Saturday, March 12, 2011

Motivation and recycling

Nowadays most managers hopefully know that the best way to motivate people is intrinsically rather than extrinsically.  Of course intrinsic motivation is very hard as different people are motivated to do a task in different ways.

Here's an example from my own life, recycling.

The traditional reason to recycle is to save the environment/planet. This is seen by the mainstream media and environmentalists as all the motivation someone could possibly need.

This might sound shallow but that doesn't motivate me to recycle. I don't know why, maybe its such a grandiose goal that I can't relate to it or perhaps I'm rebelling against popular sentiment (which I'm prone to do). I don't know. Yet I still recycle and since moving back to the UK I'm now recycling more than ever.

In Houston we had curbside recycling for corrugated cardboard, paper, certain types of plastic and cans. It was easy to recycle those items, but only those items. It was a pain in the arse to recycle anything else (glass, non-corrugated card, types of plastic outside of the numbers allowed etc).  This compounded with the fact that the local recycling centre was only open twice a week of which only one time was while I was home from work and then only for 4 hours. After a hard weeks work the last thing I wanted to do was go to the recycling centre at a mandated time. This meant that I generally threw the items I couldn't recycle at the curb out.

As mentioned before, since I moved back to the UK I'm recycling more.

The reason is pretty basic the local council makes it very easy to recycle any type of card, plastic food containers, paper, cans, glass, green waste and food. It's just about as easy to recycle as to throw things out so I'm happy to do my bit (I now throw out less stuff than I recycle)

Remember to ask your team member how best they would be motivated. If anyone in Texas would have asked me what would motivate me to recycle more I would have said, make it easier.

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