Make Progress

So you need to motivate someone. What is the #1 best thing you can do to increase their feelings of commitment and eagerness for their work? The answer may surprise you.

For years I would have said recognition. Public, private, on a boat, with a goat. Just recognize them however you can. Turns out there’s something better.

One of my undergraduate professors, Teresa Amabile, has an article in the Jan/Feb 2010 Harvard Business Review about a study she conducted showing that the #1 best motivator is . . . progress.

Turns out people love to feel their work is moving forward. Road blocks and stagnation frustrate them. Moving the needle excites them.

So remove the hurdles and roll up your sleeves. Apparently, nothing beats progress.

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2 responses to “Make Progress

  1. Make sense! I feel that as a manager, people definitely love recognition, so I try to remind my team that “doing and achieving” naturally leads to recognition which is when we all feel accomplished AND appreicated …the best compliment. Some companies recognize people for just “showing up” and I don’t think that makes the person on the receiving end (or anyone around them) feel any more appreciated when they haven’t necessarily done anything to recieve it.

    • Kari,
      I agree. I used to have a manager who ended every day by telling me I had done a great job. There was never anything more specific than that. I hated it. It seemed irrelevant and certainly never motivated me. But when I got moving with the work – that was when I got into the zone and was excited to work even harder.

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