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"Everyone has a price"...

16 October 2016

...really, are you sure?

It may be coincidence, or maybe a result of planning cycles beginning their annual re-boot; but we’ve noticed that a number of clients are thoughtfully scratching their chins and debating bonus, incentive, reward or commission schemes (again!) And it causes real angst and debate.

Much of the arm wrestling often appears to hinge upon how to link achievement to reward:

  • Should it be input or output focused?
  • Should it be absolutes or percentage gains?
  • Should it be about skills improvement (and who’s competent enough to assess this)??
  • How high should it be, how wide should it go and how the heck do we measure it anyway?
  • It is cash, is it trophies, is it experiences the MD thinks everyone else should enjoy because they do?
  • Does anyone care anyway, or does everyone take the rewards foregranted?
  • Should we scrap them?
  • Aaaaahhhhh, what should we do?


But does everyone really have a price…and where does intrinsic motivation fit into this?

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that comes from inside a person, rather than from any external rewards such as money or trophies. The motivation comes from the pleasure that person gets from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing or even working on a task.

An intrinsically motivated person will work on resolving a sticky client problem or untangling a bonkers process just because it is enjoyable. They will work on a solution to a problem because the challenge of finding a solution provides a sense of pleasure and satisfaction.

In neither case does the person work on the task because there is some reward involved (We’re excluding Jaffa Cakes from this, as they are integral to any prolonged brain work!)

Intrinsic motivation doesn’t mean, however, that a person will not seek rewards. It just means that such external rewards are not enough to keep a person motivated…to keep them engaged and committed for the long run…no matter how may vouchers are waved under their nose, or trips to the races promised…

…And then there’s the question about what happens when people don’t even trust how the decisions about achievement and access to rewards get made. How is a reward a reward, if half of your business thinks it’s rigged, or flaky, or patronising and embarrassing?

And as final food for thought, research has demonstrated that over time too much extrinsic motivation can kill off the intrinsic, and then the trouble can really begin and the CVs get updated.


Buy your way to motivation at your peril; as we believe not everyone does have a price. 


Mimi Parent

True2 developed a good manager into an exceptional people person with all round communication skills.


It is really hard to describe what Lynne does. Lynne would say she just asks questions - I would say she performs magic.

Director of Campus Services, Royal Holloway University

Why has it been successful? - Lynne is undoubtedly a skilled trainer who knows her profession, but there are many others who do as well - what makes her different is her ability to rapidly build relationships, her willingness to think outside of the box and the fact she is also a very insightful individual who challenges the status quo and will not let those that she is working with 'off the hook'. In my view the success of any training and leadership development is not the material, this is a given, it is the individual that delivers it, and this is the success story.

Jonathan Coles. HR Director, Philips

Lynne's ability to tailor learning to both the business objectives and the audience has ensured that our people leave with new frameworks, skills and a wider breadth of thinking; all of which can be applied immediately and have instant impact on our business.

Rob Turner, Managing Director, Kinetic Solutions

I thought the session was really engaging - loved that it wasn't death-by-PowerPoint, and really enjoyed the interactive aspects. Really interesting topics covered that made me think so differently about the way I converse with customers; including aspects that I wasn't expecting from the session, but that actually made me think much more.

Fuji Film Service and Support Team Member