June  21,  2017

What’s our problem? And by “our” I mean people whose job it is to achieve success by changing behavior toward a greater goal. Our problem is that, historically, we rely on the Telling People Stuff Model.

We’ve all experienced this – whether we are the teller or the “tellee.” Simply tell people what they should do differently, and they’ll fall in line. Sadly, we know that full compliance with this approach is pretty low.

Telling people stuff is the “what.” We learning and change professionals have long since moved on to the “how” — provide realistic, hands-on practice in a new behavior or skill, and you’ve really upped the chances of adoption. (And the chances of reaching the business objective you want.)

The best of us have integrated “why” with the “what” and “how.” The “why” element is about motivation. Real behavior change comes only to people who bring high levels of motivation to master new behaviors.

Recent work on purpose – the study of intrinsic motivation – suggests ways to increase motivation. Read this article, published in Training Industry Magazine; Emerson’s own Ceil Tilney describes the elements of purpose. She also illuminates the concept with ideas for adapting employee onboarding programs to a motivation-centered model