Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I had an enlightening experience wednesday morning on the metro. I was standing, annoyed that every time I wear four inch heels somehow turns out to be the time there is no seat open on the metro, when I hear this guy fairly loudly talking to what must have been his colleague about this instance with some people he worked with. The story went something like this: I wanted these people to get something done faster because I had a deadline. So I told them that if they got it done in four hours, I buy them a pizza and if they didn't they would have to buy me a pizza. They said they couldn't do it, but with the motivation of the possible pizza, they would try. Of course as expected, they found a way to get the task done in four hours. That friday, they got a pizza. One intelligent guy realized, wait now that we have shown you we can do it like this you're going to expect it. The boss goes, that's right. The other guys were not happy to hear this. The boss says well doesn't it make you feel great to know you are capable of that? The guys said begrudgingly well yes, but... The boss was the guy talking on the metro and he said to his colleague, I had just had to find what motivated them. They were hungry, so they did the work better than they had before because they had incentive that was personal.

I couldn't believe I heard this story. Even before my coffee, and in four inch heels I was getting an impromptu lesson about motivation. The guy on the train probably did't know it but he was giving me a lot to think about as I am studying motivation and learning about the theories behind it. This boss really got me thinking. Is motivation as simple as fining what people want and giving it to them in a way that is also conducive to the company's interests? That isn't necessarily simple to do but does al the theory we have been reading about in class boil down to this?

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