Hr Library

A Lethal Combination

By | David Klaasen | Helping You Create Clarity, Inspire Your People & Drive Performance | Retain your best people | Changing Management Mindsets and Behaviour | Practical Behaviour Analytics

There is currently a lot of debate in HR circles about the merits and dangers a bonus culture. Bonuses can direct people’s behaviour in unwanted ways that can seriously damage the customer experience and the business as we discovered in the Global Financial Crises. However there is another motivational aspect that no one has mentioned. It lies beneath the surface and could even be damaging your organisation, business or team.

Understanding motivation

Most people think of motivation as something that will get us to take action; to get “in motion”, but this is not always the case. Motivation is not only about action, because there are times when we are motivated to wait and think things through; if for example we feel we need more specific information, or the timing is not right because we need more evidence. In fact, in some roles it is critical to have people who are motivated to wait, analyse and review the situation before taking action.

In the LAB Profile we distinguish the level of action a person demonstrates as ‘Proactive’ or ‘Reactive’ behaviour. The Proactive person likes to initiate and get started, but if they have high levels of this trait, they may not give things enough thought, and this can lead to missing some details that may prove to be important. The Reactive person is motivated to wait and consider the situation. They need more time, information or evidence for analysis – they may procrastinate and miss an opportunity.

In the context of eating, some people will feel a pang of hunger and immediately go and get a snack. They may even have a stash of snacks in their desk! They are proactive about eating. Others are more patient with their hunger and can tolerate feeling hungry until they decide it’s the right time to eat. Some very diet-conscious people may spend a considerable amount of their lunch break considering the healthiest option and where to get it, leaving little time for actually getting and eating it, or they may even skip a meal.

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