BJ Fogg talks about there are actually three types of triggers.
There’s a spark. There’s a facilitator, and there’s a Signal. So, the spark is when a person has the ability to take the action, but no motivation. So BJ Fogg says the spark is basically a trigger that adds motivation to the desired behavior. So, if you get an email that says, “Hey! Your friend on Facebook just sent you a message!” That’s a spot where you have ability to click on it and go to Facebook, a few clicks away, few brain cycles.
Make the Spark a Black Hat Trigger
In most cases, the Spark should be a Black Hat Trigger.
This happens with our Octalysis Design Challenges, where we also include the upcoming deadline. If we chose to serve up a White Hat Trigger like, “Good luck as you continue working on your Design Challenge,” the trigger may not actually drive the desired action of the Octalysis Prime member continuing to work on their Challenge designs and submission.
The Facilitator Makes Hard Things Easier
Now the facilitator is the scenario where the user has a lot of motivation, but they just don’t have the ability to do it. The action feels confusing or hard. How to solve this?
Enter the Facilitator. Let me make it easy for you. Maybe it’s it’s a software wizard that helps you install something. Maybe it’s it’s a counselor who guides you through your career choices. So, the facilitator, again, is the use of trigger to remind you, “Hey, you should do it. And also if you didn’t do it because it’s hard, let me make it easy for you. Let me explain it to you. Let me reduce your brain cycles. Let me give you a discount rate that’s that’s really good. Let’s give you a coupon a discount so now it’s easier and cheaper to do this action.”
The Signal Nudges High Motivation – High Ability users to Take an Action
So that’s a facilitator, and then finally you have what we call a signal, which is the user already has high motivation, they have high ability, they just aren’t doing it. And in that case, it’s very easy to just have a simple “Hey, do it.” And there is a high chance the user will take the desired action.
BJ Fogg is definitely a pioneer in our industry. And although I don’t love his change from triggers to prompts, there is a lot we can learn from him and his methods, including Tiny Habits, which I recommend highly. However, I also wanted to offer my opinions to show how you can examine a model and think for yourself.
I might interchange these terms, but I personally liked trigger better. Sometimes, it’s possible we can stick with the new word, but it just depends on what we’re looking at. So we’re going to go deeper into those concepts and understand the elements of motivation, ability, and triggers.
I want to start with Ability. It’s very interesting because BJ Fogg throughout his paper calls it the element of Simplicity, with emphasis on ability. So he entertained simplicity ability because most of the time, having high ability means that the design is simple. It’s usually not necessarily the cost that is prohibitive but it’s the complexity or difficulty that reduces ability.
High Ability = Simple Design
He also says that simplicity comes from six different sources, number one, it comes from time.
So if something takes a lot of time, and everyone thinks time is a limited resource, right, they don’t have enough time to do it. Then they feel like they have lowered ability or decreased simplicity.
The second component is money. If somebody is really really expensive. They just can’t afford to do it or they feel like it’s just too expensive for them that obviously get, then they have lower ability to take the desired action because it is expensive or, in a sense, it lowers simplicity,
The third one is physical effort. Even the thought of a tremendous amount of physical lowers ability.
Sometimes, an action as normal as opening a jar actually requires so much work and we just feel like, “Oh, it’s very very hard” so it makes us not want to open these jars as much.
Another common component is actually pretty interesting and less intuitive: BJ Fogg talks about Brain Cycles. If it requires more brain cycles to think about something to like, “Oh, I get it!” or “Hm, what does it mean, I’m kind of confused,” that cognitive dissonance actually causes people to lower their ability. This makes sense that it has decreased simplicity and therefore behavior is less likely to happen.
If action A represents the social norm and Action B is far away from action A on a map, then Action B represents a deviation from the social norm. Doing so requires more effort. And ability decreases.
The final one the six components of Ability is Non-Routine. If you’re doing something again and again, it becomes a habit, doing something that’s away from your routine. So you have less ability because it’s so far from that.
