Motivating a Virtual Team

People do things for 2 key reasons – to avoid pain or receive pleasure. Or at least that is what we used to think. However many books (such as Help! I’m a Manger by Arnold Mol or Drive by Daniel H. Pink) have been written on the subject, and after numerous behavioral studies across many years, it turns out those reason may not really be motivation.

If a donkey is standing in a field and I want it to move to the other side of the field, I can get it to do so by hitting it on the rump with a stick, or dangling a carrot in front of it – the carrot or stick approach. However, that is different than if the donkey decides to go to the other side of the field because it wants to. The former is not really motivation, it is movement. It is getting the donkey to move from one point to the other. The latter is truly motivation.

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