Summary of Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work . . . and What Does

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Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work . . . and What Does book summary
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7 Overall

7 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


In this practical, provocative piece on motivation, you’ll find a dilemma you can solve, a little theory, a set of skills you can learn and some guidance on how to shift your work team to “optimal motivation” using neither a carrot nor a stick. Motivational researcher and coach Susan Fowler illustrates her credo – “motivating people does not work because they are already motivated” – with personal storytelling and lots of examples. getAbstract recommends her manual to managers, team members, HR personnel, and anyone with an interest in the “motivation dilemma” and how to solve it.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to cope with the “motivation dilemma,”
  • How to recognize your team’s psychological needs and underlying values, and
  • How to support your team with “motivational outlook conversations” and provide “optimal motivational experiences.”

About the Author

Susan Fowler, lead developer of The Ken Blanchard Company’s Optimal Motivation program, is a researcher, consultant and coach in leadership development and employee motivation.



“Motivation Dilemma”
People never lack motivation. The question is: What motivates them? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? Achieving your goals? Being independent? Engaging in activities that match your values?

Consider Billy Beane, the respected manager...

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Comment on this summary

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    Janice Nessel 2 years ago
    I'm glad the article talked about Southwest Airlines. I have experienced the motivating crew members and their ability to interact with passengers. Allowing employees to actually express what motivates them will give a company a hand up above others that do not allow.
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    Stephen Mulroney 3 years ago
    I like the perspective that everybody is motivated , important to explore the three underlying Psycological needs that actual create motivation. I also like the comment on drive verses motivation
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    Sander Kevin L 3 years ago
    For optimal motivation we have to really learn and know our staff. For those who have large staff this can be a challenge so the question is how to we group them and motivate them according. I'd be interested in reading about this.
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    Morrison Shawn Marie 3 years ago
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    Me encantó
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    Mark Kimel 3 years ago
    Interesting perspective that everyone is motivated and that a structured discussion can be helpful at identifying that motiviation. I think the most important part is the discussion of the "motivation delima" and how it often puts managers in a no-win situation.

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