From the Octalysis Perspective
Without time and money, the Anti-Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance motivates people away from certain tasks. And this must be overcome by other Core Drives.
When we look at the human brain, we notice patterns between individuals involved in creative activity. I wanted to understand this and describe it from an Octalysis lense.
The next component is that we feel a sense of autonomy over our actions. This relates to Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback. We feel we have many choices, you know, our choices matter which is what we’re engaged in making those choices and figure out what works and of course that feedback directly makes you adjust and then potentially you’re overcoming the difficult challenges.
Focus on Yourself (and Others)
Another aspect that’s very interesting is that when we are in Flow our focus isn’t on ourselves. So if you’re so focused on yourself, what you’re doing, or how do you look, you are having something like an extrinsic motivation mindset. It’s also harder, because we’re not immersed in the task itself, we are thinking about ourselves, what other people think and how the task is and so that makes the task a little hard.
When an experience is timeless it might lean towards a Flow state, which is very interesting component right because it’s a little bit different from what a lot of other things are some timeless experience which means that you will enjoy this when you’re fine you enjoy this when you’re 20 you joined this when you’re at, and also people 500years ago. Enjoy. But youstill enjoy today so that experience is timeless Hence, it just really brings you into that flow state. Finally, the experiences auto telic, which is a unique word but in a quick summary my interpretation is that all talent just means that you’re not focusing on yourself you’re alsofocusing outside of yourself which is again,kind of like the one for your folks herself, you caring about others you’re, you’re being unaware of your, your own present
Let’s put the Octalysis Framework in the context of Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory.
What follows is a rough transcription of the above video. Yu-kai speaks quickly, so fast that even artificial intelligence can’t always keep up!
Hello Octalysis Primers, today we’re going to talk about another psychological fundamentals video. The Flow Theory.
So, as we are learning about the Octalysis framework and and how to apply that to our daily lives and gamification design we also go upstream and learn about different motivational psychology concepts and one of the most iconic that I haven’t talked much about, besides in the brief Udemy course, is the Flow Theory. And the Flow Theory is created by a famous psychologist, called Mikalyi Csikszentmihalyi. One of the more challenging task and my job is to know how to pronounce his name. I’m still not confident that I spell his name really well without Google correcting my typing, but it is very influential for inspiring so I wanted to spend more time on it. I just want to talk about how the Flow Theory came about.
So Mikalyi Czikscentmihalyi wants to understand how people are feeling and how happy they’re related to 20 or 30 years ago, gave a lot of students beepers, and basically they’ll just go about doing the things in their daily lives, and every once while the beeper will ring, and then they’ll be typing in what did they do, and how do they feel about it. He realized that people are actually happier when they seem to be too challenging tasks, and they seem to be doing creative things. So he started writing about this concept called flow. Basically, flow state became one of the staples of psychology. And so basically, when a person enters the flow state, they lose a sense of time, they lose the sense of self. They’re so focused, and they feel happy, and they don’t like to be interrupted. That’s why a lot of times people say gamers are grumpy.
When people are in the flow state get interupted, they could get grumpy. By the way, of the beeper is called the Experience Sampling Method for your knowledge, but then even in this flow theory and talks about that there’s nine ways that we can achieve flow, at least in the original. So first of all, through our bodies, which is dancing, self expression, but then later on 2008 he wants to make it very clear that there’s actually kind of a difference between something being pleasurable and enjoyable. Pleasurable sometimes involves things like sex or eating good food or whatnot and those tend to not bring you into the flow state per se.
But then there’s things that are enjoyable.
Which make you go ah ha! I’m feeling challenged, creativity, and those actually make me feel in the flow state.
So actually later on, he mentions that in terms of body it could be more on the pleasurable side and it may not necessarily lead to flow. But then he talked about how the mind gets into flow which is solving hard problems, we’re solving a problem that’s very difficult. We’re just really engaged, we haven’t given up yet we really think we have a chance. Also, through our memories. He mentions that sometimes we are thinking about good memories in the past reliving that experience that can put you in a flow state too.
