Money and Motivation

via IM:

It’s incredible how this kind of bad advice still spreads, and it’s delivered without context or grounding in an article in a spotlight like Forbes.

The “bad advice” was this:

There’s nothing like an incentive to motivate people. And if you really want to drive them, make it a cash incentive.

Anyone who’s lived a little can tell you pretty concisely that there is a ceiling for how much money will motivate. I know this is true for me.

In fact, very early on I realized that money wasn’t something that motivated me very much at all. In some ways this may have hurt me historically as I’ve “under-valued” myself in a number of instances.

And, on the flip-side, in times of desperation, I’ve made some money-centric decisions that ended up backfiring big-time. Every context and situation is different so I’m hesitant to extract hard-line principles for these types of things.

When you’re working with a team (and growing one) you have to find the right type of incentives, the things that really move people toward individual action that matures into a corporate perspective. Monetary incentives have very little power here (or lasting power) unless in a very specific context (per the article).

In broad-sweeping terms, though, the sooner I realized my bottom-lines for what I want to do with my time (and my life) and then the underlying question of why I’ve been able to make better and more comprehensive decisions about my so-called career. Smarter, wiser, and more healthy decisions.

Money isn’t part of that fundamental equation anymore.