Contrary to popular myth, you don t have to wield power or provoke fear to be an effective motivator. In fact, it s better if we don t think of ourselves as larger-than-life figures burdened with the challenge of bringing the nearly dead back to life through various methods of motivation. That kind of flawed thinking is exactly what gets us into trouble.
Let s not forget Melissa from the Introduction, the best of the best in the land of flailing fists. She was far too small to intimidate anyone , and rarely, if ever, did she use her formal authority or position power. In fact, the amount of power you have has little to do with how well you motivate others. Remember, we have watched people with almost no authority motivate their bosses bosses.
Motivation, it turns out, is actually rather boring. It has little to do with clout, chutzpah, or even charisma. In fact, motivation is about expectations, information, and communication.
Let s start our more accurate, if less flamboyant, description of motivation with a simple truism: People are always motivated. To say that someone isn t motivated is patently wrong. As long as people are moving their muscles , they re motivated to do something. Second, motivation is brain-driven. People choose their behavior. Third, motivation is influenced by a nearly infinite number of sources from both within and without.
Here s how the human brain and the surrounding world combine to propel individual behavior. Human beings anticipate. When deciding what to do, they look to the future and ask, What will this particular behavior yield? When they choose one action over another, it s because they re betting that that action will generate the best result. Since any action yields a combination of results, some good and some bad, it s the expected sum total of the consequence bundle that drives behavior. If you want people to act in another way, you have to let them know how a different behavior would yield a better consequence bundle.
Here s what motivation comes down to: Change others view of the consequence bundle and their behavior will follow.
How do you go about motivating others to change their behavior? How do you get people to understand that their existing view of the consequences is either inaccurate or incomplete? What does it take to change expectations or anticipated consequences?