some position can be self directed in all of these areas – many cannot.How the Task is completed: - When you call a customer service line to complain about your cable, you end up in a call center cavern somewhere where you talk with someone that has no control of the situation and usually is reading from a script. Usually they are tracked on how many calls are handled each minute. - Zappos takes a different approach – First when hiring then provide 7 days of training. If at the end of that 7 days the employee decides its not for them, Zappos will pay them $2000 to leave. For those that stay, the get a decent pay, but more important they have some autonomy in how they get their job done. Its not about how many calls they made or what script they used, its did they serve the customer well. - For your recruiters is it about how many candidates they submitted how fast, or did they hire that right person that lasted and produced? Do they even know? What the task itself is: - Sometimes its about letting others get creative with their time – 10-20% of their time on projects that they are passionate about. - 20% rules: Google – Gmail, Google News, Android, Google Talk, etc all came from their 20% time. - One fortune 100 company allowed their staff of recruiters to take up to 4.5 hours a week to work on any recruited related project they wanted. Result? More productive in their own 35-36 hours (10% increase in closed positions over 12 months per recruiter in less work hours) – they didn’t want to be seen as slacking on their main responsibility More placements for other recruiters roles due to connections, etc. All to often it’s a “its not my position” Greater efficiency in use of ATS – some had pet technology projects Increased client satisfaction due to a greater focus on the intrinsic value of finding the correct candidateWhen the task is completed: - More input versus output - if the input (calls made, time on the phone) is more important that the output, employees feel little to no intrinsic value. If the focus become on the output, most intrinsically driven recruiter will have the “do what it takes attitude. Focus on the activity and getting in at 8am, or focus on the outcome and the results.Who helps Complete the Task: - Studies show that those motivated intrinsically perform better and are more satisfied when they work with other intrinsically motivated team members. - Studies also show that people working in self organized are much more productive than those working in assigned or inherited teams. (Open source software is a great example) - Like a pickup ballgame, do you allow your recruiter autonomy in picking their own support staff, researcher, junior recruiter etc. In some organizations, the new talent leader brings in all of the open positions/business lines and the recruiters rationalize their own “team” - This is the newest of the four areas of autonomy
  • Mastery is a mindset – requires the person to see his or her abilities as improvable. - do you or you recruiters think you know everything there is to know about recruiting? - do you think there is now way to better improve the service you provide?Mastery is a pain – deliberate practice is not easy - researchers have found that the best predictor of success is ones non-cognitive traits – defined as perseverance and passion for long term goals. - Mastery of sports can take 10 years and never be achieved. Take tiger woods (in his heyday) – Every year he returned to his instructor to hit thousands of balls to improve his drive! - Do you recruiters ever make an effort to learn more – you are if you are here!Mastery is impossible to achieve - the pursuit it what matters - you can approach mastery, you can home in on it, you can get really really close to it, but you will never touch it! - For many, Mastery attracts precisely because it alludes
  • The first two legs of the tripod are autonomy and mastery – but for proper balance their must be purpose.Autonomous people working toward mastery perform at high levels – but those who do so on the service of some greater objective achieve more.Motivation 2.0 doesn’t recognize purpose as a Motivation. Motivation 2.0 focused on profit centered maximization, Motivation 3.0 does not reject profits but places equal emphasis on purpose maximization. We see the issue of purpose coming out in areas of Corporate Social Responsibility – they don’t live to work, they work to live and have higher meaning.Changing Goals: - All of the generations including baby boomers, gen x, gen y and the iY generation no longer list money as their #1 form of compensation. - Focus is quickly shirting to “a great team”, “the ability to give back to society”, etc.Changing words: - If I asked you questions about your company would you use the words “they” or “we” to describe what you do? - All to often from recruiters I hear “they said we had to do this”, “They don’t know what they want?” - Good recruiters will say “we need