July 10, 2014

Learning goals versus ability goals

People can choose different types of goals and the type of goals they choose affects their motivation and their performance. Heidi Grant and Carol Dweck (2003) studied what types of goals people choose and what the different effects of these goals are. In their studies they discovered four types of goals:
  1. learning goals: goals focused on acquiring new knowledge and skills
  2. outcome goals: goals focused on performing well, for example getting a high grade.
  3. ability goals: goals focused on demonstrating one's positive characteristics such as abilities
  4. normative goals: goals focused on performing well in comparison with other people

July 7, 2014

How different types of motives affect performance and growth

Amy Wrzesniewski and Barry Schwartz have written an opinion piece in the New York Times about effective motivation (read here). In the piece they distinguish two types of motivation: internal motivation and instrumental motivation. These terms correspond two other terms which are more well-known in the psychological literature. Internal motivation corresponds to autonomous motivation; instrumental motivation corresponds to controlled motivation. They did a study to examine how these two types of motivation affected performance (Wrzesniewski  et al (2014).

July 6, 2014

Exercise: keep an interest diary

When you structurally engage yourself in what interests you, you learn better and you will find it easier to persist and you may make a good contribution to your professional field and to your organization (read more). Interests can be either thing you enjoy doing and learning about or things you find important or meaningful to do and to learn about. To reap the benefits of interest focused working and learning you need to have a sense of what you find enjoyable and meaningful. Sometimes people do not have such a clear sense of what they like and find important (read more). For those people it might be useful to keep an interest diary.

July 4, 2014

Congruence makes it easier to keep working progress-focused

Many professionals, in a variety of jobs and organizations, apply progress-focused principles and techniques. Some characteristics of the approach are: 1) focusing on the desired situation, 2) using what is already there, 3) learning from previous successes, 4) taking small steps forward and 5) recognizing and utilizing the perspectives and ideas of the people with whom you work. The collaboration between progress-focused professionals and their clients or customers can be described as collaborative, activating, and supportive. In their way of working, progress-focused professionals support the need for more autonomy, competence and relatedness of their clients/customers.

June 28, 2014

What if your interest fades or is absent?

I have received quite a few responses to my article Interests as drivers of competence development; most of them fairly enthusiastic. In the article I make an argument for structurally engaging yourself in and learning about what interests you. The word interest, in my article, refers both to doing and learning about what you find enjoyable and doing and learning about what you find important. By focusing on what interests you your thinking is enhanced and it will be easier to persist (see more). Finally, in the article, I propose that interest focused development not only benefits individuals but also organizations.

Here, I want to focus on two questions I have received about the article. The first is: what do you do when your interest fluctuates or fades? The second is: What can you do if you do not really know what you find interesting or if you do not seem to find anything really interesting?

"We must make clear agreements!"

Sometimes I am asked to facilitate a team meeting which has the purpose of establishing some clear agreements and rules. Such agreements and rules may refer to things like attending meetings, being on time in meetings, submitting time sheets timely, and timely and properly doing what you have agreed to do. When I am asked such questions, there often have been previous attempts within such organizations to establish agreements and rules and attempts to ensure compliance to them but these attempts have usually not worked satisfactorily. The question I am asked is how they can now, for once and for all, make some clear agreements and rules that will be complied with. It is an understandable question but will it work?

June 20, 2014

Neurochemical effects of conversation behaviors

Many scholars have pointed out that people generally are affected more strongly by negative than by positive occurrences (see for example this). For example, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer found in their research that the impact of setbacks was two to three times as strong as the impact of progress (read more). The same thing seems to be happening in conversations. People appear to be (negatively) affected stronger by negative occurrences in conversations, such as being criticized and rejected, than they are (positively) affected by positive occurrences in conversations, such as being taken seriously and appreciated.