Extrinsic Mot. & System Change LO6111

Mon, 18 Mar 1996 11:51:39 -0500

No matter what the forum, this matter of extrinsic motivation (doing
something in expectation of rewards) and intrinsic motivation (doing a
task for the love of the task) seems to attract attention.

An important dimension of extrinsic motivation has to do with its effect
upon change efforts.

Extrinsic motivation reinforces the status quo. This is true in politics,
education or corporations. Anyone seriously interested in making changes
in a system would do well to consider how effectively extrinsic motivation
tips the scales in favor of WHAT IS and against WHAT COULD BE.

Political candidates who want to change the political system cannot get
into office without becoming a part of that system. Hence the graffitti,
"No matter who you vote for, the government gets in." Candidates want to
change the system of political contributions but they can't even get into
office without taking huge contributions.

Those with the best grades learn how to avoid mistakes. I believe it was
the head of GM's design group who once said that the biggest challenge he
faced with his new hires was getting them to make mistakes. If you are
taking a test in school, you'll ruin your grade by getting more than about
3% to 12% of the answers wrong. Yet when developing new concepts, one
hundred wrong answers followed by one spectacular right answer can mean
the creation of a whole new market.

What rewards for learning to walk are more powerful than learning to walk?
What rewards for creating a new market, developing a new idea, creating
new revenue by tapping a new market can compare with creating a new
market, developing a new idea, creating new revenue by tapping a new
market? The more success we have, the more mastery we have over our own
fate. What inducements could distract us from that path?

Ron Davison (RonDavison@aol.com), video producer of "A Change in Thinking:
Systems Thinking, Learning & Intellectual Capital."

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>