Also contemplating philosophical questions, so if you go to some of the Purpose videos in the Purpose Life Field.
Some are deep, or there’s no real answer but the exploration and the journey is the thing that is engaging part. A lot of times people end up being the flow state.
He always talks about sometimes communication can lead people into the flow state. I don’t know if you experienced before where you startlingly spend time with a friend that you haven’t seen for a long time. You can talk for hours and three four or five hours go by. Sometimes I have a stay over with a friend. And we’ll just talk we’re just talking, talking, I’m tired and then it’s like five or six am and the sun is coming up.
You feel really engaged in conversation with someone else.
Writing is another one, you’re expressing yourself, your thoughts, and you also reach some type of flow state I would say when I write, I am pretty engaged and I’m in the flow state, all times right these days in the meeting a lot of videos but when I write, I actually enjoyed it immensely. Lifelong learning can put you in flow, which I thought is very interesting right because other things are like short bursts lifelong learning is a long term thing but basically if you are learning throughout your life, every day you’re growing you’re learning, you actually are living in flow. And so, you feel happier you’re growing more and I think that’s what you guys are doing here in Octalysis Prime.
It’s definitely here for the sake of lifelong learning application, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist he actually said that the way he sees purpose in his life, is that every day to learn something. And every one or two weeks, he tries to get his mind blown. So, That’s kind of achieving flow state.
Next, Csikszentmihalyi talks about how potentially a job can be so satisfying, that if you believe the flow state especially if it is gamified, we talk about the components of that, how the job, bring you into the flow state. I think it does connect to some of the things earlier like solving for problems, things like that but as a separate thing.
And then finally solitude would be the final way to achieve flow, being by yourself contemplating thinking, for me, maybe it’s designing that, actually, which is going to flow and meditating is for me just quiet meditating is painful and time goes by very very slowly so I’m definitely not in flow. What I’m just trying to have simple, but when I am seeking original thoughts, right just contemplating by myself, so many things. So those are the ways that we can achieve flow.
Now, how do we know when flow has been achieved?
They don’t all have to be there but he says number one is that the task is just a we believe that we can like I said something difficult right it is. It’s like, maybe not as hard. He talks about, we are able to focus all of our effort attention on the task so what’s going on here that it’s very very difficult to achieve that flow state. Remember I said when you are interrupted from flow, you actually feel grumpy so that means you are fully in attention, concentrating, you haven’t been interrupted. Right. Number three is very interesting our goals are clearly defined, we know we’re trying to go for, and that pushing slow. The fourth is we received immediate feedback, which includes course correction so we know the goal, and we have direction we see feedback and we’re adjusting right. Obviously, that’s a lot of time how games are designed.
That’s the way a lot of games put people in the flow state. Now, I feel like some of it may not connect to some of the things we mentioned above, which is like sometimes we get philosophical questions you can say you’re trying to figure it out.
I don’t know if it’s feedback or say so I feel like, not all these things have a clear goal, even reliving memories I would say that isn’t a clear goal. These are not describing some of these experiences. And this is where we understand this intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. Having a goal is a bit more Development and Accomplishment, dealing challenges is also Development/Accomplishment, having autonomy, giving people a sense of choice, that’s more intrinsic, right but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have flow.
So I think, with a goal of, you can achieve flow state but that’s not necessarily like all these components. They’re just identifying there’s patterns, and other components that are time spent on the task seem effortless to us, it’s not like grinding. It just flows right that’s what’s called the flow state. It just flows, feels natural if this harmonious. There’s no resistance to it we just feel like one with the universe and our tasks. And it’s just poetry even in a lot of the ancient Chinese martial art novels or whatnot, you know there’s a swordsman that he’s learning all these sorts of techniques, and then at one point, he just becomes one with a sword he doesn’t recognize that He exists in the sporting environment. He’s just being in this sword, waving poetry.
This guest post was written by Jonathan Palay, Co-founder of CommercialTribe.
