All posts tagged Motivation

Employee Incentive Plans

Published June 14, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair


For organizational leaders, superior quality service and exceptional products are the mechanisms of cooperation. Many employers express their appreciation and gratitude and recognize the contribution of their employees by rewarding them for their outstanding achievements. Reward systems are common. In fact, they have been used throughout history by merchants for example, as a device to domesticate and train animals to work for them. It is natural that organizational managers would incorporate fundamental incentive plans then to influence personnel behavior as well. Kohn (1999) proposed that rewards increase the probability of individuals achieving higher performances levels. In other words, compensation devices are used to inspire people to engage in activities with more enthusiasm.  In addition, they can change the attitude of an individual to voluntarily become more productive. On the other hand, there are some leaders who are under the impression that people can pay a substantial price for rewarding the success of their employees (Kohn, 1999). This research takes a look at the significance of incentive plans that employers design for their organizations. It is an evaluation of two different types of reward systems: (1) direct financial payment derived from a base salary, commissions, and bonuses; and (2) indirect financial benefits that include training programs, insurance coverage, and leave for holidays, vacation, sick leave, and personal time off. A closer analysis will reveal: (a) whether rewards change an individual’s behavior, (b) the people they effect, (c) how long reward systems remain effective, and (d) just what exactly are incentive plans effective at? In addition, this study examines some of the reasons compensation plan systems can fail. The conclusions derived from the evidence collected, suggests that to achieve the most successful outcomes, employers implement incentive plans that emphasize high level performances, inspire long and short term methods of motivation, and serve as a means to review and analyze operational outcomes.

business man with gifts falling down

Reward Systems

Their Function

Leaders set goals to increase an organization’s profits, improve production outcomes, provide outstanding quality service and expand their business. Employers work together with Human Resource (HR) units to attract top quality personnel. They establish reward systems to encourage higher levels of performance and inspire long-term employee loyalty. They do this by defining organizational standards and identify individuals eligible for receiving them. Arahood’s (1998) research outlined four basic kinds of compensation plans: (a) a base salary that assures income during a planned period, (b) a bonus plan with no base salary, usually as a standard method for rewarding sales staff like manufacturing representatives and distributors, (c) a combination of salary and bonus where a portion of employees’ income is at risk in the short term and contingent on actual performances rather than outcomes, and (d) a combination of salary and incentives that include additional long term income opportunities when specific goals are achieved (Arahood, 1998). These are common plans organizations include in their incentive programs to motivate both financial and operational performances from staff members. Once organizational leaders and HR units identify the company’s vision and establish specific goals, next they can design a plan that defines the skills and competency levels they require from the professionals they hire to achieve their desired outcomes. This strategy helps developers fabricate compensation plans that will serve to attract the actors best qualified to perform those skills consistently and effectively.


Direct Financial Payment Plans

The Pros

To reward employees, HR units and organizational managers resort to a variety of incentive programs and award systems to compensate employees for their outstanding achievements. One method of doing this is by way of direct financial payment. This method includes employee wages, commissions, bonuses, and other means of compensation like travel rewards, gift certificates, cash prizes, leased cars, and other similar perks. Bergen (2004) suggested that even with the trend for organizations to go lean, employers are still finding innovative ways to reward their employees through cost effective methods (Bergen, 2008). For example, in addition to salary increases based on performance achievements, leaders may resort to providing other rewards like merchandise or discounts for merchandise, gift certificates, and cash bonuses to show employees their appreciation and gratitude for excellent levels of accomplishment and their part in helping the organization reach desired outcomes. These kinds of programs make employees feel valued and give them a sense of pride for their efforts and organizational successes.

