December 02, 2009

behavioral economics of intrinsic motivation watch "behavioral economics of intrinsic motivation" on vimeo Transcript: One of the most basic questions I hear from managers is: How can I do a better job of motivating my team? Should you use a bigger carrot or a sharper stick? In Dan Pink's new book Drive and his latest TED talk he makes the distinction between extrinsic motivators like strict schedules and large bonuses and intrinsic motivators like autonomy, mastery, and purpose. He makes the case that employees performing jobs that require more than just basic cognition, are less productive when motivated by an extrinsic source than an intrinsic source. What I find most interesting about his talk are the behavioral economics behind this management style. To understand the behavioral economics behind intrinsic motivation we must first understand that the call to move to intrinsic motivators is really a call to move the employee-employer interaction from a market relationship to a social relationship. Let's look at these two types of relationships as defined by Dan Ariely in his book "Predictably Irrational". A market relationship is usually defined by the exchange of monetary currency for a product or service. In the employer-employee relationship this has been the structure for motivating people to work throughout the 19th and 20th century. The employee trades her or his time for compensation. When managers want their employees to preform better they either offer them more salary, more options, more benefits, or the thought has been they can motivate them to work harder with a stricter schedule, less benefits, or even threatening them with losing their job. A social relationship is much different. It is defined as the exchange of an intangible for a product or service. In his book, "Predictably Irrational", Dan Ariely illustrates the difference between a market relationship and a social relationship with a great anecdotal story. Imagine you are at your in-laws house for thanksgiving. At the end of the fantastic meal you walk over to your mother-in-law and instead of giving her the customary social payment of a big hug and thank you, you pull out your wallet and ask her how much she wants for the meal. Here is where the behavioral economics get interesting. Even if you were to offer her $1000 for the meal, a meal that only cost her only a couple hundred dollars and a few hours of her time, she and everyone else at the table will be offended because they will feel you cheapened the day. Why? Well behavioral economics show us that the intangibles like love, gratitude, trust, and community that we receive in a social exchange are difficult to put a value on, so difficult in fact, that we can't calculate them and value them as priceless. By offering the $1000 to your mother in law for the Thanksgiving dinner you are putting a cheap value on something that is priceless in her mind. This inequity is caused by trying to blend a social exchange with a market exchange and it...
principles of contribution Watch "principles of contribution" on Vimeo Transcript: In our last post we promised a follow up for making your contribution social media ready. We have a few basic principles that if followed can help your content avoid being ignored and capture the attention of your second and third circles. The first of these principles is to lead with passion. Find something you are passionate about and pursue it. We see so many people using social media just for the sake of using the technology or for shameless self promotion. If you aren't passionate about your work it will show in the quality. If you want your contribution to capture attention, put your heart and time into it, there are no shortcuts. The next principle is possibly the most important. Find a niche, become the expert, and dominate that niche. Stop trying to contribute content, products, or services that attempt to meet everyone's needs while sacrificing what makes you unique. We see so many round pegs trying to fit in triangle, star, and square, holes instead of embracing the fact that their passion, experience, and knowledge makes them the expert to dominate a specific niche no matter how small or eccentric. Fill your niche and rock out! The next of these principles is to make sure your contribution is rooted in story. Story is the essence of the human condition and it is the best way to process, package, and get your audience to remember information. This goes for everything from your blog posts, instructional videos, presentations, and even your resume. The bottom line is that people are suckers for a story. If your contribution has an amazing story, it will travel and it will be remembered. The last principle is important, especially in the social media context. So many social media groupies fall into the "expert's trap" where they are really excited to show off their knowledge of a particular subject on go on to ad nauseum. Don't fall into this trap! Keep it short! We have found that when people view content online their attention span hardly last more than 5 minutes. We have also found that our 2 - 4 minute video posts receive the greatest attention and have the most potential in capturing the audience's attention through out the whole piece. That's it! Now that you know the principles, get out there and start contributing. Thank you for watching and we look forward to your feedback.

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