Inspiration from Automated Messages, Playful Competition, and High Fives
Don’t tell anyone. But last night I trotted around our house so I could see an automated message from my Fitbit.
Automated messages motivate.
If you asked what I was doing, I’d say, “I’m getting my green.” That’s what my wife and I call the, “Wow, that’s a lot of green,” message we see on our Fitbits.
If you walk five miles and have 10,000 steps, Fitbit recognizes your achievement with a lifeless message, “Wow, that’s a lot of green!” (There are other requirements, but steps and distance typically indicate overall success.)
It’s common to hear, “Did you get your green?” in our home. On more than one occasion, one of us has walked around the house to receive recognition from a piece of inanimate technology.
Our drive to read automated words on an uncaring device reflects commitment. We’re committed to “reasonable” expressions of healthy living. “Wow, that’s a lot of green!” recognizes success that matters to us.
#1. Recognition has meaning when it speaks to personal commitment.
Friendly competition inspires morale and fuels energy.
My wife and I monitor each other’s progress and rub each other’s noses in it. “How many steps do you have?”
The person with more steps brags.
When I have more steps, I raise a fist and shout, “Yeah.”
#2. Playful competition inspires morale only when people have each other’s best interest at heart.
Competition between people who don’t like each other might get results, but it destroys morale.
High fives add fulfillment.
Our fitbits vibrate and display colorful graphics when we reach 10,000 steps. If we’re together when it happens, we’ll proclaim, “I got my 10.” That’s a signal for a high five.
#3. Energy increases when achievement is noticed.
Simple rituals are the cherry on top of achievement.
How might leaders integrate the three key principles of motivation in this post?
- Recognition has meaning when it speaks to personal commitment.
- Playful competition inspires morale only when people have each other’s best interest at heart.
- Energy increases when achievement is noticed.
Great message connecting with technology to inspire personal and group achievements.
I believe you have found a new way to entice ones movement for a positive growth message!
Thanks Tim. It surprises me that something so impersonal matters. I had to conclude it was our commitment to healthy living. It’s not really about the steps. It’s more about health. For me, that’s a higher purpose.
Something impersonal speaks to a personal goal. Strange but true.
Health absolutely, my wife and I joined The YMCA and started swimming again and water walking not as aggressive as your undertaking nut progressing nonetheless.
Cheers to good health!
Great post, Dan.
I’m going to zero in on your points regarding competition.
I believe that competition, viewed in the healthiest way, is a form of cooperation. “Without another team to compete against, we don’t have a game,” I would tell my 8-year-old superstars back when I coached soccer. “Respect the other team for the chance they give you to find out what you can do and to have fun playing at it!”
The guidelines you’ve set here are great ones to put competition where it best benefits well-being and happiness—and team effectiveness over time.
There is a challenge to those who want to take this high road: if even one person who is engaged makes it a contest of worth or some reason other than growing and getting better, they can easily suck others into that game. Keeping competition where it serves us best requires some mindfulness and care with choices of thought. 🙂
So glad to see you, Mark. The competition aspect of motivation is a double edged sword.
You want competitors at their best when competition is healthy. If the other team wins, respect their win. Go back and work your butt of to win next time.
There’s a subtle difference between language that focuses on beating others and winning. Although when we trust each other, some good ole fashion taunting is fun. “We’re going to whip your butt,” can be fun if there’s respect.
Thanks, Dan! Always fun to check in here, and I agree with you 100%. 🙂
Playful competition inspires morale when people have each other’s best interest at heart. It is really powerful. And moreover, it is the challenge for leaders. Leaders create environment where space for subjectivity is minimized. It is the environment that provides platform for playful competition, personal commitment and recognition. Many times, we can not change the intention and nature of the people but we can create system and environment that discourage and perhaps does not provide space to exercise it.
Morale is the outcome of culture. Healthy culture breeds high morale and vice versa. Leaders need to create healthy culture. Rest will automatically shape its size according to culture.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. Leaders who fuel healthy competition honor effort, even when one team loses. “They fought a good fight.” They worked hard.” “They brought their best.”
Honoring both sides of competition sets a playful tone. We’re competing to bring out the best in each other, not to beat down an opponent.
100% – Playful competition inspires morale when people have each other’s best interest at heart. You become that person’s cheerleader and push them to explore their self-imposed limits something great leaders do naturally. Thanks Dan – well said. The key words being…… having their best interests at heart.
Thanks Carolyn. YES! We want our competitors to do well! That’s the only way we get better. It’s no fun competing in a lop-sided contest. Worse yet, lop-sided competition lowers the play on both teams.
Thanks Dan, this cracked me up! I have an Apple Watch, so for me it’s “Filling the Rings” but exactly the same principle at play!
I actually think this interplay between technology and psychology has the potential to lead to some phenomenal advances in human accomplishment, although I would say it can be fragile too…
I had maintained a 500 day streak of filling all three rings on my watch (standing, moving and exercise) when I got a new phone. Although it was backed up, the health data doesn’t (to protect privacy) and I lost that day’s data – and because it was already after lunch, it wasn’t physically possible to catch up… I can laugh about it now, but I did spend a little bit of time that day trying to figure out if I could cheat 😂!
Anyway, it’s the way of the future…
“…Playful competition inspires morale only when people have each other’s best interest at heart…” Very true. In situations where people don’t have their colleagues interests at heart, competition become toxic.
We do a fitbit challenges at our workplace all of the time! I have the original flex fitbit and the dots dance and the unit vibrates…I call mine “party on the wrist” 🙂