The issue of remuneration is challenging for any leader or manager. For sure, we want our teams to feel rewarded for the work that they do – but that reward doesn’t always have to manifest in monetary form, after all there are a number of ways that we are motivated. However, there really is a tipping point.
Dan Pink shares his great insight around what motivates us in this video. One of the key takeaways for me is that monetary reward only incentivizes a simple type of performance – and that for any other type of challenge requiring even a moderate level of creative or conceptual – it can act as a disincentive. Now, I don’t know about your business, but the majority of organizations that I deal with are far from simple. In fact, they often go beyond “complex”. And it is in this space – that we most readily respond to three motivating forces:
Watch the video to learn more. It’s enlightening.
But before you do, let me leave you with this … Dan Pink explains that these motivational forces really only come into play once you have taken “money off the table.” That is – you are paying your teams well enough that money is not an issue. And sometimes, just understanding what that level is can be a challenge.
Nina Nets It Out: In a complex business world it comes as no surprise that we are motivated by complex forces. The surprising thing is, is that we focus so closely on monetary rewards – which are often the easiest to solve. Taking money off the table can open the door to other, more valuable motivating forces that can transform the ways in which your teams perform.
I’d add that many money issues in the workplace are really hidden autonomy, mastery and purpose issues. Not to minimize pay inequality or other pay issues. But, you are correct, we spend an inordinate amount of time on pay issues when they are the easiest to deal with.
The management challenge is building a culture that lets employees be autonomous, pursue mastery and work towards their purpose. We know this is what motivates people to do well.
What can management do to create this environment? It seems pretty obvious that management is not doing this now.
Thanks for your comment. I fully agree that creating culture is in fact the real challenge. However, I would say that I don’t fully agree completely that “it seems pretty obvious that management is not doing this now”. I know of several managers that strive each and every day to foster the type of environment that you describe. This said, you are generally correct and leadership is lacking in this area and surely there is plenty of room for improvement.
Nice post Nina, and thanks for pointing to that excellent video by Dan Pink! I am in agreement that money is overused as a motivator, when in many instances it has little to no effect on the desired behavior. The key is gaining an understanding of what motivates each employee and leveraging this knowledge to make rewards and motivation more meaningful and more likely to bring about the desired outcome. Easier said than done, but completely doable if a manager is dedicated to putting in the requisite effort.
I have included your post in my Rainmaker ‘Fab Five’ blog picks of the week (found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2010/07/the-rainmaker-fab-five.html) to share your thoughts and Dan’s video with my readers.
Thanks for the comment and the Fab Five selection! Dan’s video is a good one and worthy of sharing with your readers as it shows us things that are not necessarily intuitive, but that are nonetheless, very valuable for all of us to know. Reward systems, when understood, can be used to help drive and motivate behavior. But, when they produce counter-intuitive results because they are not clearly understood, it leads to faulty management decisions based on inaccurate rationale. Glad you appreciate this and are passing the lesson along!