Don't Check Emotions at the Door

Minneapolis | September 24, 2007

It used to be that if industry captains wanted to modify employee behavior, they would mandate a change. As worker's rights evolved, changes were negotiated. In recent years, successful companies engaged employees (or channel partners or franchisees) with an explanation of why a change was needed and then expected them to see the light and fall in line.

Today, engaging employees is more a matter of appealing to their emotions and sense of what's right. The Gallup Organization reported in a 2004 study that decision making is 70 percent emotional and just 30 percent rational. This means that to engage the hearts and minds of employees (or customers), companies must understand that appealing to emotions is a strong motivator. From there, the rational brain searches to support the emotional decision.

An understanding of this decision-making principle gives new focus to the development of events, incentive programs and face-to-face meetings designed to influence behavior.

To help shed light on the interacting forces at work, Carlson Marketing has created the Positive Engagement Model™. It reflects new insight to applying positive emotions to business development. The model capitalizes on the realization that work is no longer just about getting a paycheck; workers now are looking for meaning in their jobs. They want to be significant and make a difference.

"Our research into motivation has drawn together disparate evidences that strongly support positive engagement as a business growth tool,"said Fay Beauchine, executive vice president, Carlson Marketing Global Meetings, Incentives & Events. "By appealing to an employee's emotional side, encouraging the hearts as well as the minds, a company strengthens its emotional connection with the employee and invites the 'whole person' to show up for work every day. When we design a meeting, event or incentive program, we rely on this emotional involvement to strengthen the experience and strengthen the employee-company bond."

The six components of positive engagement to capture the hearts as well as the minds of employees, according to Carlson Marketing, are: Innovation, Mastery, Achievement, Appreciation, Connection and Well-Being. While most programs don't employ all the components, the more they are included, the more impactful the event, recognition and rewards program, or meeting will be.

Beauchine says that when you connect employee passions to a common goal or set of values, the impossible becomes possible ... and through an ongoing culture of positive engagement, the impossible becomes a daily occurrence.

To get a copy of the Carlson Marketing white paper, "Don't Check Emotions at the Door," send an email to

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