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Is your focus prevention or promotion? 5 questions for Halvorson & Higgins | Daniel H. Pink

Stashed in: Motivation, Influence!, Books

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Key concept: motivational fit.

Motivational fit happens when your experience – the way you are working, the kind of task you are working on, or the feedback you receive – sustains or enhances your motivation.    Promotion motivation feels like eagerness, a desire to really go for it.  Being optimistic, working quickly and creatively, making choices based on the pros of each option, and being offered incentives framed in terms of potential gains all provide a motivational fit for someone who is promotion-focused.

Prevention motivation, on the other hand, feels like vigilance – being careful and on the look-out for problems.  Being a realist (or even a skeptic), working slowly and accurately, making choices based on the cons of each option, and being offered the incentive to avoid losses, all create fit for prevention.

The benefits of motivational fit, not only for individuals’ performance and success but also for influencing others (as parents, managers, coaches, etc.), are really remarkable.  Studies show that people value what they are doing (or what you are selling) more, find feedback more believable and persuasive, and are more engaged and effective when they experience fit.

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