The Neuropsychology of Motivation

Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Resistance. Technically, it’s what we OD types live for. After all, if it weren’t for resistance – what need would there be for change agents? More importantly, where would we get our thrills? The thrill of seeing someone see the light. The thrill of turning a challenging change corner. The thrill of opening up possibility for hundreds of people in one fell swoop, providing relief or catalyzing a success. The thrill of making a difference in people’s work and lives.

Our success as change agents is predicated on our ability to meet resistance, shake its paw, and help it see a brighter way. Happily, new developments in neuroscience, brain scan technology and neuropsychology are delivering even more thrilling tools for us to do our job well. But will it be our job alone?

Mass v Individual Motivation

From Frederick Herzberg to Daniel Pink, we’ve uncovered, confirmed and refined our understanding of the underlying tenets of motivation. We know there are external factors that organizations and managers can use to create motivating circumstances and environments and that there are internal factors that only the individual can define and satisfy for him or herself.

We’ve gotten better at incorporating that knowledge into our organizational systems but we still, in large part, take an outside-in approach to motivation and engagement. What if we added an inside-out approach to our efforts? How might the individual take more responsibility for identifying and managing their own internal motivation factors?

The Neuropsychology of Motivation

Developments in neuropsychology and modern motivation theory are giving us the ability to do just that. So many exciting things are coming out of a variety of fields that are combining to give us a clearer picture of how our minds, emotions, behavior and relationships work. From Martin Seligman’s Optimism to Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory to David Rock’s SCARF Model, we have more and more effective ways to influence our relationship with the world around us. And these ways are available to all of us simply by better understanding - and managing - our brain.

Resistance: An Individual’s Responsibility

By synthesizing all the good stuff we know into a practical, accessible framework of tools that anyone can use, Helle Bundgaard, Founder of Motivation Factor® has developed a way to give individuals the ability, responsibility, and even accountability for getting and staying motivated. She’s translated complex brain research into everyday applications.

For change agents, these new tools give us greater ability to move those organizational mountains. We’ll still get the thrill of watching insight bloom and action unfold. We’ll even see more of it.

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