Lou Holtz

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.

Vaclav Havel

Hope…is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how … [ Read more ]

Ronald S. Jonash, Philip D. Metz, and Bruce McK. Thompson

The flip side of rewards is risk. A commitment to delegation and empowerment raises a host of thorny questions. For example: How do you strike a balance between trust and security? Senior managers want people to be bold enough to do “what’s right” for the company – but what if what’s right for the company means shutting down their project or cutting back research dollars … [ Read more ]

Zig Ziglar

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.

John J. Ballow, Brian McCarthy, Michael J. Molnar

Conventional incentive plans work only with current value, leaving future value-which is often the larger amount-up for grabs.

Larry Bossidy

The trouble is there are too many companies that basically believe in socialism. They give stock options to everybody, give pay increases that are the same to everybody within the same salary scale. If you don’t differentiate, you can’t possibly be an execution company! And if you don’t single out for reward the people who get things done for you, then you won’t keep the … [ Read more ]

Alfie Kohn

In short, “Do this and you’ll get that” makes people focus on the “that” not the “this.” Do rewards motivate people? Absolutely. They motivate people to get rewards.

E. F. Schumacher

Some people always tend to clamour for a final solution, as if in life there could ever be a final solution other than death. For constructive work, the principal task is always the restoration of some kind of balance.

Patricia Bryans, Richard Smith

[The concept of] restoration acknowledges that people need to have something “put back”, restored to them through their daily work. This is especially true where the knowledge economy denies people the familiar satisfactions of predictability and of the regular production of tangible goods.

Charles Handy

America strikes world-weary Europeans as an adolescent nation. It revels in junk food and has adolescent clothes and tastes. It accepts some types of extreme behavior, such as guns and drugs, which some find distasteful. These flaws are balanced as a whole, though, by the enthusiasm of adolescence and the inability to see the downsides of situations. That’s why I like to get to America … [ Read more ]

John Locke

The enjoyment of property that [man] has in this state [the state of nature] is very unsafe, very unsecure. This makes him willing to quit a condition, which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers: and it is not without reason, that he seeks out, and is willing to join in society with others, who are already united, or have a mind to … [ Read more ]


A motivator is a passion that increases when satisfied.


The failure of any given incentive program is due less to a glitch in that program than to the inadequacy of the psychological assumptions that ground all such plans.

Shirley Temple Black

Intentions often melt in the face of unexpected opportunity.