Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Motivation—no label required

I've read a lot about how to motivate. I've heard a lot, too. In general, I've been told that you need to be positive and stress the upside of a person performing or behaving a certain way.

I just walked through an airport and saw a book by Bobby Knight entitled, "The Power of Negative Thinking." No, I am not going to read it. I'm confident it will be a book filled with examples of his extraordinary ego.

But, I have learned that negative motivation is powerful. In some cases, more powerful for certain people or situations than positive reinforcement. I hate the thought that it's true, but it is.

For example, many great performers strive to excel because they are afraid to lose or be looked at as being washed up. Some slackers go to a new job and all of a sudden become aggressive because they now have to perform or they will be fired. Some people see lay-offs at their company and step-up their performance big time.

It probably doesn't matter; motivation is like stress. There's good stress (we landed a new client) and bad stress (my girlfriend broke up with me) but they both result in stress. Motivation, whether from a positive or negative standpoint, if it results in a more focused, engaged performance, is motivation, period.

Barry LaBov
LaBov Marketing Communications and Training

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