What Motivates the Other People….

Last week, I asked the question “Why do you work?”  I’d like to send out a big “Thank You!” to those of you who participated in my little survey to find out your thoughts.  And now for the results….

For the majority of respondents, they found doing something important/making a difference in the world motivated them the most.  Financial reward and enjoyment/fun were tied for the least motivating factors.

I heard about a research study (I’m so sorry – I’ve searched for the reference and can’t find it!  If anyone knows about this study, please let me know!!)  where they interviewed people to find out what they would choose to do if they had a choice between a career that paid very well but was pointless work or a career that was very meaningful but didn’t pay as well.  Not surprisingly, the results were the same – meaning is very important to us.

The part I found most interesting, though, was when they asked people what they thought the majority of people would choose.  Most thought that others would choose the well paying job.

In spite of the fact that there is a mountain of evidence that tells us that people want to engage in activities that make a difference, we often think that we need to provide treats, stickers, bonuses, etc. to increase productivity.

So – the question this week:  Whether you are managing a staff, trying to engage a classroom of students, or get your family to help with the household chores – are you focused on providing external motivation, or have you found ways to help people connect with the purpose behind their work?

What ways have you found to tap into people’s desire to do something important?  Please share your ideas!  (Trust me – taking a minute to share your stories can make a big difference in the life of someone who may be struggling right now!  Yes, YOU can make a difference!)

A winking, smiling emoticon



2 thoughts on “What Motivates the Other People….

  1. Kathleen Nichol says:

    I have found if I explain why I would like students, or family members, to do a task, they usually are wiling. Or we can negotiate so it works for all. If I phrase it as “I was wondering if you would help me … ” I usually have success. Or as “I have a favour to ask …. This is why I am asking …” And then I make a point of thanking them, afterwards. And asking how it went.
    However, if I nag or demand, it rarely works.


    • Rebecca Gray says:

      So true!!! Bumping up a conversation from the level of “what” to instead addressing the “why” does sometime help people shift their thinking. Thanks so much for sharing, Kathleen!


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