Progress Principle: You're More Important Than You Think

Posted on 10th Jan 2012 by Scott Goodson in Blog

Do you feel that you contribute to something that matters in your job? Or do you think you’re given just a lot of meaningless tasks?

The fact is that if you don’t think what you’re doing actually matters, then you won’t be motivated to achieve. You won’t reach your goals. You won’t be recognised for what you’re doing. And you won’t make any progress.

But why is this need to feel we’re doing something worthy so important? It’s actually a key component of an interesting theory many businesses adopt called the Progress Principle. It is also a book by Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School. Basically, it’s a method which encourages bosses to praise employees for achievements – no matter how small – in order to ultimately motivate, improve performance and ensure progress.

It works simply because people want to feel they are contributing to something that matters – something that matters to the business or industry they work in.

And it’s the same reason Cultural Movements work. The Progress Principle can and should be applied to marketing now. People want to be part of something that’s great, something which matters to them, something which makes a difference. So they contribute, they participate, they spread the word – resulting in a sense of belonging, which in turn leads to loyalty.

One could argue that if you’re not using – or at least thinking about the Progress Principle this way you’re marketing backwards in a forwards world.

This desire to be part of something that makes a real, tangible difference is also one of the main factors of ‘Kaizen’ – a Japanese ideology adopted in business and industries worldwide which simply means ‘change for the better’ and promotes continuous improvement, whether that’s productivity or processes. Those who spark the ‘kaizen’ receive recognition for their progress, which in turn leads to more innovation and more progress.

But again for it to be successful it ultimately relies on the participation and contribution of every member of the workforce.

This way of sparking collective change through individual action is again present in Movement Marketing. What can one person do on his own? Yet when you bring together like-minded individuals, suddenly there’s change afoot.

So really, you are more important than you might think. Your participation, engagement and motivation are vital to make things a success. It’s why more brands are beginning to spark their own Cultural Movements. They’ve finally recognised just how important – and how powerful – you are.

blog comments powered by Disqus