Ply Them With Money

“Maybe, I will have to give them some more training. That might perk them up,” Victoria replied. “The J-curve says that productivity on anything new will decline before it gets better, but more training might be the ticket.”

“And what else?” I prodded. Victoria was getting push back as her team took on more responsibilities.

“I guess I could talk to them, as a group, let them know how much I was counting on them,” she added.

“Those are both things that you could do, probably won’t hurt, but probably won’t have the impact you are interested in,” I explained. Victoria’s face twitched. She was looking for more approval than I was giving.

“Both things you suggest,” I continued, “occur before you get the behavior you want. Most managers go there. It’s not that it’s bad, just not very powerful. The power is not in what you set up before the behavior, but what you set up after the behavior. Consequences. And the most powerful consequence is a positive consequence.”

“You mean like a bonus?” Victoria guessed.

“A bonus is a reward, not a consequence. An immediate positive consequence is more powerful than a reward. Rewards are always delayed, can get taken away, the qualifications may change. Immediate reinforcement is more powerful than an uncertain reward.”

“I don’t know. If I can’t ply them with money, what can I do?” Victoria cringed.

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