The Cons

Employers that rely on reward systems risk altering the behavior of their staff, create competitive environments, and can stifle intrinsic motivation. Kohn (1994) stated that using a reward system can send the wrong message to employees. His studies indicate that incentives are a way to redefine relationships and describe them as elementary economic exchanges that can dehumanize the recipient. It is generally accepted that seldom does it result in permanent behavior. In fact, Kohn’s research implies that reward systems can evolve into a way of punishing people (Kohn, 1999). For example, when one member of a team is rewarded for achieving the highest goals, other members who may have worked just as hard may feel they are being penalized for not achieving the same results. Additionally, it can discourage employees from taking risks and trying out new methods. In short, the study suggests that praise for recognition is a common method that is utilized to control outcomes which can eventually lead to the creation of a dysfunctional working environment. If compensation plans and award systems are not carefully constructed to yield the highest results from employees, they can prove to be disastrous.


Indirect Payment Plans

The Pros

Employers and HR managers also look towards other directions that encourage long and short term motivation from their staff by designing indirect payment and bonus plans. In this arena, they create plans that include other forms of incentives and special employee recognition events like: (a) employer paid health, worker’s compensation, and unemployment insurance, (b) employer paid holidays, vacation, sick, maternity leave and other days for personal time off, (c) stock options, (d) child care, (e) country club memberships, and (f) special luncheons, dinners, parties, and other similar types of events to acknowledge valued staff member performances. Kohn (1999) defined the efforts of employee hard work into two significant categories: failure or success (Kohn, 1999). These are what most leaders use as a starting point to determine employee indirect compensation plans. Next, they design programs that train employees efficiently so they can perform their tasks with confidence and enthusiasm. Then, leaders can determine who the key employees are and fabricate incentive plans that will motivate higher outcome levels.

The Cons

Employers also discover that there are many reasons why reward systems fail and if they are not designed effectively and monitored. For one thing, they can damage relationships and inhibit the motivation process. Marcum’s (1994) research purported that reward systems are a sure way for employees to lose interest and commitment to the original task because they are solely focused on the reward rather than organizational goals (Marcum, 1994). In fact, these methods tend to have a counterproductive effect on motivating people for the right reasons. Employees can become so focused on the end prize, they tend to ignore reason, cut corners, and use whatever methods as a means to their end, creating a wake of damage in their attempt to achieve their idea of the gold medal. When this occurs, HR units and leaders must find ways to authentically motivate their staff by reevaluating their methods and creating conditions that foster collaboration, offering more choices for individuals to accomplish their tasks. Reward systems that set the stage for a highly competitive culture, where the sole motivation is based on achieving the highest levels of success based on obtaining more compensation and praise, tend to cultivate unhealthy behavior, especially from individuals with substantial egos driven by an extreme need for attention and recognition. These types of individuals usually resort to any method to achieve their outcomes.  This is one reason it is imperative that employers determine whether reward systems make sense to the basic success of organizational goals because for some individuals, incentives merely serve as motivation to boast on how well they are doing based on the amount of goodies they receive.



Ultimately, employers and HR managers want the best of both worlds. They want to achieve organizational goals, increase their profitability, and motivate high level performances from their employees while retaining their loyalty and long term commitment. Employers are looking to achieve these goals by devising an effective compensation program that includes a base salary as well as employee benefits. Montemayor (1995) asserted that employers should use extrinsic rewards effectively to sustain and motivate employees because it represents an exchange of energy based on economic value. In short, his experiments deduced that effective pay-for-performance incentives in the workplace produce positive results and have a great impact on productivity (Montemayor, 1995). In conclusion, incentive plans serve to reward employees for outstanding achievements in performing their duties and assigned tasks. They are used as a means to reward above average outcomes and to recognize personnel for their hard work. The most common perquisites can include bonuses like first class airfare, electronic devices, supplemental retirement plans, and long term employment contracts. Even though it may discourage risk-taking, employers implement effective incentive plans, to emphasize their financial goals, motivate high performance levels, and encourage enthusiasm from their staff to help them achieve operational outcomes.



Arahood, D. (1998). How to design and install management incentive compensation plans. Wheaton, IL, USA: Incentive Compensation Publications.

