Very interesting article from the Harvard Business Review regarding motivation (internal/external) as a key determinant to successful leadership.
One interesting excerpt..."Many believe that the best way to influence behavior is to incentivize it, and such external incentives certainly work with lab rats." Wow! Many organizations get so caught up in thinking of ways to incentivize performance because we believe this will push productivity. Yet this can often be counterproductive due to the fact that when one is striving for incentives or performance measures (external motives), these devices then become the central focus in his/her work. When that is removed, or the performance measure is reached, or not, the employee then loses focus and is lost until you devise another way to create interest which creates a "lab rat" culture. A mindless game of find the cheese with no intrinsic or internal reasoning for doing what you are doing.
I am a firm believer that in order to create success at all levels of an organization, you need to determine what truly motivates your people. So the question to ask is not what performance measures can we use to quantify productivity and how can we create incentives to support/reward such productivity. But rather, it should be what is that makes our people still want to come to work and strive for success, regardless if rewards are at the end of the maze or not. The answer lies in what their true, internal, motives are. This means, you need to get to know your employees on a very personal and trusted level. Then you will discover the true way to generate productivity and success within your organization.
Click the link below to read the HBR article written by Tom Kolditz
Why You Lead Determines How Well You Lead
Internal motivations are more powerful than external ones.