2023 ISPA CONFERENCE
performed some experiments on intrinsic and extrinsic motivators with college students . She asked the students to make “ silly collages ” and invent stories for them . Some were told they were getting rewards for their work , and some were not . What happened ? Based on scores from independent judges , the least creative projects by far were done by students who were promised rewards for their work . Amabile said ,“ It may be that commissioned work will , in general , be less creative than work that is done out of pure interest .”
James Garbarino , former president of the Erikson Institute for Advanced Study in Child Development , was curious about this phenomenon . He conducted a study of fifth- and sixth-grade girls hired to tutor younger children . Some of the tutors were offered free movie tickets for doing a good job . Some weren ’ t . What happened ? The girls who were offered free movie tickets took longer to communicate ideas , got frustrated more easily , and did a worse job than the girls who were given nothing except the feeling of helping someone else .
So to me the ads on the blog , at least at that time in my life , would have turned an intrinsic and therapeutic joy into a place where I would need to spend time invoicing and attracting advertisers and I didn ’ t want that at the time . So it ’ s not about ads on the blog per se . It ’ s just about being aware and intentional about what we ’ re doing for intrinsic reasons and what we ’ re doing for extrinsic ones . And being careful to pick the one that works for you in each area .
As it relates to spa leaders specifically : I think the question to ask yourselves and your people is : “ Would I do this for free ?” I ’ m not saying you should ! I ’ m saying : Would you ? Do you enjoy it that much ? If the answer is yes — that ’ s a sign the intrinsic motivation is strong . And we know from the research I just shared that it results in better work .
P : Speaking of motivation , your “ 3 Books ” podcast has an astounding 15-year mission to uncover the 1,000 most formative books in the world . How do you go about tackling such a massive goal without getting burnt out ? Ha ! NP : Well , I set up a lot of systems to avoid burnout and always check to see if they ’ re working . On “ 3 Books ,” one system is that I publish on the exact minute of every new moon and every full moon . That works out to about biweekly . That ’ s much less than what the algorithms tell me to do — indeed my show would likely be ranked higher if I chopped up conversations into little bits and dropped them every day — but it ’ s not what I want to do . So setting a workable and realistic schedule up front helps .
Another system is that I don ’ t give myself the password to my own stats page and I don ’ t check the podcast rankings . Extrinsic motivator ! I keep focusing on what I can focus on : which is finding people I want to talk to , reading their three most formative books , and having a great conversation .
P : Spa leaders across the globe are focused on ensuring their team members are thriving and fulfilled even when they may feel the pressure of a heavy workload . What advice do you have for leaders looking to help their team members find their inner awesomeness to help prevent anxiety or burnout within the workplace ? NP : I hear you !
There are a number of positive psychology studies we can draw on to answer this question . I would advise spa leaders to lead a “ 20 for 20 ” challenge with their teams . Make a commitment to spending 20 minutes a day for 20
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