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What motivates people to perform?

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • October 29, 2022

Fear. Very effective for speed, not so effective for innovation. How do you create fear? Anger. Shouting. Swearing. Ruthlessness. Heartlessness. Innovation can’t happen because the innovators of the world do not have to work for anyone. And no one likes being abused. So your business is eventually overtaken by competitors.

Greed. Attracts the wrong kind of people and incentivises the wrong type of behaviour. People start to chase money. Businesses don’t make money. Businesses make “widgets.” The by-product of the “widgets” is money.

Pride. A very positive emotion. Make people proud to work for you. Apple does this by churning out the best products in the world and winning your heart with emotional marketing campaigns. Apple’s staff are psyched to work at Apple.

Hope. The ideal emotion to activate. Barack Obama did this during his 2008 election campaign. He inspired millions of Americans and they came out to support him in one of the most memorable races in political history, ultimately getting him across the line with a landslide. Hope is a magnet for the best people, and more importantly, hope is sustainable. Fear creates a self-fulfilling prophecy; the threats can never stop otherwise the foundation of the system will become meaningless.

Hope, on the other hand, is forever.