Monday, November 2, 2009

The Romance of Motivation and Influence

What is it that wins or otherwise engages the hearts and minds? I profiled in an earlier article the principle of DIPI: things that get our attention because they’re dangerous, important, pleasurable and interesting. But it’s only when we match these situations with a desired outcome usually in the negative sense that we understand its power.

1. Danger

We all scare and it’s naturally our want for survival that makes us react to the things that incite fear. Preventing serious injury, illness or death is a key life undertaking though we’re not generally apt at thinking about these things; yet we take measures every day to ensure we stay safe.

2. Important

All of us want to do things that are important to us. We prioritise our important relationships. We also generally hate wasting time on things that, and people who, aren’t important. We want to make the most of our time. So, the desired outcome is to stop wasting time.

3. Pleasurable

Some elevate this to top position—these are people with a death wish. Nevertheless, we all strive to avoid pain.

4. Interesting

Things that are interesting fuel the Western world. We have a natural desire to resist boredom.

Putting all this together tells us something about our humanity and the drives of salubrious motivation we naturally fall in love with.

We can’t help wanting to live without fear of harm, our time’s precious, and we resist pain and boredom (which is simply another form of pain, particular in Western culture).

Consolidating these principles which motivate all of us should be part of any person’s leadership strategy in winning or engaging (influencing) the hearts and minds of those they lead.

But, this is not simply about leadership. It’s about being able to motivate others, including ourselves; it’s about understanding and utilising the straightforward, knock-‘em-dead drives of motivation.

All our communication should attend to one or more of these factors to maximise our influence and effectiveness.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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