Money Does Not Always Motivate

In a house at the end of a cul-de-sac an old man lives a hermit-like existence. If he had his way would have nothing to do with the rest of the world, because more than anything else in life this old man values his privacy and peace and quiet.

He wakes one day to the sound of three small boys playing football in the street just outside his house. There not being yobbish in any way, but it’s a warm day in the school holidays and they’re having fun and making noise.

Given what we know, we might expect that the old man would react to this by bursting out of the house, swearing profusely and waving his arms in the air. North Carolina business entity search

“Boys!” he booms as he walks down the path, “How nice it is to see young people enjoying themselves. I’m always hearing about kids today moping around all day and yet here you are enjoying just simply kicking a ball around on a sunny day. I used to play football when I grew up a few streets from here and I can tell you that watching you has brought back some lovely memories. You’ve cheered me up so much I think you deserve a reward. Here’s £5 each!”

The boys are naturally wary, but they decide to pocket the money and they return to playing football as the old man returns in doors.

The next day they’re back and once again the old man comes out to speak to them. “Ah boys”, he says enthusiastically, “I was thinking about what happened yesterday and I decided to phone my boyhood friend Eric; we haven’t spoken in years. We’ve decided to go for a pint on Saturday. I can’t tell you how happy this has made me so, go on, have another £5 each”

The boys willingly accept the money and as the old man goes back into his house, they begin to discuss the different ways they could spend their windfall. They’re back the next day and the same thing happens. They come back the day after and the same thing happens.

On the fifth day the old man comes out to greet them but without any of the cheerfulness at all.

“Boys”, he says, his voice grave and serioys “Please believe me when I say I meant everything I said. You have cheered me up and I’m really, really pleased that we met up, but It’s a while before my next pension payment and things are very tight financially. Tell you what, how about a penny each?”

“A penny! Are you serious?” asks the oldest boy. “We’ve been used to £5! I can’t believe this. Come on we’re going.”

With that he and his friends scoop up their ball and disappear never to be seen again. The old man has his tranquil life restored for a paltry60 which is very good value as far as he is concerned.

If you want to destroy motivation, take a group of people who are performing learning and enjoying (as the boys were to begin with) and orient them towards financial rewards instead. Then meddle with them or take them away and I guarantee motivation will never recover.

If you’d prefer to see motivation improve do it the other way round. Coaching will help you discover the way each individual balances performance, learning and enjoyment in their role and you can relax knowing that you no longer have to rely only on financial rewards.