Force and Incentive

You have no right to ask anything of anyone unless you have first given them a great motive to do it.

I wish I came up with this, but I stole it from Napoleon Hill. Who knows? Maybe he stole it from someone else. That’s how these ideas make it to us.

Regardless of where this phrase came from, I believe it is true. Motives are essential.

Think about it. You cannot make anyone do something. You can only make them want to do it.

There are two ways to make this happen, force and incentive.

Force emphasizes what will happen if something is not done. Incentive emphasizes what will happen if something is done.

Force is fear based. Incentive is vision based.

Force leverages negative consequences. Incentive leverages positive consequences.

Force says if you smoke you will get cancer. Incentive says if you stop smoking you will be healthier.

Force says if you don’t get the project done you will be fired. Incentive says if you get the project done well and with excellence, you will get a bonus.

The best motives have a combination of force and incentive. There must be a consequence for inaction (failure to try) and a payoff for performing (completion beyond expectations).

This is true in life. Run from the beast or be trampled. Kill the beast and have food.

The problem comes when force and incentive are lopsided.

You can’t use only force. No one will move with the force is gone. Similarly, you can’t use only incentive. No one will move when the incentive is gone.