to do a better job of understanding what we really want” - In 2009 the second year MBA class of Harvard looked at themselves and wondered if they were part of the systems problem following the economic collapse. Fearing they were the issue they created the MBA Oath: As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater body by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single indivdual can create alone……. I will safeguard the interests of my shareholder, co-workers, customers and society in which we operate….I will strive to create sustainable economic, social and environmental prosperity worldwide.Changing Ethics: - This one can work against you - Example – Fortune 250 company that went from understanding diversity to mandating diversity and creating a checklist of sorts to keep themselves out of trouble. It went back to carrot and stick from real purpose
  • Computers – whether your laptop of your iphone – all have operating systems. Beneath the hardware is the software. Generally we only really notice the operating system and how it works when they fail. Your iphone stops downloaded, your PC freezes for the millionth time. Motivation 1.0 – In our very early days, the underlying assumption of human behavior were true – WE WERE TRYING TO SURVIVE! Our focus at the time would be on finding food and avoiding a lion or tiger that saw us as their food – they were trying to survive themselves. Motivation 1.0 works well – UNTIL IT DIDNT!Motivation 2.0 – As we began to form more complex societies and relationships, bumping up against strangers and needing cooperation to get things done, an operating system based only on our biological drive to survive, would no longer be effective. In fact, part of this drive often needed to be restrained – to prevent me from stealing your food and or from you stealing my wife!As the core of this new operating system was a revised a more accurate assumption – humans are more than the sum or our biological urges – the first drive still mattered, however a second drive came in to play – To seek rewards and avoid punishment. Unfortunately this also meant that Pavlov’s theory would hold true – we should reward positive behavior and punish bad behavior – use the carrot and the stick!In essence Motivation 2.0 is where we are today – BELIEF: the way to improve performance, increase productivity and encourage excellence is to reward the good and punish the bad. IN THE END THIS SUGGESTS THAT WE ARE VERY SIMILAIR TO A HORSE – THE WAY TO GET US MOVING IS BY DANGLING A CRUNCHIER CARROT OR USING A SHARPER STICK!Motivation 2.1 – in the 1950’s, Abraham Maslow (maslow’s hierarchy of needs) suggested that human behavior was more than rat like - he felt that we had a higher calling. The idea was that if managers could address this higher calling, their would be a positive business impact. As a result companies began to relax dress codes, offer a bit more flex time. And provide some additional autonomy. All of these ideas provided marginal success, thus resulting in a upgrade to our operating, not a new operating system – Motivation 2.1 instead of 3.0.
  • 10 percent timeCan you recruiters come up with better solutions?Give up controlInvolve others in goal settingUse non controlling languageHold office hoursUse the pronoun testThey or WePeer to Peer rewardsFrom “if then” to “now that”Purpose AuditWhat is being measured? Defines the purposeWhat is being reported – are you reporting on the success of their candidate? The contribution the candidate made to the company? What’s the big picture?Turn employees into TeachersMentoring creates purpose,
  • The Motivation Myth

    1. 1. THEMOTIVATIONMYTHThe mismatch between how we motivate andhow we are motivated
    2. 2. MOTIVATIONDEFINED• The act or process of motivating. To Do• A motivating force, stimulus, or influence• The reason for an action.• That which gives purpose and Want To Do direction to behavior.• Factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested in and committed to a job, role or subject.
    3. 3. COMMONMOTIVATORS• Money – salary/incentives/bonus• Recognition/Praise/Awards• Promotions/Status/Titles• Goals/Objectives/Opportunity• Measurements/Reporting• Fear
    4. 4. PAVLOV’S • Classic conditioning — unconditioned stimulus — conditioned stimulusTHEORY — unconditioned response — conditioned response
    5. 5. APPLYINGPAVLOV’STHEORY
    6. 6. THE HISTORY OF MANKIND• Our Operating Systems (OS) – Motivation 1.0 Animal Instinct – Motivation 2.0 Carrot/Stick – Motivation 2.1 Windows Vista • Maslow
    7. 7. ABOUTMOTIVATION 2.0• Why we do what we do • How we do what we do – Encarta/Wikepedia/Open Source – Mechanical/repetitive – Extrinsic vs Intrinsic motivators – Creative• What is the purpose in what we do • What the research says (Harvard) – Economics – Is it all about the – Intrinsic motivation is conducive to money? creativity; – $10 test – Controlling extrinsic motivation is detrimental to creativity.
