Essentially, the level of engagement exhibited by an individual is predicated on both their capability and their motivation. BJ Fogg’s behaviour model suggests that these two factors must both be present at the time of some trigger event. The Fogg model is typically used by designers to influence the flow of user interaction with software. Of course, it can also apply to behaviour in a variety of other situations.

(c) harveysart / 123RF Stock Photo

(c) harveysart / 123RF Stock Photo

If we start from a position that an individual, team or organization has the necessary capability to act in a certain way (often the case) then the driving factor that will influence any behavioural outcome will be their motivation. When a change of behaviour is required it becomes imperative to tackle motivation head-on. Triggers typically arise naturally from ongoing activities and can be quite straightforward to create if needed. Supporting these triggers we need a reinforcement mechanism that rewards desired behaviour and corrects inappropriate behaviours; feedback is a key part of the puzzle.

Starting with motivation, the first step is that of ensuring adequate awareness of the expectation – the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. But before leaping ahead with the ‘how’ there is an intermediate step of WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) to overcome – it is critical that this “desire” step is not overlooked or there will be poor engagement and a reluctance to use the underlying capability.

The kind of things that most affect motivation stem from our primitive fears and largely focus on our sense of belonging to a tribe, our position within that tribe, our ability to make our own choices, a sense of fair play and how we expect these things to be affected in the future. David Rock has written extensively about this (for example, in his book ‘Your Brain At Work’).

Once new behaviours have emerged it is important to prevent backsliding and this requires feedback. It is important that feedback is regular, objective and provided for both desired and undesired behaviours. A simple and effective model is summarised here: (a) ask for permission [is this an appropriate place and time for feedback to be effective?], (b) state objectively what was observed, (c) state objectively what you believe the impact to be, (d) (if undesired behaviour) ask them what they can do about it? [ie they devise and own the solution] (e) summarise and ensure accountability is accepted or praise/thanks is delivered (as appropriate). It should be quick and painless. I first encountered this model from the guys at ‘’ and it works a treat.

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AuthorTrevor Lindars