Why Sales Manager Motivation Needs A Makeover
Use new levers to improve performance
Previously, we explored the core drivers of motivation in the sales organization and why our traditional coin-operated, compliance-driven sales culture may finally be ripe for disruption in Why Seller Motivation Needs a Makeover.
Conventional wisdom suggests that we place more training and development emphasis on the seller. Look no further than the budget spent on training sellers vs. managers. In this article, let’s explore why the frontline sales manager is actually the key to change, their current sources of motivation, and how to disrupt the status quo to build a sustainable revenue generating machine.
Sales Managers’ Complex Task List
Most sales managers started as great sellers. Then, they are promoted into a management position where we expect them to gain a completely new skill set than the one that made them a successful seller overnight. Here are just a few of the common tasks sales managers are expected to perform on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis:
Field Travel or Joint Calling
1on1s and Team Meetings
Account Plan Reviews
Territory Plan Reviews
Win / Loss
Quarterly Business Reviews
Hiring and Recruiting
Rewards and Recognition
The sales management hierarchy uses Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance to drive compliance and ensure these tasks are happening on schedule. Are our reps doing effective discovery? Join the sales call. Forecast needs to roll up. Better vet it. Is a key deal we’re forecasting to close qualified? Deal review time.
We expect managers to perform these tasks. But doing them well…that’s another story. Try sitting in a forecast review and you may be less confident about the forecast, but you will learn more about that particular seller’s upcoming weekend plans!
Don’t Miss Your Quota
Managers, like sellers, are on a variable comp plan. But, instead of being responsible for one quota, managers are responsible for a team quota. The average sales manager gets about 50% of his sellers to goal, but that is not going to cut it. So how do sales managers make plan? Most managers have a couple stars they can count on to overachieve and maybe they even sell a few deals themselves.
The quota system relies on Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience as managers race to capture their earnings opportunity for the time period before it evaporates. It’s no wonder busy sales managers feel justified abandoning some of the tasks we previously explored that don’t help them draw a straight line toward delivering their number this quarter. For everyone in the sales organization, the short-term pressure to hit quota can feel overwhelming. What’s a sales manager to do?
Overreliance on Black Hat Core Drives is Fatiguing
Core Drives 6 and 8 are Black Hat, making us feel obsessed, anxious, and addicted. While they are very strong in motivating behavior, in the long run they leave us feeling fatigued because we feel like we have lost control.
For the sales manager, this often means managing their team feels more like a game of Survivor than a successful career. When half of your reps are underperforming, you have open headcount and one of your best sellers is threatening to quit, it can feel like the job never ends. It’s no wonder managers are left feeling overwhelmed and underdeveloped. As a result, the tasks we expect them to perform to help their team hit quota are either sub-optimized or abandoned entirely.
Getting More Of Your Sales Managers To Plan
The sales manager role has gotten far more complex over the years, but we are still using the same motivational drivers to try to achieve our goals. With today’s millennial-minded sales manager who is looking to be developed and not just hit a number, these forces threaten to either burn people out or churn them out of your organization entirely.
Sales and enablement leaders need a thoughtful plan to counteract these forces that drives long-term engagement and skills mastery. These are known as White Hat drivers. White Hat drivers make us feel powerful, fulfilled and satisfied. It may sound obvious, but consistently getting more managers to plan relies on getting more sellers to plan. And the only reliable way to get more sellers to plan is to develop your sales managers into coaches.
Use Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling, to help your sales managers realize their higher purpose beyond just delivering their team quota. The best way to tap into their inner Tony Robbins is to coach the coach. Observing sellers in action to provide coaching is commonplace through joint calling or even field travel, but for some reason we don’t apply the same philosophy to our managers. Help them realize their calling by sitting in a one-on-one between manager and seller. Don’t talk, just listen, and then use this observation to coach the coach. Coaching your managers to become better coaches will light the motivational fuse that reminds them why they became a sales manager in the first place!
