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Primed to Perform

Primed to Perform

by Neel Doshi, Lindsay McGregor


871 reads


"…why do your people come to work every day? If they come to work because their organization inspires the direct motives—play, purpose, and potential—they are likely performing at their best. If the culture is dominated by indirect motives—emotional pressure, economic pressure, or inertia—their p...

Why People Perform An Activity

Direct motives ( they drive performance)

  • Play: It occurs when you’re engaging in an activity simply because you enjoy doing it.
  • Purpose: you do an activity because you value the outcome of the activity
  • Potential: you do...

Regarding work, play is the freedom to experiment, contemplate, and continuously improve processes to achieve a larger objective.

Purpose is the second-highest motivator. People need to identify with their company’s primary objective and see how they make ...

Money: An Effective Activator

  • Money might be the reason we accept a new position or promotion, but after the initial action, it doesn’t motivate us to do better work.
  • Emotional pressure like the potential for prestigious promotions or recognition doesn’t motivate better work.

  • They are people who show up for the money. They increase the size of a group but don’t increase productivity.  They are created when people don’t see the value of their work, their individual contributions can’t be determined, and they don’t know the other people in the grou...


"Academic researchers have found that tactical performance goals focus people on just the appearance of competence. Adaptive goals focus people on becoming competent."

Tactical Performance Goals and Adaptive Goals

A tactical performance goal is requiring workers to achieve a metric the organization has set to measure performance.

An adaptive goal is asking employees to test new strategies regardless of the outcome to discover the best way to reach company objectives...

They acknowledge both tactical and adaptive performance and create conditions so workers can identify whether or not they are meeting performance criteria.

They foster play by empowering their teams with adaptive goals, they set a clear vision to create a ...

Economic And Emotional Pressures

The stress and anxiety from economic and emotional pressure cancel out the effects of positive motivators play, purpose and potential. We focus on attaining financial and emotional goals to get our needs satisfied, and we can’t relax and settle into productive work.


  • Quid pro quo leaders: They believe in giving rewards for good behavior and punishments to control bad behavior. They produce high levels of emotional pressure, Inertia, and economic pressure.
  • Hands-off leaders: They use neither direct or indirect mot...

Healthy Communities

  • In a community, we have common values and responsibilities because of our interdependence and common goals. For a community to be healthy, its members must feel like citizens or responsible, contributing members.
  • Citizenship is an adaptive performance behavio...

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