Social Pressure – Best Motivator?

Most people might assume that for someone to do their job to the best of their abilities, that money would be the best motivator to accomplish that goal.   We all have to admit that making money certainly helps many of us get out of bed in the morning and get out the door for our jobs.  However in a recent report published by Harvard Business Review and authored by Scott Keller**, Director at McKinsey and Company, it was revealed that Social Pressure is indeed one of the most effective and underutilized ways to motivate employees.  The link to this report can be found here:

Harvard Business Review – Social Pressure is a Better Motivator than Money

The reason for me to bring this article to your attention, is to point out that this is one of the primary motivations that allow our KeyNCar software solution to effectively work at a car dealership.  While I was circulating my idea for feedback to people that I knew in the car industry, I had a number of people share with me that my software only solution would most likely not work as I was planning.  Their reasoning was based upon their assumptions that the only way that my system would work is if I had 100% participation from all sales staff. (Which is a true point)  And as they pointed out… it would be impossible for me to get all sales staff to participate with using my system.

Fortunately for me, I pushed on with my ideas and we created our software only solution.  Just prior to installing our solution at one of the largest dealerships in the USA, there were a few of the old school sales staff that told me they would never use my system.  They felt I was creating more work for them and that they simply were not going to comply with the data entry requirements we were requesting them to accomplish.  When discussing this with them, I would always smile and explain that not using my system was not an option.  If they needed any help in using my system to please ask me.  They would snarl and walk away.

Finally the day arrived where we went live with the KeyNCar tracking system.  The rule was established in the morning meeting that day, nobody was allowed to get access to any key to a vehicle UNLESS they had the car checked out in the KeyNCar system first.  The grumbling started immediately after this meeting was adjourned and many people that thought they didn’t have to attend training were now frantically asking me to retrain them.  Needless to say the first couple of days there were some tense moments caused by delays in getting everyone up to speed on using the new system.  I will say that I was fortunate in that management was fully behind me in implementing our system.  Because of the management team, I was allowed to control access to all the keys and we did not hand any keys out from that moment forward unless they had been properly checked out.

Over the course of the next 2 weeks it was amazing to watch as the sales associates that had originally explained to me they would never utilize my system began to understand and appreciate it.  It was additionally interesting to see staff that were not computer savvy explain to me how easy it was for using my system and thanking me for the time they saved everyday.  And of course.. since our system allows all staff to see who does whatever to the inventory and when they do it, 100% of the staff at one of the largest car dealers in the USA are fully in compliance with using our system to save themselves and their customers time everyday.   Nobody wants to be known at this dealership as the goofball that thinks only of themselves and doesn’t help others…  Social pressure is a great MOTIVATOR for sure!!!

** Scott Keller is a director at McKinsey & Company and co-author, with Colin Price, of the 2011 book Beyond Performance: How great organizations build ultimate competitive advantage.

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Social Pressure Motivator

Motivator for Accountability – Social Pressure