5 Steps To Motivate Your Team (and you).

In How To Motivate People, Fran Tarkenton, professional quarterback for the NFL and TV personality, offers a focused motivation system — "People don't change their behavior unless it makes a difference to them to do so." The first area I'd like to tackle in my "Are You A Catalyst?" series is Motivation.

Fran focuses on three immutable rules:

  1. Good behavior that is reinforced by positive consequences tends to continue or to improve.

  2. Behavior that is demotivated by negative consequences tends to decrease.

  3. Good, productive behavior that goes unnoticed tends to decrease over time.

It all comes down to the right rewards — and Tarkenton uses a simple system to ensure correct behavioral principles — P R I C E.


Focus on the behavior you are trying to influence, then set precise objectives of what needs to be done, by whom, and by what date. Objectives must be realistic, easily understood, meaningful, and the result of every member of the team getting together to set them.


Keeping score is a motivator in business as it is in sports. Keep score of performance during a critical project, customer service, production, sales and any other performances that can be measured. Post or communicate the scores publicly — tie results to positive consequences such as bonuses and promotions.

Scorekeeping lets the individual and group know how they're doing and how their performance ties in with the organization's. In addition, when it comes to tangible consequences such as bonuses, people gain the satisfaction of knowing they have contributed to a winning team.


Move from the old school mindset and get your people to play an engaged role in their work. It takes time for a participative approach to get off the ground (have patience!), but it does work and the benefits of getting the most from your team extends to other departments throughout the company (great advertising for you!).


This is where you start to change behavior. At this point, you can provide positive, negative, or no reinforcement. The last is the most typical situation and unfortunately, the most useless. Poor behavior doesn't change and positive behavior that goes unnoticed may change dramatically for the worse.

Tie consequences directly to performance improvement. When someone does something right, let them know immediately that you've noticed and appreciate it. When you want to change the behavior, proceed just as quickly. Focus on the behavior and not the person, and make it clear that change is a must.


Determine whether what you tried worked. Did you pinpoint the right behaviors that were holding you back? Were you on target with recording, involvement, and consequences? Keep fine-tuning your system until it hums.

Remember, the most successful managers will be those who can motivate to win because they understand what gets people off their behinds and energized.

What do you do to motivate your team? How do you motivate yourself?