Practice tips

Practice tips

Fostering intrinsic motivation in change agents and change teams

Change agents and members of change teams can foster environments where intrinsic motivation is valued and integrated. They can create conditions or opportunities to enable individuals’ psychological needs for autonomy, mastery, and connections or social ties. 

Three sources of intrinsic motivation with techniques and examples are described below.

Source of intrinsic motivation: Being autonomous (having choice and control)
Techniques Examples
Collaborate in goal setting 

Actively discuss with colleagues:

  • feedback on a proposed change,
  • ideas on how to implement change, and
  • readiness to engage in change. 
Use the right tone
  • Build trustworthiness by being transparent and openly acknowledging the benefits and challenges of a change.
  • Be curious; seek to understand others’ perspectives.
  • Ask, don’t tell. Value everyone’s ideas.
  • Address resistance by asking questions to understand concerns.
Offer or create choices
  • Offer people choices so they have autonomy in relation to the change.
  • Ask individuals to offer suggestions of how something can get done to create other options.

Source of intrinsic motivation: Developing mastery
Techniques Examples
Highlight individuals’ competencies
  • Emphasize individuals’ strengths.
  • Give praise for accomplishments.
  • Recognize efforts and provide constructive criticism, as indicated. 
Position the change as a challenge that can be achieved
  • Position the change in a way that motivates or inspires the person.
  • Recognize that pride is a powerful motivator and can foster a commitment to pursue further action.

Source of intrinsic motvation: Creating connections with others through social ties
Techniques Examples
Understand an individual’s ‘why’
  • Ask individuals to describe why a change is important to them.
  • Share personal examples of why change matters with others as this can be motivating.  From these examples, determine the shared values as a group.
Make it personal
  • Emphasize how the change can impact them personally and what they value about the change.
Be practical
  • Ensure that all actions that individuals can take to support the change are clearly described and are feasible. This will build motivation, transparency, trust and commitment.

SOURCE: Adapted from Bajnok et al., 2018b; Ben-Hur & Kinley, 2016. 

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