Need Motivation? Mark Cuban Can Help.

Kathy Rapp Coaching, Communication, Employee Engagement, Engagement and Satisfaction, HR & Sports, Influence, Kathy Rapp, Leadership, Learning, Learning and Development, Performance, Sports, Talent Strategy, Total Rewards, Training and Development

I think about the various things that motivate me and most are internally vs. externally driven.  For example, getting up at 5am five days a week to workout isn’t because I want to be first at the gym. It’s because I relieve stress and increase my happiness breaking a good sweat… and, secondarily, I don’t want to have to oil up to fit in my jeans!

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and successful business dude, seems to have provided external motivation for the Houston Rockets over the years. Here’s a quote:

“They were bad for so long, it wasn’t really there, other than that one playoff year, ” Cuban said of a rivalry with the Rockets.  “But now that we’ve played them two times, we can help them sell tickets next time.  I think they need a little help.”

Rocket Fan Note:  To get a ticket at Toyota Center for the Rockets/Mavs playoff games cost you minimum $100/ticket.  Tickets for Game 4 in Dallas were offered below $40/ticket on StubHub.

And a quote from this year’s playoffs: “There’s no more predictable team than the Rockets.  You know exactly what they’re gonna do, “ Cuban says.

Predictable Team: 4

Cuban’s Guys: 1

Sports psychology aside, as HR pros, it’s helpful to understand internal vs. external motivators… or what psychologists call intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.

“Extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity in order to earn a reward or avoid punishment.”

Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.”

One area in particular these motivators influence is rewards.  Researchers have come to these conclusions on how extrinsic rewards influence intrinsic motivation.  From Kendra Cherry, psychology expert:

  • Unexpected external rewards typically do not decrease intrinsic motivation.  For example, if you get a good grade on a test because you enjoy learning about the subject and the teacher decides to reward you with a gift card to your favorite pizza place, your underlying motivation for learning the subject will not be affected.  However, this needs to be done with caution, because people will sometimes come to expect such rewards.
  • Praise can help increase internal motivation.  Researchers have found that offering positive praise and feedback when people do something better in comparison to others can actually improve intrinsic motivation.
  • Intrinsic motivation will decrease, however, when external rewards are given for completing a specific task or only doing minimal work.  For example, if parents lavish praise on their child every time he completes a simple task, he will become less intrinsically motivated to perform that task in the future.

In HR we are constantly attempting to motivate people.  Simple things—like getting to work on time.  More complex—retaining top talent. Understanding internal vs. external motivators should play a key role in setting total rewards strategies, performance management philosophies, and learning and development programs.

If all else fails to inspire your organization, give Mark Cuban a call.  My guess is he’s got some free time to come and give a motivational speech!