To Reflect: Not All Rewards Are Made Equal

In previous weeks, and in my book, I talk of the Value Equation.

In short, it’s this:

The problem is, not all rewards are made equal. Some last a day, some last in perpetuity. There are 3 key types of motivational patterns that I’ve observed.

‘Volatile’ Reward Motivation

Volatile motivation is typically characterised by large peaks and troughs.

A prime example of where you would see this in the wild is with Audit Compliance activities. The motivation leading up to and immediately after an Audit is normally high, which then descends to a motivational lull until the next scheduled audit. As that audit nears, motivation rises again and the peak-trough cycle repeats.

‘Initial Flash’ Reward Motivation

Initial Flash motivation is the ‘sugar-hit’ of your motivation types. It is typically characterised by a large initial rise then a sharp fall – usually following a key event or milestone.

The motivation levels never typically recover back to the initial levels of excitement. You will often see around money. Bonuses, raises or even when striving for new project funding, there’s often a sharp boost followed by an equally sharp motivational drop.

‘Steady’ Reward Motivation

If Initial Flash motivation is your ‘sugar hit’ then Steady motivation is your ‘low GI’. It provides a slow, longer lasting burn.

Thankfully, there are many types of rewards that generate this type of motivation. You’ll find this spurring from ease of use, personal satisfaction, organisational culture and personal ego.

Reflect: What’s motivating your teams? And is it sustainable?