"People arrive motivated. What we have to figure out is what de-motivates them and stop doing that."
-- W. Edwards Deming
I love this quote by Deming. It speaks to the fact that we spend so much time and effort trying to figure out how to motivate people, our employees, our students, our family members; yet, what we need to focus more on is what we have done to actually demotivate them.
Most people do not start a job thinking, "I'm going to do the least amount of work I can just to get by and not get fired." Most people don't start a marriage saying, "I'm not going to work at this marriage because I don't care about this person." Think about the effort and motivation to learn of the average kindergartner and compare it to the average high school student. MOST people, start any new relationship or job or task, with the intention of being the best they can be and putting forth their best effort.
So how do we end up from there to having to terminate people for poor work performance, high rates of divorce and children dropping out of school? Well, countless books and articles have been written about how we are screwing up the workplace, schools and the institution of marriage.
Here is a great YouTube video from RSA Animate that illustrates - no pun intended - what I've been trying to teach people and organizations about Effort and Motivation. Move away from those old (and wrong) ways you incentivize wanted behavior and get more to the heart of what people truly care about. Because guess what? Success in any endeavour involves understanding the links between motivation and effort.