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Better way to motivate than incentivizing the top people

Let’s say you’d like to notch up the performance of a team.  Give them a break (like half-time in sports) during which you give a performance assessment.  That assessment may be based on metrics, although this is not required.  What is interesting is what happens if you let the team know that it is a little bit behind in meeting a performance objective.  The research on which this brief article is based shows that people who are compared with others just a little bit better (rather than light years ahead) tend to make larger gains in performance.  Likewise, bonus structures should not just reward the top performers.  Rather, they should be based on relative improvement all along the performance spectrum. 

Source: If you want to win, tell your team it’s losing (a little).  Harvard Business Review;89(10):36-37, Oct. 2011.  Click here for more information: http://hbr.org/2011/10/if-you-want-to-win-tell-your-team-its-losing-a-little/ar/2  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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