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Small Rewards

Small rewards. Now, whether you’re trying to train yourself, a dog, an employee, your kid, whatever it is, we all like getting gifts, we all like being rewarded for our actions. Now the problem with that is you have to give the right reward for the action. Dr. W. Edwards Deming, studied  “a large gift kills people’s intrinsic motivation to do a good job. People want to be proud of their work. They want to attaboy. But if you just give them money or you bestow them with large gifts every time, okay, that might work once. But then towards the end, it decreases the value of it. And in the end it could actually send the inverse message that you want.”

You could be trying to motivate somebody but by giving them big rewards and big things, it’s actually demotivating them. So that brings us to the perfect reward for the person or for the problem. So the gift or reward should be appropriate with the goal. So don’t give chocolate to somebody who’s diabetic or having health problems. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe give a health book or take them out to lunch at a healthy place. I don’t really go out to lunch pretty often, I have a garden and then in the summertime, so I just eat out of the garden. But do something nice like give them some seeds. There you go. Give them a nice gift that fits the accomplishment.

Understand who you’re dealing with because some gifts people don’t like. And some things that I’m thinking, “Well, this would be an amazing gift.” I give to people and they look at me like I’m crazy. Like what is this, Erik? What is this? This isn’t a gift. This is work, to me, I’m like, “Wow, this is great. Look, look what you can do with this.” Understand who you’re giving the gift to if you give the wrong kind of gift, then it’s not a gift. Or it’s not showing someone’s accomplishments. You could be sending the wrong message.

I do this quite often. Like I said, I’m not very good at giving gifts. I tend to give people gifts that are educational or to better themselves and sometimes people just want a gift. They don’t want to have to think and educate themselves all day long, just some of the days. Have you ever heard the expression, it’s the thought that counts? Well in this situation it is. It’s the thought that counts. So yeah, you can give people Gucci and Prada and Ferrari, but what message are you sending? You can also take the time, especially if you have the money and all you know how to do is just give gifts of money. Well in the beginning, that’s cool but in the end that can get old. Because you’re not telling that person that you care about by doing this. It’s like having your assistant buy your kid a Christmas gift. If you were to take the time and make something that takes you 10 minutes? If you take the time and you give a small gift, it was free for you to do, but it was personalized and it’s something from the heart. That has a much more effective effect on somebody, and longer lasting. Have you ever got something from a little kid they can’t afford, extravagant gifts. they don’t have an income. Well some of them do, but we’re not talking about them. It’s almost the reason they invented magnets for your refrigerator, to put small drawings, pictures, crafts your kids make.

When they want to express love, they make something out of the tools they have and they give it to you and then your heart melts. Now that’s all pretty and everything, because it’s something that was heartfelt and it was something that they took time and they put into it. So it’s the same thing, if you want to do something nice or have a gift for your wife, instead of buying her a diamond, maybe take the kids out and give her some time to herself. Ask her what she wants. Not as in what do you want materialistically, do you want a new Ferrari or this or that? No. Like what do you want? What would give you peace? And then try to do that.

Or if it’s an employee, my buddy, he was so happy. His job acknowledged him and told him he was doing such a great job. He’s still running high off of that now, and it’s been about two weeks since the incident actually happened. And it was for free. They didn’t give him anything. They just told him he was doing a good job and gave him a pat on the back. Imagine if they gave him a big bonus or something, that would have been great, but in the end he would have been like, “All right, whatever,” everyone would move on with their day. He would have been inspired a little bit. But then look at the comradery by acknowledging my friend in a positive attitude, they brought the morale of everybody else up. If they would have passed out money it would have done the inverse and created a competitive environment opposed to a supportive environment.  like crabs in the bucket. Only doing their best to beat the next person to get the money. By not giving money and giving an attaboy, everyone’s like, “Attaboy, Erik. Good job man. Yo, I’m happy for you.” Takes the monetary value out of it and now we all can enjoy and celebrate together. So hope you got something out of that message.