For businesses in and around Exeter, Newcastle and indeed elsewhere motivating your people is an essential skill for great leaders. The Key question being how do I get my team to perform at a superb level for a sustained period? Financial inducements have always been seen as essential inducement but are they really?

The Candle Problem undertaken by Carl Dunker in 1945, where a candle and tacks were placed in a box with some matches on a table and those taking part were asked “how do you attach the candle to the wall, light it and prevent the drips from falling on the table”. It was reused by Sam Glaxberg who proved that the pressure induced by financial incentives made teams less efficient by 31/2 minutes. So money can work as an incentive for mechanical and automated tasks but not for tasks requiring creative and cognitive skill here the pressure builds with the size of the reward and the degree of complexity related proportionally to the paucity of the performance. So money is not the answer. Extrinsic rewards were very much part of the management of workers last century. Today’s team members prefer far more intrinsic rewards once they have met their extrinsic needs.

So what other inducements has a leader got to enhance his team’s performance?

Today’s employees unlike their predecessors like a degree of autonomy. They like to know where they fit within an organisation and where the organisation is going. They like to understand and fit the culture and the values of the organisation as they consider choice to be an essential part of modern life. But they like to feel they have some say and some control of what they do.

They like to feel that they are developing personally in their chosen occupation or role. There is a desire to be seen and recognised as an expert. So they need to see that they are progressing and expanding their knowledge and experience. They also need to recognise that there are opportunities to do this in the future.

The idea that money is king is balanced by a sense of purpose and this is the dichotomy the world is wrestling with now. How do you as an individual or unit survive comfortably and yet maintain a purpose and a contribution to the wider good in a very capitalist and media driven selling environment.

People need cash enough to survive in their chosen environment at their chosen status but they need much more from their employment if they are to be motivated within their employment they need purpose and control in their lives and that is part of modern freedom delivered when humans no longer need to be in a herd continuously to survive.

Sampson Hall are running a series of events in the South West in Exeter and the North East in Newcastle which cover topics such as this. Further information is available at

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