Overweight children are being paid gold to lose weight if they live in Dubai; so I’ve read. Apparently, they have one of the worst child obesity rates in the world. To combat the problem, its rulers are offering parents 2g of gold (worth around £55) for every kilo their children lose.
This story came to mind when a client told me he hadn’t responded well to his parent’s approach of setting goals for him at school; rewarding him if he did well and withholding something important to him when he didn’t. This approach didn’t stick and his schoolwork still suffered. Adam explained that the best incentive for him is when he believes there’s no other way; that he doesn’t have a choice and there’s no negotiation. Now, it might not come easily – setting that incentive for ourselves; and we may struggle to find the motivation for a while. Nevertheless, having goals and punishments set for us by someone else, whether that’s our parents or our boss, isn’t going to take most of the time.
Why is that? Well each individual needs to be able to decide on the best option for them; and be allowed to find the motivation that will drive them forward to achieve it. The reward and punishment approach, such as “We’ll buy you a new iPhone if you pass your exams and we’ll take your phone off you if you don’t”, isn’t going to work if the goals set for them are based on someone else’s rationale rather than their own. You won’t get the buy-in.
So, if currently you set goals for people in the hope it will spur them into action, think again. Find out what’s important to them about their work and agree those objectives together. It’s a win-win approach and you just might be impressed with the results.