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.”

She growls.

#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?

  1. Recognition has meaning when it speaks to personal commitment.
  2. Playful competition inspires morale only when people have each other’s best interest at heart.
  3. Energy increases when achievement is noticed.