A Fish Story

Extrinsic and intrinsic motivators appear to be contradictory of one another. Extrinsic motivators are tangible, controlled by a third party, and are not directly connected to the work itself. On the other hand, intrinsic motivators are intangible, originate from within a person, and are directly connected to the work. But is it possible that one […]

The Perfect Motivational Formula

Compensation management is an extremely sophisticated endeavor. I routinely hear senior managers complain that their company’s compensation plan does not seem to properly motivate all or parts of their sales team. Attempts to drive motivation by tweaking the compensation plan often backfire with disastrous results. I have personally worked for a company that had the […]

Lost because you know the way

I recently wrote a blog about Autonomy that describes the importance of giving your team latitude in how they complete their jobs.  By granting that latitude you make it possible for them to find faster, more efficient, and more effective ways of accomplishing their work. The business world is not stagnant and requires constant adaptation […]


I know the best way to do my job. Next up on our tour of intrinsic motivators – Autonomy. In the simplest terms autonomy is the ability to do what you want, the way you want to do it. Various dictionaries define it using the term “self-governing”. Autonomy is a powerful intrinsic motivator because human […]


You can count on me. Initially it may not seem that Accountability would be considered a motivator. The word “Accountability” is usually used negatively in the business world when describing someone who is not doing what they are supposed to do. It almost has an Old Testament kind of heaviness, “Thou shalt be held ACCOUNTABLE!” […]


My Work Matters. How do we motivate our teams to do the best work they can by using an intrinsic motivator?  I’m going to start with what seems the hardest, but really is just a matter of communication — Meaningfulness (wow, what a fluffy word!). A person who believes that their work is meaningful is […]

Utilizing Intrinsic Motivators

Remember, motivation is just a fancy word for wanting, so whether it’s an intrinsic or extrinsic reward, you can’t make somebody want something. However, there are ways that you can move the intrinsic motivations (feed the fire) that already exist within a person. First, since we’ve established we can’t create these motivations, can we really […]

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Rewards

Motivation is a broad term that encompasses many different types of motivators (also referred to as “rewards”). These motivators can be loosely grouped into two categories, Extrinsic and Intrinsic. When most of us think about why we work, the extrinsic rewards are easy to identify.  We like our paychecks, we rely on the benefits our […]


What is motivation? The general desire or willingness to do something. Amazon.com lists over 50,000 titles on the topic of “Motivation” with 366 new titles “coming soon”. One might conclude that a topic with tens of thousands of literary discussions must be pretty darn complicated. But really, “motivation” is just a fancy word for “wanting” […]