Monday, January 5, 2015

What Is The Difference Between Motivation
and Incentives?

Try Results As Your First Criteria for Success

Image courtesy of franky242 at
One of the biggest problems facing business leaders these days is how to motivate peopleI mean REALLY motivate peoplegetting them excited about their work, willing to put in the extra hours and take each project to the next level. Energy like that is contagious, and believe it or not, not that hard to create.

Now, some of you are thinking...
"Why do I need to motivate people to work? I'm paying them aren't I?"

And I have a counter question:

Would you like a workforce that goes above and beyond
the call of duty, or do you want people
who do only what is asked of them?

I am a Baby Boomer. The first time I heard of something called Results Only Work Environments (ROWE for short) I was cynical. Work is work. deadlines are deadlines. Period. But slowly, I realized that's all people were doing at my companies: working. No one was obsessed with our brand, willing to go the extra mile, putting their genius to work in the success of the company.

So I adapted my personal management style to a new type of workforce. A workforce that is tech-savvy, team driven, passionate about helping the world on top of earning a paycheck. So, how did I tap into that passionate energy? I treated them like a partner, shifted the responsibility to their shoulders, and engaged them in the success of my company.

Now I know, some of you are balking at this, but let's take a trip through history.

Frederick Winslow Taylor invented the concept of an employee in 1903. Factories and assembly-lines needed someone who would show up for a period of time and go home. A worker who obeyed the rules, kept their mouth shut and just assembled stuff. Before the Industrial Revolution, work was seasonal, according to the harvest, and workers moved from town to town. There was no time clock involved.

But for the the Industrial Age to work like a well oiled machine, the workforce needed to do the same. Assumptions were made, and Taylor revealed his arrogance when he exclaimed...

"Workers have 2 inbuilt flaws: they are stupid like an ox, and they are lazy. They will only do the minimum they have to do to not get punished."

REALLY? Sadly, this false assumption continues to this day and is getting in the way of taking us to the next level. Many of today's well-educated, computer savvy, team-driven workers are capable of increasing productivity, IF managed properly. But I bow to my colleagues on this subject...

Tim Askew, founder and CEO of the elite New York and Texas-based international sales execution and consulting firm Corporate Rain International corners the topic of motivation and incentives in his latest blog posting by citing Clayton Christensen, HBS professor and management guru...Tim's take on the subject hits the nail on the head in The Happy Entrepreneur.

Tim's breakdown of Christensen's latest book How Will You Measure Your Life? is exemplary. But and a quote based on a theory articulated by the late psychologist Frederick Herzberg..."Motivation means that you’ve got an engine inside of you that drives you to keep working in order to feel successful and to help the organization be successful."

Incentives on the other hand, are driven by benchmarks that management sets. Engagement is not part of the paradigm. Rules are what matters: was he/she on time? Did they sell enough this quarter? And ‘What do you want to be paid?’ I have seen many top sales people fired because they were late. The company goes out of business in less than 2 years and the owners wonder why.

Let me break it down even further:

Getting people motivated invites them to voluntarily take responsibility for the success or failure of the company. Their input is to be acknowledged and appreciated as a contribution to the bottom line. And if they fail, it is on the shoulders of the individual. Now isn't this a more adult work environment? Each person learns to self-manage their contributions without a boss standing over their shoulder. Work hard, help us succeed and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

Motivation beckons each person to get engaged
in the success of the company.

Incentives, on the other hand, are like a dangling carrot. Yes people will jump through hoops to win, but they are fulfilling tasks only. Obeying the rules? Yes. Pushing? Yes, but not really giving of themselves fully. And guess what else they are NOT doing? Being innovative. Usually in environments like this, people are afraid to rock the boat and bring new ideas to the forefront. Self starters are rewarded because THAT is their nature. Everybody else, just keeps their head down and works.

