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Motivation Series: Extrinsic Motivation #3

The third installment of the Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) LLC motivation series highlights Extrinsic motivation. Before delving into the mechanics of Extrinsic motivation, it is essential to underscore the discourse in the realm of research. Behavioral scientists present a two-thong approach to learned behavior. The approach is based on what we learn on the job vs. academics, algorithmic and heuristic. According to David Pink, author of Drive, "An algorithmic task is one in which you follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. A heuristic task is an opposite. Because no algorithm exists for it, you have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution." The difference between algorithmic and heuristic lies in mundane or repetitive work versus creativity with no constraints. Why is this understanding necessary for the entrepreneur? Let's consider how we move from the industrial revolution from the 20th century to the beginning of the Millenium.

In the late 20th century, there was an explosion in technology, creating a movement of global interdependence. In reality, businesses had two options at the roll of the 21st century: to scramble or be left behind. Whether this was due to the global demand for technology, the increase in social media, the demand for microwavable results, or a well-crafted plan to reunite the globe, technology changed the game for all businesses, including entrepreneurs. The proliferation of technology created a shift in how business is conducted where the more mundane jobs were replaced by computers or were shipped offshore to the highest bidder. In this case, where human labor wages are at the lowest or robots can process the same mundane task. While routine work can be outsourced, creative, empathic, and artistic work will likely take longer to be outsourced. Now that we have a better understanding of human capital and its role in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries let's dive into Extrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation emphasizes an external gain that is frequently defined as financial such as a bonus, or tangible such as a new company car or an all-expense-paid trip. In the field of Organizational behavior, extrinsic motivation is critical in determining the actions and behavior of a company’s employees. It also leads to a better understanding of the business organization's culture (organization's personality). While some scholars purport that all employees are extrinsically motivated by the compensation they receive for their work, CPR LLC contends that the driving factor for employees' motivation varies from employee to employee. A salary is not necessarily an extrinsic factor since a contract is signed before employment. An alternate perspective is that the salary is driven by the intrinsic value of assisting a specific community or helping one's family. So, there is more to extrinsic motivation than just black and white.

Examples of extrinsic motivation can be both tangible and intangible such as:

  • Verbal praise, such as the leader announcing that an employee did an excellent job in a meeting. This is a simple and often effective means of extrinsic motivation.

  • Handwritten note from the supervisor. A note or letter of thanks is another form of extrinsic motivation. It can then be used in job interviews or during the evaluation period.

  • Financial gains include bonuses, promotions, promotions, or luxury items. In the 21st century, it's anything that can be traded for currency.

  • Public Recognition is one of the most powerful and sought forms of extrinsic motivation by employees. The potential of receiving professional accolades can inspire individuals to challenge themselves and achieve more. Conversely, consider withholding public recognition as a form of punishment. This reversal can create a toxic environment.

  • Peer Recognition is an effective stimulus, mainly in a team-driven environment.

  • Mutual Respect involves creating a culture where all employees are respected regardless of the role and understanding that every role is vital to the organization's success.

  • Conflict Avoidance occurs when the professional performs a specific task or exhibits certain behaviors to avoid the potential for conflict. Some professionals are driven by fear of negative feedback from their colleagues or supervisor. In addition, others may find the motivation to complete tasks on time to backlogs while streamlining workflow.

Bottomline extrinsic motivation refers to a system of short-term incentives for behavior- modification. Extrinsic motivation is typically applied to inspire worthwhile behavior, not negative behavior. As a leader, this paves the way to staying on track and producing optimum results. While extrinsic motivation is not the only means to motivate an employee, it can motivate the person to perform and execute effectively. Your goal is to determine whether your employee is motivated via extrinsic elements. As a leader, be mindful of miscalculating your employees' motivational elements. This can be a cost to your bottom line. Tomorrow we will explore the alternative to extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation.

Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) LLC continues to support small businesses. For your free 30min virtual assessment, please register or email us at

Warm Regards,


Managing Partner

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I have been following your post on Instagram. As a new entrepreneur the info on the blog is very helpful. Thank you for making my transition as a leader easier. I will certainly recommend this blog.



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