    8. 8. COMMONMOTIVATIONMYTHS
    9. 9. MYTH #1MOTIVATIONPRECEDES ACTION Often we think “I have to feel motivated BEFORE I do what matters.” Motivation often follows action. We don’t really need to do what is motivating before we do what’s important. In fact, waiting for inspiration is dangerous, What would happen to athletes if they only trained on the days they felt inspired?
    10. 10. MYTH #2MOTIVATIONIS ALWAYS RATIONAL Studies show that ―Smoking Causes Cancer‖ signs actually encourage cravings – motivating more of the behavior, not less.
    11. 11. MYTH #3I CAN MOTIVATEPEOPLE Not Really – you might be able to motivate them in the short term with the carrot or stick, however in the long term you often undermine that person’s intrinsic motivation toward the activity or opportunity.
    12. 12. MYTH #4 FEAR AS A MOTIVATORFear is a great motivator, for a VERYshort time. This is why lots of yelling fromthe boss won’t seem to light a spark underemployees for a very long time.Fear/pain is often over leveraged.
    13. 13. MYTH #5 MOTIVATION IS A UNIDIRECTIONAL FORCEA famous test asked children to forego eatinga marshmallow for ten minutes, in order toreceive two. Some managed, but many did not.One part of the brain is activated when thinkingabout the marshmallow.Another part of the brain thinks aboutthe longer term priorities – that’s whywe often feel torn.
    14. 14. MYTH #6 SOME PEOPLE HAVE NO MOTIVATIONEveryone has motivation.In some cases their motivationmay be to move away fromthings they don’t like – This iswheregoals are often helpful.Generally what slows peopledown is not a lack of motivation, butthe presence of obstacles.(Recruiting is about removingobstacles)Inflating motivation soundssensible, but it rarely doesanything to help remove obstacles.
    15. 15. MYTH #7 METRICS DRIVE MOTIVATIONGoals that people set for themselvesand that are devoted to attainingmastery are usually healthy.Goals imposed by others - timeto fill, number of hires, and so on –can sometimes have dangerousside effects.Examples – Sears – Enron – Ford
    16. 16. MYTH #8 REWARDS MOTIVATEExtrinsic rewards can motivate those inhighly mechanical, algorithmic positions.Studies show that tangible rewards(After baselines are met) tend tohave substantially negative effect onintrinsic, long term motivation.When businesses focused on theshort-term and opt for controllingpeople’s behavior, they often doconsiderable long-term damage.Harvard Study of 23
    17. 17. Motivation 3.0Tapping into the power of Intrinsic Motivation 1. Our desire to be self-directed 2. Our desire to improve what we do 3. Our desire to be part of something larger than ourselves
    18. 18. THEIMPORTANCEOFAUTONOMY• Sense of personal choice that helps people feel good about what they are doing.• 4 major areas – Who helps complete the task • Who they work with – What the task itself is (20% time) • Gmail, Android, Google Talk – When the task is completed • Input versus output – How the task is competed • Zappos“Control leads to compliance,autonomy leads to engagement.”
    19. 19. DEFINING ANDUNDERSTANDINGMASTERY• The desire to get better and better at something that matters.• The 3 laws of mastery: – Mastery is a Mindset • Can you improve? • Can your delivery improve? – Mastery is a Pain • Research – non-cognitive traits • Tiger Woods – Mastery is impossible to achieve • Its about the pursuit • Attracts because it alludes
    20. 20. PURPOSEFINDINGDEEPERMEANING• To have real purpose is to find a deeper meaning in our work. – Changing Goals • From Money to meaning – Changing Words • They versus We – Changing Ethics • Careful - Diversity
    21. 21. THE HISTORY OF MANKIND• Our Operating Systems (OS) – Motivation 1.0 Animal Instinct – Motivation 2.0 Carrot/Stick – Motivation 2.1 Windows Vista – Motivation 3.0 Mac OS X
    22. 22. CREATINGINSPIRATION• 10 percent time – What will they think of next?• Give up control – Involve others in goal setting• Use the pronoun test – They or We (Especially with candidates)• Peer to Peer rewards – From ―If/Then‖ to ―Now/That‖• Purpose Audit – What is measured? Defines Purpose• Turn employees into teachers• Focus on the emotional not just practical – Real candidate drivers

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