We’ve all attended those motivational seminars where for a short period afterwards we are super motivated but quickly return to neutral within just a week or two and begin doing the same old things the same old way. An article I read recently referred to motivation created from a dose of such motivational programming as “Motivational Hyper-Drive.” A type of motivation that is briefly fueled by an inner drive, but wanes quickly if other ways are not found to sustain the motivation. The article states, “Seminars are a good starting point, but not a one-shot cure-all.”
In finding ways to sustain motivation, the article advocates that the difference between dedication and discipline must be understood first. Dedication is defined as doing what you like to do and doing it well. Discipline, on the other hand, is defined as doing what you don’t like to do and doing it well. The article suggests that once positive results are experienced, discipline transforms into dedication and an inner drive kicks in to maintain those positive results.
I’ve experienced this transformation first hand with running, but didn’t really realize how much so until I had a stress fracture in my knee and was sidelined for 9 weeks (Doctor’s orders) from any type of exercise involving my knee (i.e., no running, no jogging, no treadmill, no elliptical, and even no long distance walking). I’ve been running fairly consistently for years, without injury. When my stress fracture was diagnosed via MRI, and I was told that rest was the only prescription, I thought, well… I guess I have an excuse for not exercising and should enjoy the time off, sleep a little later in the mornings, and not feel guilty about it. That feeling lasted less than a week, before I began to dread what it would take to get back into shape after 9 weeks of not running, started feeling generally unfit and unhealthy, lacked energy, and was irritable and moody and really just missed the activity.
I started trying to come up with ways to exercise that didn’t involve my knee but that also had some cardio benefits. I tried free weights, using light weights with high reps, universal machines, nautilus equipment, where I would work out rapidly, going from one machine to another, but nothing seemed to give me the same feeling from a workout that I experienced from running. About 3 weeks in (you knew it was coming), I found myself on a treadmill just to see if I could maybe jog very slowly. Well, I must confess, what started off as a slow jog progressed to a slow run and from a slow run to a respectable pace, only to end up in a fair amount of pain after running just a couple of miles. I followed doctor’s orders for another 3 weeks or so, and then, yes, it was back on the treadmill again. Trying to be a good patient, however, I limited my running to the treadmill for several more weeks, which I thought was a bit of a compromise for obeying doctor’s orders not to run on asphalt or pavement for at least 6 months. As you might have guessed, I didn’t make it quite that long before I was once again running outdoors, although now I do try to alternate between the treadmill and outdoors.
At some point in my exercise life, what started as discipline clearly transformed into dedication, and even though running still involves an element of discipline and hard work , the positive results experienced (i.e., controlling weight, improving mood, boosting energy, better sleep, along with the benefits of combating other health conditions – heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) provide the motivation to sustain the inner drive to not only maintain the results achieved over the years, but have also transformed something that started out as more work than fun into something I now really enjoy.
When it comes to motivating individuals within an organization, implementing an incentive program can be that vehicle, like exercise, through which positive results can be achieved and transform your workforce from one of disciplined behavior to one of dedication.
As program participants are awarded points for achieving program objectives established within the program’s award rules (which may include initiatives for safety, sales, years-of-service, attendance, wellness, or any combination thereof), the positive feelings derived from being frequently recognized, and the sense of accomplishment derived from the accumulation of points awarded for achieving program objectives, provides the motivation to sustain that inner drive to not only maintain the results achieved, but to continue to strive toward meeting objectives in order to earn even more award points. As more points are accumulated, and participants experience the satisfaction of redeeming their point currency for a merchandise or travel reward item of their choosing, then what started as something that felt like something you had do as part of your job (discipline), almost magically transforms into something more fun and enjoyable, creating that inner drive that will continue to be sustained as long as positive results are experienced (dedication).
Considering an incentive and/recognition program? Let QIC help design a customized program for your organization that will yield positive results and transform your targeted participant group from behaviors of discipline to behaviors of dedication.