What’s the Motivation?

Motivating yourself and others.

You want to motivate yourself-you have to figure out what motivates you most effectively. Or you want to motivate others-you have to figure out what motivates them most effectively. The University of Minnesota Career Center has a work values inventory that pinpoints eleven areas that can motivate:

  1. independence
  2. creativity
  3. challenge
  4. money
  5. self expression
  6. service to others
  7. power
  8. achievement
  9. recognition
  10. interpersonal relationships
  11. variety

Motivation can involve positive or negative consequences. Motivation can be tangible or intangible, intrinsic or extrinsic. Positive motivation is usually the most effective, and intrinsic motivation tends to be intangible. However, to stop a bad habit like using bad language, you can set up a negative tangible consequence like putting a dollar in a jar every time you slip up.


Intrinsic (internal)

Extrinsic (external)

Positive (approach)

Desirable outcome





Negative (avoidance)

Undesirable outcome


money in jar-tangible

Negative feedback-intangible

To achieve the goal:

Measure results. Simply posting a scorecard can make the outcome like a game, motivating us to improve the score.

Recognize and reward progress. Provide incentives-an employee incentive plan doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Get creative ideas and ask what they want.

Know the goal, and communicate it clearly. Expectations and consequences need to be clearly understood by everyone.

Additional Reading

More on Motivation at the Daily PlanIt:

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