Does cash make it happen?

March 20, 2017

Via spring.org.uk   Article

The Truth About Motivation Most Do Not Believe

“Most people firmly believe that cash incentives increase motivation. If you want the job done well, offer a bonus — or so the common belief goes. In fact, psychological research often shows the opposite. When psychologists test the effects of using rewards, they find something strange.

People are indeed motivated by rewards in the short-term. But in the long-term rewards actually undermine motivation. Dr Kou Murayama, first author of a new study published in the journal Motivation Science, said:

‘Society has a deep-rooted misunderstanding of how motivation works, and employers are repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot with the frequent use of rewards to encourage certain behaviours or increase effort.

Our work shows we need to correct our strong misbelief in a carrot and stick approach to achieve sustained motivation among workers.’

… Almost two-thirds of people agreed that incentives would motivate people. Actually the reverse was true: rewards demotivated people. The reasons seemed to be that:

  • People’s autonomy is undermined by rewards. In other words they think if they are being paid to do something, they don’t really want to do it for its own sake.
  • People focus more on the reward than actually doing the job.

Instead of rewards, it is better to focus on internal motivation and people’s personal autonomy should be respected. Dr Murayama said:

‘So much effort is put into having an immediate effect on students or employees, and it is true that people respond well in the short term to things like financial incentives.

However, we have shown that providing a workplace that meets people’s needs and improves job satisfaction is likely to have a greater impact on employees than money on its own.

In the future, it may be possible to explore how such incentives can be transformed into an inner desire in the person to carry out tasks, which is far more powerful.’

The study was published in the journal Motivation Science(Murayama et al., 2016).”


Fancy gets broken

March 20, 2017

By Pascal Finette via theheretic.org  Article

Once You Get Fancy, Fancy Gets Broken

“Recently I overheard a semi-professional cyclist say to a group of other cyclists:

‘Once you get fancy, fancy gets broken’

He was referencing the gear on his bike — the fancier it gets (the more complex, the more features, the more intricate, the more tech) it tends to break more often and in ways which are harder to deal with/repair.

What is true for his gear is, I believe, equally true for your company, your processes and your product. Most of us have a tendency to add to things — we add features, we add complexities, we add steps. All well intended — aiming for more, better, faster.

Yet in reality we tend to just make our stuff break. Features our users don’t understand, code which is buggy, processes which are convoluted, systems which become increasingly complex.

Resist the urge to get fancy. Stay simple and clean. Less is often more.

As famed Braun designer Dieter Rams said: Less but better.”


Hell-bent on flexibility

March 20, 2017

By Elizabeth Dukes via inc.com  Article

Why Are Millennials Hell-Bent on Flexibility at Work?

“More than 30 percent of American workers today are part of the Millennial generation, making them the largest shareholder of the American work force, above both Gen-X and Baby Boomers. With Millennials practically owning the labor force these days (and into the future), business leaders are constantly looking for new ways to attract and retain these rising professionals. The answer, it seems, boils down to one key factor: flexibility.
… While flexibility at work (whether that be in the form of flexible workspaces, remote work options, or flexible hours) may seem like a productivity hazard, employers can actually benefit greatly from it. For example, 22 percent of Millennials say they would be willing to work more hours and 82 percent would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.But where flexibility can really have an impact is on retention: 34 percent have left a job because the employer did not provide flexibility. Clearly flexibility at work is critical to the Millennial way of life — but why?

Here are three key factors influencing Millennials’ preference for flexible work options.

1. Work-Life Balance

… for Millennials specifically, Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey found 88 percent wish they had the ability to choose when they start and finish work. This flexibility supports the desire for better work-life balance so they can create schedules that work with their lives, including when and where they want to work.

2. Technology

Millennials have no interest in the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. They prefer to set their own hours and complete tasks in the way that works best for them. This means employers need to offer flexibility that gives them the option to work remotely, attend meetings virtually, and collaborate online rather than in face-to-face meetings. …

3. On-Demand Work

Another factor driving Millennials’ need for flexibility is the growing gig economy, or on-demand work options. On-demand jobs are appealing to Millennials because they offer exactly the type of flexibility they desire — the ability to set their own hours, seamless technology to find and complete work, and the ability to take on work or ‘gigs’ that appeal to them most.”


Economics is messy

March 20, 2017

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com  Article

Human beings make rational decisions in our considered long-term best interest.

Actually, behavioral economics shows us that people almost never do this. Our decision-making systems are unpredictable, buggy and often wrong. We are easily distracted, and even more easily conned. …

The free market is free.

The free market only works because it has boundaries, rules and methods of enforcement. Value is created by increasing information flow and working to have as many contributing citizens as possible.

