Think of a time in your life when you knew you were being watched and made a different choice – a better choice – because of it. A day maybe, when you were out with a friend and decided to pop into a convenience store to buy snacks. Instead of reaching for old faithful, your favorite chocolate bar, you go for a sugar-free fruit bar instead.

Whether we realize it or not, we all participate in the Hawthorne effect. That is, we tend to be on our best behavior when we know we’re being watched. People who are being watched not only make better choices, but also tend to perform better. However, once the focus is off, we often go back to our usual habits and reach for that chocolate bar.

The influence of the Hawthorne Effect, that we act better when we think we’re being observed, is extremely powerful in how other people have a direct effect on the choices we make in their presence. The intriguing part of this though, is just how successful the Hawthorne effect is at reinforcing positive behaviors.

The Hawthorn effect has proven particularly useful in the corporate world. An article from Harvard Business School shows that companies who do not take the variables of people and culture into consideration are far less likely to be successful than companies that do. From a leadership point of view, the Hawthorn effect is an excellent way to encourage peak performance.

Research shows that the influence others have on us is much greater than we recognize. It’s a fact that our own influence on others is powered by:

• 7% on the words we use.
• 38% on our voice (speed, volume, pace, tone).
• 55% on body language and facial expression.

Australian-born sociologist Elton Mayo, who eventually became a professor of industrial research at Harvard, once wrote, “the desire to stand well with one’s fellows, the so-called human instinct of association, easily outweighs the merely individual interest and the logic of reasoning upon which so many spurious principles of management are based.”

Additional research lead him to later add, “the working group as a whole actually determined the output of individual workers by reference to a standard that represented the group conception (rather than management’s) of a fair day’s work. This standard was rarely, if ever, in accord with the standards of the efficiency engineers.”

Consciously making choices to surround yourself with other people on the same path as you – being around non-smokers, fitness motivated friends, successful business people – is an effective way to innately want to please them with your own actions. Thus, you will make better choices that can lead toward accomplishing your own ambitions.

Motivation is, in essence, energy for action that will lead us closer to our goals. The level of your motivation will affect everything you do in your life. How you are motivated determines your work efficiency.
Article Author: Smiljan Mori is the founder of MindOver™ Network, Brilliant solutions for Performance, Motivation and Happiness. He has literally created a successful business and coaching empire from scratch and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who brings unparalleled professional experience and the latest scientific research from neuroscience and positive psychology to audiences around the globe. He has shown more than 150,000 people from 50 countries how to change their lives for the better.

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Article References:
Motivaction For Life by Smiljan Mori
http://prijipati.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/4494/1/Vol6No1Article7.pdf
http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/hawthorne/09.html
http://www.economist.com/node/12510632

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