It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


The surprising truth about what motivates us

page: 1

log in


posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 02:58 PM
Hey ATS, I came across a video about motivation. It breaks down what things work to motivate us and the outcome may surprise you.

It's no wonder the people sitting at the top of businesses raking in huge amounts of money are mostly incompetent.

Check it out.

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 03:42 PM
No comments?

Maybe the video is just self explanatory but I would not have predicted the outcome.

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 03:43 PM
Most excellent and so very true. Thanks for posting this.

Once, about six years ago, I managed a team of 72 software architects, designers, and developers developing and support a product that was on a 5-week upgrade/maintenance release cycle. Every 5 weeks, year after year. Working every third weekends without compensatory time.

With company cutbacks ranging from people to raises to bonuses and benefits like vacation days and the stopping of a formal awards for jobs well done, people were getting very depressed, tired, and physically sick. Morale was down the tubes.

Motivation other than keeping your job was non-existent. I listened and heard patterns of common concerns: I don't even have time to clean off my hard drive before the next cycle starts, or I'm tired of eating lunch at my desk. There seemed to be nothing I could do. It felt like my hands were tied. But then I got to thinking and came up with a plan that could boost morale without costing a thing, and I was stunned to see that it was very similar to that one company in the video.

I went back to the schedule and looked at all the roles and made it so that we didn't "need" three people from each of the three major task groups each release cycle. And I announced that two of the three slots were to be rotated to allow people to do things like take vacations, go to the doctors, and go out to lunch. Sounds stupid, eh? But that was our reality. The other slot was to be used for more or a reward thing, where a person nominated by the team could take time "off" from the project to do things like take corporate training they sorely needed, document and/or implement new ideas, clean up hard drives and set up archiving systems.

You wouldn't believe the difference it made to both the people and the project. I can't quantify it, but people are still talking about it today. It's gone now because the "higher ups" didn't like the idea. They couldn't articulate why they didn't like it, mumbled some words about utilization, and just canned it. I may just send them a link to this video

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 03:55 PM
reply to post by TV_Nation

That was extremely interesting, good find. I've wondered how open source software manages to become so powerful when people are doing all the work for free...I always check sourceforge and other open source communities for software, because I know half the time there will be an alternative to payed software, and it will usually be more reliable and updated more often because it's open for all creative and critical thinkers make changes...take Firefox for instance, IMO, it's the best web browser available...and it certainly is the most customizable, with the largest database of add-ons available for any web browser.

Though, I do think those studies are slightly wrong...because those people getting the big reward are under more pressure, and that puts strain on your mind, and dulls your ability to think clearly and critically, at that stage you're worrying about money instead of the project at hand. People in high pay jobs that require exceptional thinking skills get used to the pressure, and the pay seems like a normal thing to them...therefore if you offered someone who was experienced more money, they would be able to handle the job in a professional manner and whilst increasing their work output.

The problem is, we become bored with doing the same thing, or doing things other people want us to do. Sometimes we do like to work, we like to use our creativity and critical thinking skills to produce something we can truly be proud of, and we don't need to be getting money in return for it...the process of creation can be enjoyable, work doesn't always have to be "work". As a programmer myself, I have multiple projects which I develop on the side, I work on them for no other reason than that I find it enjoyable. To me, there is no greater pleasure than that of testing my creative problem solving skills, to test myself and see of I'm capable of defeating the mental challenge that lay before me.

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 03:56 PM
Nice vid, but i would say that probably obvious if you know humans and how they work.

The psychopaths at the top probably did not understand that not everything is related to money(how boring).

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 05:07 PM
reply to post by TV_Nation

Fantastic thread. I have been arguing for years, philosophically, that our society doesnt serve human ends. That we have been trying to force humans into a subservient role to "progress" when "progress" was supposed to serve humans.

I am so thrilled that economics is finally catching on to what philosophy has known for thousands of years. You need to construct a society that takes into account human nature, and that allows humans to be what they are, and be satisfied, for this to all make sense.

