Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mastering Motivation

Did you know that a better pay could lead to a poorer performance? Oh you already did?... And did you know why that happens and when a better pay could lead to a poorer performance? Really? Well... sorry, this post isn't for you then. Otherwise please keep on reading.
Actually this post is just a re-post of a video on You Tube, but on one side it is a summary of what motivates people and on the other side it is funny and really good - and so it's worth sharing with you here. The video translates in a very plain language a study conducted jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon.I'd like to get it but couldn't find it, yet.
Check out the video anyway, it's really worth it...

Why this video?
I never felt like money worked for me the same way it is said it should for most people. Even those people that say that work only for money and the more money they get the harder they work, well... I've seen some of them going through Hell and back just to get something that was needed or some other reason that didn't have any more money or power involved.
But for now I just really want to share this great video with you and make a short summary of it even if it's already quite summarized.

In short, what's behind this motivation thing?
Only 3 factors lead to better performance and personal satisfaction:
  • autonomy: on the very least, asking people to do something and letting them decide how to do it;
  • mastery: making people better at what they do;
  • purpose: like in businesses, you start with a vision, the same goes here, if you want more details check out "Working for a better good";
If you think of Open Source Software, like it is mentioned on the video, it all makes sense, doesn't it?

The principles
Just two basic rules here:
  1. For mechanical skills, the performance gets better with the pay
  2. For cognitive skills, the larger the reward the poorer the performance

So what's in it for you?
Always pay people enough to take money out of the negotiation (does it sound close to utopia?). For simple mechanical tasks, reward with money to get a better performance. For all other, focus on autonomy, mastery and purpose to get a better performance.
As Project Management is about making people give their best, if you follow this simple guideline...
Then you can be a better Project Manager!

Images taken from Disney,  video from You Tube but found on a Portuguese post on Mentes Brilhantes by Ricardo Costa, thank you for your blog.

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