Paul Hebert is talking about incentive and reward. He is showing a scientific study that shows when you pay rewards, it has little or no impact on performance, but if you give first then ask for performance, the change is significant. It’s the law of reciprocity. If you ask people to commit to change before it happens, rather than when it happens, people follow through because they were rewarded on a promise and made a commitment. It’s an interesting theory.

Social proof is a big motivator. 95% of the people look to see what the 5% of people think is right and act accordingly. You need to plug-in to who the 5% are in your organisation. Communicate change by “everyone” statements, and get the 5% to act first.

Paul showed the results of an experiment where people were asked to apply punishments to the point where people were in pain. When the instruction was given as an order by a Dr figure, 66% of people followed the order, even though they could hear the screaming. It’s an extreme example, but it does show the power of authority figures. If you get authority behind requests, it will bring you a level of compliance, but you have to balance this with the fact that when people are following the orders of an authority figure, they feel no responsibility for the outcome. Responsibility only comes with personal authority.

When you make a request, work people storys in to the request. When a request is personal, it has a much bigger impact. Talk about how change will make things better for everyone, as well as adding a personal message. install change over time in small increments.

Use evidence to support change, but remember that people only have faith in evidence, data etc that supports their current beliefs. Look for multiple examples to support personal beliefs. People need to see value in change, and that is going to be personal.

It helps if you can offer a few options in change. Let your people have some control over course of action, and they are more likely to take responsibility for both the actions and the outcome.

when people have control, you have influence, and when you influence the 5%. You win.

I think Paul Hebert is probably the best speaker I’ve seen anywhere on incentives and motivation, because he balances hard business thinking with a bit of science and an understanding of what people really want. You should check him out.