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One easy way to increase motivation 500 percent


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A 500 percent increase in motivation might be easier than you think. According to a famous experiment in which researchers ran a lottery with an interesting twist, you can boost motivation at least 500 percent with one easy process.

Here’s the experiment. Half of the participants were randomly assigned a lottery number, and the other half were given a blank piece of paper and asked to write down any number they choose as their lottery number. Each lottery number had an equal chance of being drawn as the winner.

Just prior to drawing the winning number, the researchers offered to buy back the lottery tickets. Here is what they found: Regardless of the location or demographic in which the experiment took place, they always found that they had to pay at least five times more money to those who wrote their own lottery number than to those who were given a lottery number. In other words, those who wrote their number were at least 500 percent more committed to their number than those who were given a number by someone else.

Statistically, the number they wrote had no more likelihood of being the lottery number chosen than a number on a ticket given to them; but they valued the ticket with the number they wrote five times more than a lottery ticket with a number given to them!

This study demonstrates an important principle for leading, managing and selling: When we choose for ourselves, we are 500 percent more committed to the outcome.

Former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano led the company's turnaround, which included a change effort to move IBM toward a values-based management system. During a three-day online interaction, Palmisano empowered more than 50,000 employees to rewrite IBM’s century-old values. The change effort was enormously successful.

The best for-profit and nonprofit organizations I’ve worked with had leaders who involved the whole team in the development of their vision, mission, strategic plan and values. The leadership teams for both organizations drafted the mission, vision and strategic plan then worked with all employees to revise and refine them. Each team/department defined all of their actions to accomplish their major goals. Neither of these high-performing leadership teams drafted the values, though; like Sam Palmisano at IBM, they worked together as a whole organization to define their organizational values.

This piece of high-performance psychology is pretty simple, When people make their own decisions, they are more motivated and committed to everything connected with the decision.

Because you are reading this, you’re probably in business. And on a personal level you may have a significant other, and some of you have children. How do you interpret this research finding? How can you apply this finding? How might you increase motivation in the important people in your life?

Notice that I am asking you questions so that you can come up with your own answers rather than me providing you answers. Thought I’d practice this 500 percent motivation principle.

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TC North

Dr. TC North is co-author of the Amazon bestseller Fearless Leaders. For 30 years, he has been a high-performance executive coach and speaker who accelerates individuals and organizations in becoming high-performers. If you’d like to master fear, exude magnetic presence or become more mindful, please reach out: email, website or 303-665-8920.

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