You Don’t Have Enough Money To Motivate

One of the ten leaders’ tasks is to MOTIVATE.  In many minds this leads quickly to thoughts of increased performance through the use of sticks and carrots.  The logic of this as an effective strategy disappears with quick consideration.  Do you think you can threaten (stick) an employee and get their best long term work?  Laws have been in place since January 1, 1863 that prevent most of that.  By the same token how much of a “bonus” (carrot) do you think it would take for you to change your own long term behavior?  Would you fundamentally change the effort and creativity you bring to your job for a 5% bonus?  How about 10%?  How about 50%.  For most people the number that gets them to actually change their behavior for the long run is so large that few organizations can afford the additional fixed cost. That’s not to say that people aren’t excited about a bonus, or look forward to the payout, or get excited about what it can mean for their family.  But be honest, the day after the check is in the bank aren’t most people back to who they were before the payout?

Leaders need to think in terms of careers not quarterly payouts.  From time to time in this blog, we will discuss what leaders DO to motivate people to their best long term efforts.  In a nut shell, leaders inspire their teams and team members to raise their standards of performance and accomplish more than they ever thought possible.  Leaders understand that real motivation comes from a person’s involvement in their work, desirable goals, an effective and efficient process, and ultimately, from achievement.

All that having been said, this weekend I read the following blog by Chuck Jaffe at MarketWatch and decided to take him up on his offer to pass it on.  It is good advice that is begin offered to all the people you will someday lead.  Think about it – they are looking for meaning and life’s reward from the work itself.  They are not looking at work for the pay check that funds how they get meaning and life’s reward.  If you lead well and provide this at work – it is a competitive advantage that cannot be overcome.


Chuck Jaffe: Grads must put money in proper place

Thursday May 22, 2014 12:01 AM

My oldest daughter graduates from college this weekend.

She seldom reads my column – it’s not subject matter that most 22-year-olds gravitate toward – and she long ago asked me to minimize discussions of her, just to avoid potential embarrassment.

Yet in the last few years, she occasionally has found herself online looking for advice or information and reading something appropriate, only to find out I was the author. And just last week, she told me she would welcome my financial advice for a graduate, even if it came in the form of something the whole world could see.

There’s no way I could pass that up.

So here is an open letter to my daughter on the occasion of her graduation. If my words would resonate with the graduates, recent grads or soon-to-be-grads in your life, I hope you will share them.

Dear Thomson,

Welcome to the real world. Your college degree represents a real accomplishment – of which your mother and I are immensely proud – but it also symbolizes a passing.

Real life is a graduate course in personal finance, with the occasional pop quiz and very real test. Unlike the grades you earned in school – which are largely forgotten once you get your first job or earn a spot in grad school – financial mistakes can stay with you for a long time. Thankfully, however, you can overcome financial errors and your blunders don’t have to cripple you for a lifetime.

While you will never stop learning – and I hope you someday realize your dream of a graduate degree – good grades are no longer the tangible reward for a job well done. Money is.

The pursuit of money, however, should not be your primary goal.

Money gives you choices – and a lack of money forces you to make tough decisions – but it doesn’t buy happiness. Look for jobs that you enjoy, so that work doesn’t feel so much like a chore and you will find an inner happiness that ensures that your real life doesn’t just feel like a rat race.

Money also is a tool, and you should not be afraid to use it. Meeting your obligations is crucial, and savings is important, but don’t be so focused on amassing money that you are afraid to spend it, and to enjoy the rewards that should come with your hard work. Live life richly, because there is no prize for being the richest person in the graveyard.

Being afraid to make a financial mistake is, by itself, a mistake. Make decisions that feel right but plunge ahead with your eyes open so that you learn from your errors and don’t repeat the moves that feel fine when you make them, but seem like blunders when you reflect on them.

One of the biggest trials you now face – and will face for the rest of your life – is providing for yourself. As much as I wish for you a job that doesn’t feel like work, understand that there is tremendous satisfaction in sustaining yourself and your family and in meeting your financial obligations; let that be your reward for the menial jobs, the temporary positions and the false starts that you are likely to go through en route to that fulfilling career.

In that same vein, don’t let the day-to-day grind take your eyes off long-term goals.

Remember that finances are not a sport or competition. It may seem like you want or need more than the next person, but what you need is enough to be comfortable and to reach your goals.

Ignore the people talking about how much money they have, make, spend or need. If you are comfortable and reach your goals – even if you don’t meet the standards of neighbors, co-workers, family or strangers – you are a success. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.

Remember, time is both short and valuable. Don’t waste it; you won’t get it back.

Now go out there and get after your dreams. You’re more ready than you realize. Your time starts now.



Chuck Jaffee is senior columnist for MarketWatch. He can be reached at

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