Profit is a good way to demonstrate the creation of value.

In fact, it’s a pretty lousy method. … Profit is often a measure of short-term imbalances or pricing power, not value. I hope we can agree that a caring nurse in the pediatric oncology ward adds more value than a well-paid cosmetic plastic surgeon doing augmentations. People with more money might pay more, but that doesn’t equate to value. …

The price of a stock represents the value of the company.

It turns out that the price of a stock merely reflects what a few people decided to trade it for today. Tomorrow, it will certainly be different, even if nothing about the company itself changes. There’s very little correlation with how the traders come to value a company in the market and how much value a company actually creates.

The only purpose of a company is to maximize long-term shareholder value.

Says who? Is the only purpose of your career to maximize lifetime income? If a company is the collective work of humans, we ought to measure the value that those humans seek to create.”


It’s almost impossible

March 13, 2017

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com   Article

It’s almost impossible to sell the future

“If you’re trying to persuade someone to make an investment, buy some insurance or support a new plan, please consider that human beings are terrible at buying these things.

What we’re good at is ‘now.’

Right now.

When we buy a stake in the future, what we’re actually buying is how it makes us feel today.

We move up all the imagined benefits and costs of something in the future and experience them now. That’s why it’s hard to stick to a diet (because celery tastes bad today, and we can’t easily experience feeling healthy in ten years). That’s why we make such dumb financial decisions (because it’s so tempting to believe magical stories about tomorrow).

If you want people to be smarter or more active or more generous about their future, you’ll need to figure out how to make the transaction about how it feels right now.”


Star performer to star manager

March 13, 2017

By Annie McKee via hbr.org   Article

Shifting from Star Performer to Star Manager

“It turns out it’s not so easy to manage ultra-smart high achievers — especially when you’re one of them. As a superstar in your previous jobs, you met every goal, every time. You didn’t let anything get in your way — you just did it. While you had decent relationships with teammates, you didn’t really need them. Now you do, because you can’t even achieve your own goals without them, much less the targets set by management. You recognize that you’ve been pushing them pretty hard to achieve your goals, and you suspect there’s something about what’s driving you that’s the problem here. And you’re onto something. …

Unfortunately, a lot of star performers have a really hard time re-directing their achievement drive away from their personal goals and toward others’ success. For example, you might think you’re helping people when you dive in to complete a report or put the ‘finishing touches’ on someone’s slide deck. But, people see that you really care about your goals, your standards — not theirs. Very quickly, they learn not to trust you. And your hard-driving impatience and tendency to correct people’s work can actually be insulting.

The right way to use your achievement drive is to bring it out to help others find and achieve challenging goals. You must learn to step out of the spotlight and shine a light on others’ accomplishments. It makes them feel great, while inspiring their peers. Your need for achievement isn’t going to go away, of course. You just need to learn to balance it with concern for others’ desire to do a good job, on their own terms. This takes tremendous emotional intelligence, starting with self awareness. Then, you need empathy, a willingness to understand others, and self management. …

There’s a lot to learn when star performers like you take that first big management job. And the most important learning has little to do with the technical aspects of the job, and a lot to do with you as a person. Most of us don’t think too much about what motivates us to behave as we do, but learning to use your emotional intelligence to understand why you act the way you do is a first and often-missed step in becoming an excellent manager — and a great leader.

In essence, you need to understand what drives you and learn how to use your motives to build positive relationships to serve others first, yourself second.”


If … then working together is pointless

March 13, 2017

By Liane Davey via hbr.org   Article

If Your Team Agrees on Everything, Working Together Is Pointless

“You’ve probably been taught to see collaboration and conflict as opposites. In some cultures the language and imagery of teamwork is ridiculously idyllic: rowers in perfect sync, or planes flying in tight formation. As a team, you’re ‘all in the same boat.’ To be a good team player, you must ‘row in the same direction.’ These idealized versions of teamwork and collaboration are making many teams impotent.

There’s no point in collaboration without tension, disagreement, or conflict. What we need is collaboration where tension, disagreement, and conflict improve the value of the ideas, expose the risks inherent in the plan, and lead to enhanced trust among the participants.

It’s time to change your mindset about conflict. Let go of the idea that all conflict is destructive, and embrace the idea that productive conflict creates value. If you think beyond the trite clichés, it’s obvious: Collaborating is unnecessary if you agree on everything. Building on one another’s ideas only gets you incremental thinking. If you avoid disagreeing, you leave faulty assumptions unexposed. As Walter Lippmann said, ‘Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.’ To maximize the benefit of collaborating, you need to diverge before you converge.”