Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

Tapping Into Hearts and Minds with Intrinsic Motivation

Posted by Jesse Bechtold on May 10, 2016 10:00:00 AM

“Team, this year I have read a book about the importance of intrinsic rewards,” said the CEO, “in lieu of raises I have decided to double the number of intrinsic motivations you will receive.”

Oh boy,  not much good could come from this, right?

The general corporate wisdom says, “What gets rewarded gets done.”  Accordingly the spreadsheet wizards have created amazingly complex extrinsic rewards such as bonuses, stock options, gain sharing, as well as perks, prestige and position.

But what about these intrinsic rewards, what are these?  Some common sources of intrinsic motivation include:

Knowledge:  the pursuit of knowledge motivates many people…having spent the last four hours researching what experts say about intrinsic motivation has been very rewarding to me, in fact, having this forum to explore topics is a form of intrinsic motivation.

Responsibility:  giving someone added responsibility can be a strong inspiration for your employees.  Responsibility gives someone the opportunity to be thought of as a leader within the organization.

Recognition:  being recognized as part of a top performing team is a sourceemployee motivation.jpg of pride and motivation.

Accomplishment:  reminding your employees of their accomplishments through company newsletters or intranet can be a significant source of intrinsic motivation…even something as simple as saying “thank you for a job well done”.

Authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book The Leadership Challenge, say, “…awareness of the human need for challenge and this sensitivity to the human need to succeed at that challenge are among the critical balancing skills of any leader.”

Well defined roles for your innovation teams can be a source of intrinsic motivation.  For example,

Employees:  recognized as the energy source, persistently working to overcome the challenges and gaining in knowledge through rapid learning cycles,

Managers:  deep understanding of the Big Picture, recognized for bringing diverse parts of the organization together to accomplish the Leap innovation,

Collaboration Teams:  gaining and sharing knowledge through stimulus mining, idea doubling and creating ideas, recognized as part of the team

Maybe it is time to revise our old general corporate wisdom.  As Kouzes and Posner write, “what is rewarding gets done.  We can never pay people enough to care….true leaders tap into people’s hearts and minds, not merely their hands and wallets.”

Is your innovation program designed to tap into the power of intrinsic motivations?  Are your people bringing their hearts and minds to work, or just their hands and wallets?

Call us at Eureka! Ranch, we can help you tap the power of intrinsic motivation with clear roles and a system guaranteed to provide success for your team.

Topics: innovation, leadership

Jesse Bechtold

Written by Jesse Bechtold

Jesse has held the title of CEO, CFO, CAO and more during his many years (he won't tell how many) in the workforce. Today he leads Eureka! Ranch's Innovation Engineering Network, LLC a world wide network of professionals committed to changing the world through innovation.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


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