Bergen, K. (2008, November 28). Companies find incentive to offer more rewards: After three down years, the employee-incentive industry is buoyed by an increase in trip rewards and more spending on merchandise. Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL, USA: Tribune Publishing Company. Retrieved May 29, 2013, from

Kohn, A. (1999). Punished by rewards. New York, NY, USA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Marcum, J. (1994, Spring). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive. National Productivity Review. New York, NY, USA: Wiley Periodicals. Retrieved May 29, 2013, from

Montemayor, E. (1995, Winter). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s, praise, and other bribes. Personnel Psychology. Durham, England, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing. Retrieved May 29, 2013, from

Finding People Who Are Passionate About What They Do

Published May 27, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair


Leaders encounter a variety of challenges when it comes to hiring new employees. In addition, during times of downsizing, employers look to existing staff members to step in to pick up the extra work load. This creates an overworked crew who tend to lose motivation which often results in lower quality performances and lower productivity, not to mention does nothing to boost personnel morale (Arthur, 2012). But what does it take for employers to find people that are passionate and will be committed to their companies?

At many organizations, new recruits engage in grueling training techniques provided by the educational system established at the firm. Employees in some companies for example, describe unconventional recruiting methods that resemble those offered in military institutions with boot camp like conditions. In these kinds of arenas recruits are being inundated with training techniques and massive amounts of information. In addition, they are expected to fully commit to every aspect of the organization. Employers implement these methods to arouse passion and motivation in new hires. It also weeds out those who cannot keep up with the curriculum.


Organizations, in the meantime, do what they can to create more appealing cultures.  For example, companies whose climate includes a leniency on dress code and scheduling, produce a welcoming atmosphere where employees are a bit more relaxed about their appearance. Another alluring aspect is the flexibility to schedule their own work hours. In addition, organizations that offer a platform for socializing is highly favorable among staffers. As a result many have established hospitable areas, events, and activities for colleagues to convene. Some include a fully equipped kitchen to encourage socializing. Other organizations cultivate a climate that reflects an ethic of “work hard, play hard,” which can be very appealing to a more youthful age demographic.

Working in an environment with people who are passionate about their organization is a highly motivating factor that attracts certain kinds of individuals as well as charismatic leaders who lead by action. In other words, managers that walk their talk and are not afraid to roll their sleeves up to work right along with staff members inspire higher performances from staff members. An organization that is focused on supporting staff members future and career growth, provides fair compensation, encourages open communication, and offers employee benefits are all appealing employer components that provide value to the people that serve to help these leaders achieve organizational goals.

Organizations that employ a huge staff, look to attract the best recruits possible because it is essential to their success. The recruiting methods successful companies employ seek top notch candidates with very similar techniques implemented in the most successful MLM organizations, like World Ventures. Leaders that engage in effective strategies can tap into an individual’s passions to motivate and inspire actions that will drive their success. Employers are required to do their homework first and foremost in seeking new candidates. This means building a reputation and becoming an employer that people want to work for. In addition the most effective leaders understand that the significant components they seek in employees are value, loyalty, and commitment. Knowing this, they build their recruiting strategies geared to achieve finding people who can meet those criteria. Executives and HR Units must keep their recruitment strategies current and employ the best techniques to attract top level performers (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2001). These are a few tactics organizations use to find and retain top level personnel that are passionate about their work.


Arthur, D. (2012). Recruiting, interviewing, selecting & orienting new employees. New York, NY: AMACOM.

  1. Hayes, D., & Ninemeier, J. (2001). 50 one-minute tips for recruiting employees. Seattle, WA, USA: Crisp Publications, Inc.

A Magical Enterprise: The Rise and Fall

Published December 25, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair


Many of us have different perspectives about the meaning of success and the factors involved that contribute or encumber achieving our goals. For example, even though individuals may have similar cultural and religious beliefs they can still express a multitude of definitions that equate success. In addition, people working together in groups may delineate success in a way that differs from when they work alone. American author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield (2008), best known for his Chicken Soup for the Soul book series is quoted to have said:

“Success in life is a lot like a connect-the-dots game. So many people have gone before us – leaving maps and guidebooks about how to replicate their success – that all we have to do is connect the dots” (para. 4).

