Chris Bailey at the Alchemy of Soulful Work has an interesting post based on his reading of an article in the Harvard Business Review's issue for January 2006 called Decisions and Desire by Gardiner Morse about what goes on in our brains that causes us to make decisions the way we do. Here's a snip from his post:
Which makes sense to me—it's the pursuit of the goal, not the goal itself, that's gets our accumbens all in a tizzy. Once a desire is fulfilled, it no longer is a desire, right? Which is why incentives work so well to motivate employees. It's the anticipation, the working toward a goal, the competition that gets people jazzed. The reward, be it money or a trip to Peru, is great, and the bigger the reward, the more we want it. But once we get it, the thrill of the chase is over, and we already start thinking about the next incentive. I saw this in action on an incentive trip I went on to Banff a few years ago. It was fabulous in every way, but even at the opening reception, winners already were wondering about what the next trip would be, and what they'd have to do to qualify for it. The brain is an interesting thing, isn't it?