PAYOFF:  The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations

Book review:

PAYOFF:  The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations

By Dan Ariely

My Goal:  To help Restoration contractors find, keep, and develop great technicians.

It’s been a couple years since I started on my journey to help my clients find good technicians by reading books that could help with their problem.  I wanted to come up with a way to create an atmosphere that new technicians wouldn’t want to leave, all the while turning them into great technicians.  I’ve written two book reviews up to this point.  The first was on the book “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg.  This book explained why we develop habits, which could then be used by my clients to develop good habits in their techs.  The second book was “Grit,” by Angela Duckworth.  Angela has proven that it’s not the best looking, smartest, richest people that become successful, it’s those with Grit.  By using her Grit Test my clients should be able to weed out bad techs before they even hire them.

Today I’m writing about another book called “Payoff,” by Dan Ariely.  This book tackles the ever elusive subject of our motivation.  What motivates people?  How can an owner motivate his technicians to greater things?  And lastly, how come we have more of an affinity for that plain IKEA couch we put together than that beautiful antique sofa in the living room that we bought for a fortune?

First of all, let’s look at how “not” to motivate people.  Dan Ariely brings up the example of the famous scene in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross where the incomparable Alec Baldwin is “motivating” his sales crew by offering a car to the top salesperson, a set of steak knives to second place, and a pink slip to third place.  I don’t think its news to anyone in this day and age that motivating by fear is not the way to go.  People don’t work better under the threat of being fired.  However, the more interesting part of this equation is that people also don’t perform the best when given motivation through bonuses or raises.  Owners, do I have your attention now?

To keep this book review from going on past one page I’ll attempt to summarize what motivates people in one word.  That word is Meaning!  We are all looking for meaning in our life.  Meaning is why we love that IKEA couch that we put together.  It’s because we put it together ourselves.  It’s that sense of accomplishment and pride that gives that couch “meaning” to us.

Now, please don’t go back to your companies and try to discuss the meaning of work and life with your technicians.  If any of this peaks your interest you should definitely read the book.  I’ll leave you with a line from Dan Ariely from the book’s last chapter where he attempts to summarize his thoughts.  “But when it comes to human motivation, we can have perpetual energy as long as we invest in a sense of connection, meaning, ownership, and long-term thinking.  And if we correctly use these forces, the return on investment in human motivation will be immense.”

My Goal:  To help Restoration contractors find, keep, and develop great technicians. If I’m not adding value to your company then I don’t deserve to be your supplier!

Frank Fortini


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.