Volume 116, April 2012: Motivation: Push vs. Pull Methods

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2012 ISSN # 1545-8873

“You can buy a person’s hands but not his/her heart.” — Peter Block

You can buy people’s hands but not their hearts. Think of all the push strategies you have used: compliance, standards, intimidation, negotiation, coercion, manipulation, arbitrary numerical quotas, fear, structural changes (move the bodies around). And what you got. Perhaps compliance. Certainly not commitment.

These are extrinsic motivators – a class that includes even carrots, like rewards and pleasing others.

True emotional energy is drawn from people by pull strategies or intrinsicmotivators: consensus-building leading, modeling, education, stories, teamwork, opportunity, celebration, feedback, curiosity, choice, vision, inspiration. For example, “I see you running this company someday.” Words that they can grow into.

For a human being to move, there has to be some form of disequilibrium. Something has to unsettle the person or organization. If it is a noxious cause, promoting fear and avoidance, the change will last until the pain is eased. On the other hand, if the cause is desire or aspiration, the creative tension of a dream can be a continuing source of learning and growth (a Peter Senge concept).

True empowerment comes from relationships, not things. Rekindle desire.

Practice Point

This week, paint the future in a compelling way for someone, where the individual is unsettled, but can see themselves moving there. Study with them how to remove restraining forces that limit that future.


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