When even Forbes Magazine gets it…

When even a staunch defender of capitalism like Forbes Magazine says that “Money is not the best motivator” I consider the issue settled.

From the article:

There is ample evidence to suggest that money may not be the best way to motivate desirable behavior. In fact, it may be one of the worst ways.

Money is a byproduct, and usually a secondary one at that, for such achievers.

Emotional sources of motivation are more powerful, and they are best conveyed informally in an organization through the respect of peers, the admiration of subordinates, the approval of one’s personal network and community and the like. Money becomes the default motivator because it is measurable, tangible and fungible — and trouble strikes when the prospect of a lot of money becomes the primary goal.

I would of course argue, that the very best motivator is happiness at work :o)

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8 thoughts on “When even Forbes Magazine gets it…”

  1. In her “Top 10 questions” about being happy at work Denice Kronau talks about money as a motivator. It’s No. 3 in fact — “Do you know why you’re working? Really? Most of us work for money, and that’s fine, but is that all you get from working? If you had enough money, what would you miss if you stopped working?” Kronau writes a lot (including an upcoming book) about being happy at work, business success, the hard lessons learned in business, etc. She walked away once, but now is back, rejuvenated and happy. She gets that people like to work and that work can be fun and exciting.

    I couldn’t agree more that money, while powerful, isn’t the do-all/be-all/end-all. My sister-in-law is retiring from teaching at the end of this school year, and she wishes she could work a few more years. She is concerned about her purpose, after more than 30 years in the classroom.

  2. Agreed. If you read some of the recent posts and related comments about unhappiness at work, it couldn’t be more clear. If people only worked for money, then we wouldn’t see so many of them leaving jobs that paid them astronomical amounts.

    At the end of the day, what we’re all really searching for is a way to contribute back to the bigger picture, and to be recognized for that contribution.

  3. Be honest does anyone know anyone who made a job decision for money and is truly happy?

    They’re worried they won’t get as much in another job, that they’ll be let go because they cost too much or they miss the more sociable place they used to work.

    So totally agree with you!


  4. I recently listened to a biography of billionaire Sam Wyly. He made an interesting observation – generally people who control their own “domain” (like farmers, teachers, firemen) are much happier than people who work in hierarchial organizations where politics come into play. I think there is some truth to it. Many of us will be more satisfied if our roles are like consultants and advisors, with we having control over when we work and where we work.

  5. Money can never be the motivator at the workplace. The more sustaining motivator has to be a sense of purpose! If we can view our services as contributing towards a greater purpose, we’ll be motivated and happy to do our job.

    More than two years, I read an Aesop’s story on the donkey carrying salt. Later, I blogged about it. Great insights from the story…http://www.allyhunt.com/cms/updates/the-donkey-carrying-salt.

  6. When I look at career success, my indicators are:
    * do I feel fulfilled, happy and energized about my work?
    * do I feel like I’m making a contribution?
    * am I making enough cash to sustain the kind of lifestyle I want?

    Here’s a video I love to show in my trainings about the nature of defining success (for those with delicate ears, know that it has a swear word or two): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xuFnP5N2uA

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