Recognize the Buttons

If you want to accomplish your business goals, you need to be able to inspire all sorts of people to work harder and smarter than they would otherwise. To do that, you need to figure out what motivates them.

Granted, no one is entirely motivated by one single thing. That said, if you can figure out what motivates the people who are most important to your success, you can do a better job of leading them.

Think about those people. What is the primary motivator for each one? It is likely to be one of the following:

  • money
  • status
  • popularity
  • autonomy

Motivating a money-oriented person is easy if money is available. Motivating a status-conscious person is easy too — if you have a big enough organization to create a sense of status. It’s hard to motivate someone who seeks popularity. And it is generally not something you want people to be focused on. Autonomy is a good motivator. But it has obvious drawbacks.

As I said, every person is a gallimaufry of motivations. You’ll have to add a pinch of this and a cup of that to come up with the right recipe for each individual. The important thing for the moment is to recognize that people are unique and to treat them that way.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]