Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Placed Above The Herd

July 9, 2014 2 comments

Alfie Kohn‘s “Punished By Rewards” is the classic go-to book on why/how rewards destroy intrinsic motivation and fuel intra-group competition and politicking. In “Want To Stay Productive? Turn Down The Next Award You Win“, Drake Baer gives yet another example of the motivation-busting effect of reward systems.

Math Medalists

Do medals, advanced degrees, fancy titles, and huge bonuses tend to fatten the heads of their receivers (and their givers) to the point of lazyness? Do they create an attitude of entitlement in the minds of their receivers (and their givers)?

W00t! I’ve arrived! No need to do real work anymore. I’ve been placed above the herd by those who have the “authority” to do so – and who, by extension, are two levels above the herd.

Six “C”s

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Whoo Hoo! I found another non-mainstream heretic to learn from: Mr. Alfie Kohn.

I’m currently in the process of reading Mr. Kohn’s book: “Punished By Rewards“. PBR is a well researched and eloquently written diatribe against anything that reeks of the Skinnerian dogma:¬† “Do This And You’ll Get That“. Mr. Kohn is a staunch opponent of rewards, punishments and any other form of external control.

People don’t resist change. They resist being changed. – Unknown

Applying his rhetoric to parenting, the classroom, and the corpricracy, Alfie cites study after study and experiment after experiment in which all external motivational actions perpetrated by “authorities” achieve only short term results while destroying intrinsic motivation and ensuring long term, negative consequences – like reluctant compliance and uncreative, mechanistic doing.

The classic (and reasonable) question posed most often to Mr. Kohn is “if rewards and punishments don’t work, what alternatives are there Mr. Smartie Pants?“. Of course, he doesn’t have a nice and tidy answer, but he cites three “C”s: Choice, Collaboration, and Content, as the means of bringing out the willful best in children, students, and employees.

Much like Dan Pink‘s big 3 (mastery, autonomy, and purpose), creating an environment and supporting culture in which Alfie’s three “C”s are manifest is devilishly difficult. In familial, educational, and corporate systems, their hierarchical structures naturally suppress Alfie’s 3 “C”s while nurturing¬† this 3 “C” alternative:

Multi-Pronged Response

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

To aid bloggers who’ve signed up for the 2011 “post a day challenge“, e-mails out example topic ideas to stimulate bloggers’ imagination. In “The Impulse to Create”, Daryl Houston poses the question “why do you blog?“.

Hmm. I’ve asked myself that same question several times over the past couple of years. I’ve conjured up this multi-pronged response:

  • To share thoughts, ideas, opinions, experiences with anyone who’s willing to listen
  • To learn more about the subject I’m writing about
  • To blow off steam (against imaginary BMs and BMWs)
  • To make stuff up
  • To manifest the unmanifested
  • To move toward the peak of Maslow’s pyramid: self-actualization

How about you? Is there something you regularly do outside of family and work for your soul?

Breakfast Interpretation

March 21, 2010 Leave a comment

While e-conversing with a colleague the other day, I used the following quote that encapsulates the chicken and pig story:

In a bacon and eggs breakfast, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed – Ken Schwaber

Surprisingly (it’s surprising because my colleague isn’t a member of the management guild), my infallible and self-righteous peer castigated me with a retort of “that’s inappropriate!”.

Dude, gimme a break. You see, just because the quote was created by a semi-famous software dweeb to belittle BMs, it doesn’t have to be interpreted that way. It can be interpreted as the exact opposite:

managers who decide to provide financial backing for a project have more skin in the game than the engineers who spend the money – because if the project fails, the pecuniary loss is pinned on the manager by his/her manager(s)“.

This interpretation certainly has as much validity as it’s polar opposite, no?

Nevertheless, when I did utter the quote, I was using it to convey Mr. Schwaber’s original intent. Bad dog – as my colleague was quick to point out. He seems to delight himself whenever he clearly points out how stupid I am – which is often. Gotta love pumping yourself up at the expense of others. I should know, cuz I do it all the time. Mooo hah hah hah! Bad dog!

Buy this poster at Post it on your cubie wall – if you dare.

%d bloggers like this: