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When motivation no longer does the trick

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Q. For years, we’ve motivated our sales and service folks with incentives. Our culture is built around contests, fun competitions for bonuses or other prizes and recognition. But the last few contests have produced acrimony. Those who don’t win gripe about the rules and resent the winners. Are we motivating the wrong way?

A. I read a book many years ago called No Contest: The Case Against Competition by Alfie Kohn. It builds a strong case against pitting teams against each other as a way to lift performance. I’ve become a big believer in harnessing cooperation instead of competition. So we foster a culture of teamwork. Groups receive collective rewards for collaborating on solutions. I’ve found that when people compete for a prize, they may subtly (or blatantly) sabotage their peers.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Daniel Jehovah-Nissi July 10, 2017 at 8:43 am

Very good articles and supportive managerially.


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