Love the video too. All around excellent and hopeful thread.

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 05:28 PM

Originally posted by CHA0S

Though, I do think those studies are slightly wrong...because those people getting the big reward are under more pressure, and that puts strain on your mind, and dulls your ability to think clearly and critically, at that stage you're worrying about money instead of the project at hand.

I dont want to discount your opinion, but I do want to share my personal experience in regard to that.

What I have noted is that the most competent people drop out of the rat race long before they hit the big time. I left business school at the top of all my classes, my teachers said I was their most brilliant student, and I was offered jobs before finishing my junior year. And I left at the beginning of my senior year to finish my degree in philosophy. Which has approximately zero financial reward. But is high on satisfaction for me, and mastery, for me. I am not alone in that. A lot of your most promising workers arent motivated by the carrot alone, and they leave the "carrot stick" system long before they ever end up "burned out" because of their tough decision making comes into play.

I never found business decisions tough. I never found any of the work hard. I found the ethics, the politics, and the other business majors who were carrot stick people, unbearable. I cant even tell you how many truly brilliant minds I know that are grossly underutilized because they cannot fit into that carrot-stick environment. And they are not lazy, they often work incredibly hard, at things that simply do not pay, but which they find rewarding. Many times taking second paid jobs to finance their autonomy, that are just "jobs" to pay the bills.

In other words, what I notice, and noticed in school, is that you dont have brilliant minds at the top burned out by the tough decisions. You have mediocre minds at the top, who are highly carrot motivated, and they are burned out because they are out of their natural depth. I will bet money that many of those not so bright students that I carried through business school (the whole group grade fiasco) are busy managing stuff right now when the biggest skill they learned in business school was how to conceal their incompetence by riding off other peoples work.

I think the video is spot on when it says that this type of system will attract real talent. I think it absolutely would. No one I know who is worth a damn would compromise their passion for money. And those who pursue money as an end itself, are rarely passionate about what they do. Sometimes you get lucky, and your passion happens to make money, (Bill Gates, Buffet, Jobs, etc) but for many, if push comes to shove you choose satisfaction and just take whatever job will pay the bills and not interfere too much with what you really love.

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 06:07 PM
Great vid. I think it shows where we are heading as a society, and thats is a shift from profit to self fulfillment and passion as a driver.

I found over the years I moved away from the more fun stuff in my field Info Tech into less fun but extremely lucrative.
I won't say I am miserable, but having fun and being passionate is not on top of the list.

posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 09:42 PM
im glad you posted this!

posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 03:50 PM
Why did the Australian company find that they got more creative ideas on that one "free" day? Probably because the people weren't worried about getting fired. That fits in with the standard reward/punishment model.

Does anyone want to take a chance to be great when the result could be them getting fired or do they just want to coast by and be mediocre but continue to get a paycheck.

As to the study where they offer people 3 levels of funds to do the same tasks and found that the people they offered the most money to did the worst, I'd like to see that data. I can't believe that I'd work my butt off if someone offered me a dollar, but if they offered me 10 million I'd say, "I'll do it later. I'm going to go watch some TV".

Why do people do work for free (guitar, linux, etc.)? Because the joy is their motivation. Their 9-5 is just a paycheck and, again, they do just enough to not get fired.

posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by Mayson

I agree. There is a HUGE difference between how hard you can/want to work on something that excites you, and how hard you can/want to work on something that you HAVE to.

I honestly do hope this changes the work place in the future. Even if it doesnt happen in time to benefit me, personally. I think humanity would see a huge increase in productivity, and creativity, and happiness, if this became the norm.

We really do need to make society fit people, and work for people, rather than simply try to prune, train, or medicate people into fitting into society, so that they can work for it. I have always thought it ridiculous to make a huge chuck of the worlds people into miserable drones so that some few could have more profit. Think how much less "stuff" we would need if we were just generally more satisfied with life, and felt as if we mattered, and were contributing, respected members of something rather than domesticated animals being prodded along with yokes on.

top topics


log in