To be successful in The Information Age, it is important to figure out the secrets of motivation, innovation, creativity and productivity. There ARE new rules. And guess what the top business schools discovered? People are NOT motivated by money.

Engaging today's talent requires leadership to create an environment of support for truth, inspiration and creativity to thrive!  As a friend of mine recently stated "Incentives induces outer action, but a serious lack of engagement eventually follows. Motivation comes from within, and inspires a person to go above and beyond the call of duty." Well said.

Give me a call. I can show you how to move from Rules to Results in a very short time.

As always, thank you for your interest in my work...

Brad Szollose

Look up these resources when you get a chance:

For more on Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen his Website:

How Will You Measure Your Life?
By Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon.

From Amazon...
"In 2010 world-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen gave a powerful speech to the Harvard Business School's graduating class. Drawing upon his business research, he offered a series of guidelines for finding meaning and happiness in life. He used examples from his own experiences to explain how high achievers can all too often fall into traps that lead to unhappiness.

The speech was memorable not only because it was deeply revealing but also because it came at a time of intense personal reflection: Christensen had just overcome the same type of cancer that had taken his father's life. As Christensen struggled with the disease, the question "How do you measure your life?" became more urgent and poignant, and he began to share his insights more widely with family, friends, and students."

The Innovator's Dilemma
When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
By Clayton M. Christensen.

From Amazon...
"In this classic bestseller, innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right—yet still lose market leadership. Read this international bestseller to avoid a similar fate."

For more information on Tim Askew and Corporate Rain:
Corporate Rain Official Website:

The Corporate Rain Blog:

Tim is also the Official Entrepreneurial Blogger for Inc. Magazine! See a list of his articles here:

I try to bring the very best and up-to-date information to my clients. Tim is on the pulse of bringing entrepreneurial wisdom to the executive suite. Wisdom that works in the real world.

This is powerful stuff, so I suggest you get in there and learn from these experts in the field;-)

PS: If you are interested in one of our white papers entitled... 

What Every Business Needs
to Know About Generation Y:

Understanding How Technology Transforms Culture and Behavior,
and Impacts Management, Interaction
and Expectations


email us with your name, title and email address.
Your information is confidential.

Ask me how I can help your company evolve into the 21st Century.

Brad Szollose is the foremost expert on Cross-Generational Issues and Workforce Culture, management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture, behavior, management interaction, expectations and sales in The Digital Age.

But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 year career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.

Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is also the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analog driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 

* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.

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Brad Szollose Bio:


Who Is Brad Szollose?: 

Cofounder of Another Big Production. Host of Awakened Nation™. Award-Winning Author. Creative Director. Leader. Visionary. TEDxSpeaker. Web Pioneer. C-Level Executive.

First things, first. How do you say Szollose?
It’s pronounced zol-us.

From founding partner and CMO of K2 Design, Inc. the first Digital Agency to go public on NASDAQ to international leadership development expert, Brad Szollose has worked with household names like MasterCard, American Management Association and Tony Robbins, to create leadership training programs for a new generation.

As an award-winning creative director, he has been the creative force behind hundreds of high-end corporate events, personal and consumer brands, and website launches. Brad is the recipient of the Corporate Identity Design Award and the Axiom Business Book Award along with various awards for website and print design.

As a C-Level executive at K2, his unique management model was awarded the Arthur Andersen New York Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation Amongst Employees (Workforce Culture).

Today, the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on next-generation leadership development, branding and modern Management Strategies, and he has been featured (both print and online versions) in Forbes, Inc., Advertising Age, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, International Business Times, Le Journal du Dimanche (France), and The Hindu Business Line to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CGTN America, CBS, Roku Network and other media outlets.

Brad continues to challenge the status quo with his new book, Liquid Leadership 2.0, and his new podcast, Awakened Nation.

After 35 years in New York City, he now calls Las Vegas home. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the mountains, working Star Trek and Dune quotes into everyday conversation, and painting and drawing the stunning landscapes of the American Southwest.