It’s Summer! To avoid the Summer Doldrums we need to engage our people

Hello.  I am re-reading a great book (and one that I recommend) by Dan Ariely (James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University),  Predictably Irrational.

predictably irrationalThe book is about decision making (behavior and economics).  Ariely has some very powerful examples on Price Anchoring and Price Relativity that I will share on our August call.  Ariely also has a free course which a CPA/CFO friend of mine has taken and said it is very good.

Finally, Ariely’s work led me to an interesting (TEDTalk) he did titled “What Makes Us Feel Good About our Work”.

Ariely has, not surprisingly, some very relevant findings about what makes us more productive and happier at work which is the reason for my post.  I believe his themes below are very consistent with our ongoing dialogue about how to engage our team members at more productive and higher levels.

  1. Seeing the fruits of our labor may make us more productive: Are we making progress on the tax return?  Cash flow statement?  Are we making our clients smile?  Feel secure?
  2. The less appreciated we feel our work is, the more money we want to do it: Saying Thank You means a lot.
  3. The harder a project is, the prouder we feel of it: We are proud of tax season because it’s painful!
  4. Knowing that our work helps others may increase our unconscious motivation: We provide peace of mind, security and hope to our clients.
  5. The promise of helping others makes us more likely to follow rules: Audits are good for investors or banks.  A tax projection or budget can make a big difference to a client.
  6. Positive reinforcement about our abilities may increase performance: Consistent and regular Coaching is impactful.  Annual Performance Review are “dying”.  More on this later.
  7. Images that trigger positive emotions may actually help us focus: Do you provide your team members with an inspiriting work environment and leading edge technology?

Finally, Ariely closed with an equation (of course, as a CPA I was happy to see an equation!)

Motivation = Payment+Meaning+Creation+Challenging+Ownership+Identity+Pride

In summary, it is Summer and to avoid the Summer Doldrums we need to engage our people!

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