The Wrath of the Vending Machine

November 16th, 2010 by Wael Leave a reply »

Quite often, when we discuss motivation in our workshops, especially when it is at the time of the year around annual reviews and bonuses, there would be someone who would wave the flag of money. The question we always ask in return is: for how long would a $ shot last?

To be fair, in our part of the world, the individual has to provide for so many things that are taken for granted elsewhere. Hence good pay is essential for survival. However, how effective would it be to build a motivation culture around money?

Here’s what I have to say about it:

– A Money Centered Motivation (MCM) culture is a magnet. It will attract all bounty hunters and fortune racers. It will attract them until further notice. The resignation notice. How come? Simple: someone, somewhere, has paid them more.

– One that should have been mentioned in physics books: the buildup rate of a wish list is greater than that of the money required for servicing it. What does that mean? Well, it means that the happiness of a temporary money surplus goes almost as far as when home is reached and the story told. Shortly afterwards, the money surplus will be leveled (because spent) and the gap both in our stomach and in the virtual bank account in our minds grows again. With it ends the motivation effect of the $ shot.

– Another thing you need to watch out for is the wrath of the machines. The vending machines. As you know, the technical makeup of a vending machine deactivates all buttons that you could push to get what you want from it unless you insert the accepted currency and in the accepted pieces of change. That’s exactly what you get in an MCM culture. What you’d be doing is gradually, yet very quickly, transforming your people into vending machines. You would be teaching people that the cost of the extra mile comes in cash or it doesn’t (when I say doesn’t, I mean the extra mile).

Please don’t think that I’m suggesting that money is not important. On the contrary, there needs to be enough money in your team’s pockets to keep their minds off it. But MCM is short term and short term only!

For motivation to last, it has to be based on making people enjoy what they spend the most of their waking adult lives doing: working! Lasting motivation is built on the relationship between manager and team members without losing focus on results. The key to motivation is to build the relationship in such a way to win hearts and minds. Pockets are not in the recipe. This won’t happen by email and won’t happen by remote control. You need to show up.

Remember your managers? Those with whom it was dark outside without you even noticing time? And those with whom you felt a second on your watch take a minute to tick? I am almost certain that you don’t label the first as the highest payers when you think of them or talk about them.

Have a dream. Attract volunteers ready to live your dream. Money-reward them fairly. Motivate through the relationship you build. Focus on results. Keep in mind: MCM is ST and ST only!

Dear reader, thank you for joining the conversation, please click the “like” button and “share” this blog post to make sure others see it too; and remember to “register” your email at www.waelelhelou.com/blog not to miss any blog post and to make sure you get notified on time.

Wael!

“trace – training and coaching executives

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7 comments

  1. Wael says:

    Rand,
    Of course the world has become material and the volunteers ready to live you r dream are scarce.
    That means they are the secret recipe to a sustainable competitive advantage!
    Thank you for joining the conversation.
    Very Best,

    Thank you for joining the conversation, please click the “like” button and “share” this blog post to make sure others see it too; and remember to “register” your email at http://www.waelelhelou.com/blog not to miss any blog post and to make sure you get notified on time.

    Wael!

    “trace – training and coaching executives

  2. Rand says:

    I can’t but agree with you.
    On the other hand we live in a “material world” and those” volunteers ready to live your dream” are a scarcity…

  3. Raya says:

    Ton article est une fois de plus tres interessant .
    Ca m’a rappele une notion apprise il y a bien longtemps dans un de mes cours. Il s’agit de la Pyamide de Maslow. Peut etre que son approche est un peu depassee, mais elle reste, a mon sens , interessante.
    Il positionne les besoins dans cet ordre. Le besoin de base etant celui en bas de la liste :
    Accomplissement personnel
    Estime de soi
    Estime des autres
    Amour, appartenance
    Sécurité
    Physiologique

    Avoir un reve …: ce besoin positionnerait il en haut de cette pyramide? une fois que tous les autres besoins sont satisfaits ?

  4. Wael says:

    Je n’avais pas Maslow en tête quand j’ai écris ça mais, si tu veux…

    Tu peux aussi te référer au travail de Blake et Mouton pour voir l’implication/la relation du double focus sur/entre «task» et «people» (ou l’absence de cela) comme style de management et de leadership.

    Thank you for joining the conversation, please click the “like” button and “share” this blog post to make sure others see it too; and remember to “register” your email at http://www.waelelhelou.com/blog not to miss any blog post and to make sure you get notified on time.

    Wael!

    “trace – training and coaching executives

  5. Raya says:

    Merci …
    Ils ont mis en place une grille qui indique en abscisse le degre d’interet pour la production et en ordonee le degre d’interet pour les relations. Ils definissent ainsi 5 styles de comportments.
    J’ai pu lire aussi que Hersey et Blanchard ont nuance cette grille en faisant l’hypothese que n’importe quel style peut etre efficace ou inefficace selon le degre de maturite professionnelle des collaborateurs (a ne pas confondre avec maturite psychologique) . Ils distinguent 4 niveaux de maturite (liant maturite et motivation).
    Le manager devant accompagner l’evolution de la maturite du collaborateur….

    Toutes ces analyses et pistes de leviers de motivation sont interessantes ….
    Maintenant je ne pense pas qu’on actionne les meme leviers quand on veut motiver des collaborateurs au seins d’une societe pour, a terme, ameliore la productivite…..
    Ou si on cherche a permettre a un individu de trouver sa voie (voix), realiser ses passions et ses reves et se realiser entierement en tant que personne.

  6. lara naddaf says:

    Agree but people have different motivators coming from different personalities and perceptions. Some are motivated by recognition and praise, others by building and keeping good and positive relationship with surrounding and others strictly cash who run after who has to offer a penny more. It depends on whom you deal with and then building a culture around them is essential for sustainability and growth. Without of course ignoring the importance of money as you mention in your discussion.

  7. Wael says:

    Lara,
    Thank you for your comment.
    My stand is whatever you do, make sure you pick the ones that suit the culture that you seek and remember, you get what you tolerate ;-)
    Very Best,

    Thank you for joining the conversation, please click the “like” button and “share” this blog post to make sure others see it too; and remember to “register” your email at http://www.waelelhelou.com/blog not to miss any blog post and to make sure you get notified on time.

    Wael!

    “trace – training and coaching executives

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