This rendition paints the concept of success as simple enough to achieve. Nonetheless, in an organizational environment, a plethora of perceptions can make implementing methods to motivate workers a complicated issue that can impede company goals.



Many causes have been identified in establishments that experience decreased worker motivation which subsequently reduces productivity and can eventually contribute to the demise of an enterprise. Strategic incompetence, arrogance and ideology have been branded as the three foremost reasons why great institutions fail (Ullman, 2010); as was the case in with my first entrepreneurial venture that occurred many years ago. It happened after enjoying nearly a decade in corporate America when I left an esteemed position in the music industry to form an entertainment production company together with two other business partners. It ended in miserable failure.

old promo

The Rise

The three of us comprised a mosaic of diverse talents and experience. I hold a BFA and was an accomplished theatrical stage performer. One partner, Mr. Berry, was a professional magician and my other partner was a successful attorney with experience in corporate business affairs. In addition, we were all very close friends. These components gave us certainty our venture together would be fruitful and gratifying. Plus, we all enjoyed success individually as professionals.  Together our union was concrete. We were intensely inspired and passionately motivated to succeed. American self-help guru Dr. Wayne Dyer (2010) eloquently articulates the concept behind the synergy we conjured:

Motivation is when you get a hold of an idea and you take it with you and you carry it through to a logical conclusion. Inspiration is an idea that takes a hold of you and takes you where you were intended to go in the first place”.


We were certain our intentions and deep rooted ambitions would easily direct our path to attain our professional goals. What I had not foreseen was that our combined optimism, passion, talent and enthusiasm was not enough to offer insight that in a business relationship, we did not possess the skills required as a group to make a good organizational fit. In fact, our lack of strategic competence, coupled with the arrogance of Berry, exacerbated the destructive process. In fact, his ideology of fame, glory and greed ultimately toppled and annihilated our enterprise.

merlins world

Our newfound team did not experience challenges from the onset. The honeymoon stage of the operation was easily sustained the first few years. We spent many long nights having fun brainstorming and setting goals. The three of us practically lived together in those days. We kept occupied and focused on new inventions. We manufactured products that included: (a) a new line of magic and special effect apparatuses marketed and sold worldwide; (b) a television pilot we pitched to the major networks in Hollywood; (c) music CDs we produced and composed to score our live performance engagements; and (d) videos and books for convention events and speaking engagements. In addition, we were hired out as special effects consultants for a variety of corporate events and celebrities that included motivational speaker Anthony Robbins, Branson Missouri entertainer Jim Stafford, and legendary rock star Alan Parsons. Our new company was doing well and our team was smoking.

G Scrolls

The media and press within the magic community endorsed our partnership at the time as did our peers and families who were equally encouraging and supportive. We were electrified we found a way to coalesce our talents and confident our destiny was to achieve great levels of success as we continued to spread music and magic touring around the world. We had what Anthony Robbins (1991) identifies in his book Awaken the Giant Within as controlled focus, “Controlled focus is like a laser beam that can cut through anything that seems to be stopping you” (p. 9). We were an exhilarated alliance and a force to be reckoned with.  There was no stopping the forward momentum we had initiated.


The Fall

To read the entire article please visit



Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Canfield, J. (2008, May 20). Motivational Success Principles. Retrieved November 15, 2012, from Inspirational Quotes:

Dyer, D. W. (2010, January 30). The Difference Between Motivation and Inspiration. (M. V. Hansen, Interviewer)

Robbins, A. (1991). Awaken the giant within. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Ullman, H. (2010, October 27). Why great institutions fail. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from

Wilde, S. (1987). Life was never meant to be a struggle. Carlsbad, CA, USA: Hay House, Inc.

