The basics of motivation

How motivation can be influenced (and how it can’t)

Professor Dr Steven Reiss made clear in his work why motivation often fails. Furthermore, he showed new ways of helping people to improve their performance.

What really motivates us

A widely held assumption is that one only needs to motivate people extrinsically – with money for example – to enhance performance. But an individual’s motivational structure can only be influenced effectively if it is properly understood. A misunderstanding of the structure can have a negative effect, and even completely undermine the attempt at motivation. The opportunity to motivate the individual effectively by addressing their performance drivers is thus missed.

Motivational paradigms

These are the fundamental insights on motivation developed by Steven Reiss: 

  • The 16 basic desires are a reflection of what people want. The more pronounced a desire is, the more important it is for the individual to fulfil it in everyday life…
  • Only if you know what the other person really wants can you motivate from the outside.
  • Human behaviour prompted by motivation (as distinguished from biologically determined behaviour) can be traced back to either a single basic desire or a combination of several of the 16 basic desires.
  • Basic desires have a direct effect on our perception: we focus on stimuli which trigger pronounced basic desires, and ignore opposing stimuli. Basic desires dictate our own personal reality. 
  • People seek the company of those who have similar values to themselves and distance themselves from those who have opposing values.

Your contact person

John J. M. Delnoy
Tel:          +31 6 20 54 21 86
Fax:         +31 7 35 49 58 99