Learning: Motivation Quadrant – Positive, Negative, Immediate & Future

It’s nice to think that systems can do everything. But what about people? People respond to motivation and sometimes that means rewards and punishments.

Here I want to talk about timeliness.

Make sure to follow my blog for a future post where I’ll expand your concept of what a reward can be.

Here’s a neat motivation quadrant to help explain the concept:

Motivation Quadrant. Along one axis we have positive and negative rewards and punishments. Along the other axis we have the timeliness from immediate to future.
Motivation Quadrant: Positive or Negative Reward. Immediate or Future Impact.

Start by having a think about what motivates you and which quadrant those rewards or punishments would fit in.

  • Is it positive and immediate like a colleague congratulating you on a well run meeting?
  • Is it positive and future like an end of year bonus?
  • Is it negative and immediate like falling over and hurting yourself?
  • And why is smoking so hard to give up when it’s negative future consequences are so severe?

The reality is that it’s a mix of modes that help motivate people. But most people prefer positive reinforcement and when you give immediate reinforcement it triggers all those endorphins that make you feel good, so it’s often the most effective.

So have a think about how you can use motivation better in your work and let me know how it goes in the comments.

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