Motivation Theories

Published December 25, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair


One of the most common areas studied in psychology is the discipline of motivation. “Seeking to understand the nature of motivation, increase levels of motivation and subsequently improve levels of performance has been a constant goal in management and organizational literature” (Baack, 2012). In fact, methods to inspire and motivate employees in the work place have become big business for authors and personal growth movement icons like Anthony Robbins.


Maslow’s Hierarchy

Motivation theories developed in the US concentrated primarily on employee needs. Many practicing managers continue to use the principles established in these theories. The basic premise is that individuals act to fulfill needs. This serves as a guide for managers. The best known need-based theory of motivation was first developed by Abraham Maslow. His hierarchy of needs approach can be described as a satisfaction-progression model (pictured above). In other words, a person regularly experiences a need until it is regularly satisfied. Clayton Alderfer‘s ERG Theory (illustrated below) sought to simplify Maslow’s theory by breaking it down into three concepts: (a) existence, (b) relatedness, and (c) growth. Existence needs equate to concepts of physiological and safety needs. Relatedness needs match social needs. Growth needs incorporate needs for esteem and self-actualization (Baack, 2012).


ERG Theory

The basic idea behind Maslow’s and the ERG theories is that people behave to satisfy their needs. The studies suggest “existence needs equate to concepts of physiological and safety needs” (Baack, 2012). Both theories examine the physical, social, and physiological needs of individuals. Both theories examine motivation as the factor that starts, sustains and impedes behaviors

The palpable difference in the ERG Theory and Maslow’s Hierarchy is that the ERG theory posits that frustration and regression is at the core of motivational issues. A person that is not able to attain higher levels of satisfaction becomes frustrated. Maslow’s theory applies humanism; that people are fundamentally decent and are motivated by seeking improvement throughout their lives. The hierarchy of needs implies a satisfaction-progression platform that logs the progression by having their needs fulfilled.


I personally have applied aspects of both theories in various arenas of my life. As an optimist, I believe in humanism and am motivated to be of service to others. On the other hand, when I am in a situation where no progress is achieved, frustration is the key that motivates change. I recently embraced Anthony Robbins philosophy that success depends on the following three things: (a) story, (b) state, and (c) strategy. By changing the story, “I am not able to affect change on my own,” to “I am able to succeed and grow,” I change my state of mind and am motivated to apply a new strategy to achieve my goals.

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational Behavior. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Entertaining Business Presentations

Published December 23, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair


In order to build rapport with an audience in a business presentation try to make it as entertaining as you can. First, establish who your audience is and what the potential barriers may be. Next, implement different motivational strategies that include maintaining eye contact, telling stories to personalize the presentation, and employ effective language (Baack, 2012). Also include music as a soundscape with visual aid, use hand gestures, and a variety of vocal intonations; particularly when emphasizing issues of importance. In addition, utilize the entire stage as well as the house to encourage audience participation and feedback.


On several occasions, I have been hired as a consultant and special effects artist to enrich presentations for other motivational speakers making their events more theatrical and entertaining. For example, around 1990, I was part of a special effects team hired to wow the crowds at one of Tony Robbins two week motivational retreats in Maui.


As one of the world’s foremost motivational speakers Tony is a dynamic personality and can engage an audience just with his energy and the power of his words. At this particular event, he wanted to make the experience more spectacular for his audience by adding stage theatrics. We set him up with some easy to perform magic tricks to help emphasize a point in certain segments. In other sections we included the use of pyrotechnics and special effects for more dramatic emphasis. To create an unforgettable introduction, we incorporated the use of uplifting music and staged his entrance to make it seem like he appeared out of thin air under the misdirection of the laser lights and a billow of clouds produced from strategically placed smoke machines. Making a presentation theatrical is to me, one of the highlights of putting on a show.

Baack, D. (2012). Management Communication. In D. Baack, Management Communication. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.