There is a psychological phenomenon that has shown up in several studies involving how motivated an individual is to stick to something if they have created it rather than it being given to them. One of the most famous experiments involved lottery tickets: some people were given lottery tickets with the numbers chosen for them and the other group of people had to choose the numbers for their lottery ticket. The experimenters then questioned the participants with the lottery tickets for how much they would sell back the ticket for. The surprising finding was the participants that chose their own numbers wanted five times more money for their ticket than the participants with random numbers on their ticket.
Scott Keller’s article, “Increase Your Team’s Motivation Five-Fold,” does an excellent job of answering what implications this phenomenon has for the business world. It seems that human nature brings a strong feeling of commitment and belief in something one has chosen for themselves. Therefore, a manager can utilize this psychological factor to maximize the productivity of their team. If a manager allows the entire team to brainstorm together for a solution, they should be more committed to the solution than had the solution simply been presented to them. Additionally, if the manager lets the employee choose their own goals, with supervision, they should be more committed to attaining their goals than if the goals had been merely handed to them.
Read Keller’s article to gain a complete understanding of this phenomenon and more ways to effectively utilize this to your team’s advantage.