Give Your Sales Managers A Choice
To many, coaching is one of those disciplines that is way more art than science. But if you are going to democratize coaching for all your managers, you will need to demystify what the best coaches in the world do intuitively.
Use Core Drive 3: Empowerment and Creativity to not only get all your managers on the same page, but also make them feel enfranchised in the process. To do so, look no further than the list of activities expected of sales managers we discussed above. I’m sure you have a point of view on what should happen during those activities. Build a list of criteria.
Now here’s the magic: Put those criteria in front of your sales managers and let them choose which criteria matter to them. What they choose may be different than what you intended but by giving them a choice, they are FAR more likely to use them to coach their teams.
Time for Your Motivation Makeover
The Black Hat core drives that motivate sales manager behavior aren’t going away anytime soon. And even the White Hat techniques discussed won’t be sustained without becoming part of a larger system that makes managers feel like coaching isn’t such a deadlift each time.
Think about what drives motivation for your sales managers. Do you feel like the shoe might drop any quarter? Is it time for a sales manager motivation makeover? Try integrating these white hat techniques into a quarterly plan focused on improving one interaction within the teams workflow. For your sales managers, the goal is to establish a system that puts sales team development on auto pilot.
Jonathan Palay is Co-Founder at CommercialTribe, a SaaS platform to onboard, develop and coach sales professionals. Read more of Jonathan’s work here.
Whether you get good or bad news, or something in between, doesn’t matter.
The inbox provides an abundance of curiosity.
Even before you open it, you are probably receiving a small dopamine hit.
In gamification terms, you are staring at a massive mystery box.
But it is better than that.
The email inbox is an entire list or group of mystery boxes within the larger mystery box. I like to call this the Meta Mystery Box (Or, if you like, the Epic Mystery Box.)
The Meta Mystery Box is so powerful that I’m predicting the email inbox will survive for a long, long, time.
Other Core Drives in the Inbox
Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance: Changing your email address, losing contacts, and the hassle of merging to other email clients all make us tend to stay with whatever client you have.
Loss and Avoidance also plays into not wanting to miss important news from your boss or friends.
This plays at the micro level. When you consider pressing that tiny unsubscribe button after the fourteenth email this month from a once-useful-but-now annoying spammer, you still wonder if you might miss out on something useful from the sender in the future.
This, by the way, is anticipatory regret. It is real, and that is probably for the next post.
Let me know if you visited the Meta Mystery Box today and why you did! No harm if you did, just curious to know why you tapped the icon or opened a new tab. For more advanced game techniques and discussions applied to real projects, join the vibrant community of learners at Octalysis Prime.
Suddenly our agency matters. Paths diverge. Your future changes.
This might sound a touch dramatic, but if nothing else, life seems to be all about sacrifice.
On the flip side of every decision you make is something you didn’t do, didn’t get to do, didn’t have the time or energy or motivation to do.
And of course, some choices even involve further sacrifice.
The decision to learn the trade of an astrophysicist may involve sacrificing time with the family across many years. The same could be said for an aspiring all-time-great novelist.
The Noble Sacrifice
Sacrifice is often left out of discussions of top-performing women in the workplace. Many women, and rightfully so, choose to sacrifice career to have kids, raise their children, and build a family.
That is a noble sacrifice.
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than ever before.”
That, for many people over and over again, is the sacrifice that, on one hand limits their career, but on the other, augments the total quality of their life.
So let us not too quickly dismiss with sacrifice.
Sacrifice seems to augment our motivations. It seems to make the things we did choose and will choose to do even more powerful, because the sacrifice itself is of the many things that could have also been done, that were left undone, just so the pursuit of what mattered most could be achieved.
Maybe more sacrifice should be included in our motivational designs, and more human empathy employed tho to our users, who are also humans, in making the tough choices they face. We are all making a sacrifice at almost every moment of our day.
For more thought-provoking design and gamification discussions prompted by input from a vibrant community of thinkers, check out Octalysis Prime.