Motivating Change: “Show Me How I Can”

We’ve recently seen two reminders of an important lesson in human motivation that is often forgotten.

One comes from the financial sector, through a presentation at the CFSI Underbanked Financial Services Forum.

Jennifer Tescher, the President and CEO of CFSI (Center for Financial Services Innovation), mentioned in her opening remarks to the Underbanked Forum that Americans are reordering their priorities as a result of the financial crisis and recent recession. They are trying to reduce debt and save more. They are learning to “spend well.” This mind and behavioral shift means financial organizations must convince their customers that they are in the financial health business, and that they can help their customers meet their financial health goals with tools and services that provide them with the “I can do it” feeling.

Sending out an sms

These financial organizations include the government. Check out Jennifer’s comments about the Treasury Department’s decision to add a web- and mobile-based financial education hub to Direct Express. This will help people who receive government benefits access the payments system in a more efficient manner and, in the process, help them meet their own goals to be more financially proficient.

The second reminder relates to health and nutrition, and comes to us through a release of new research from IFIC (International Food Information Council), a nonprofit, public education organization focused on health and nutrition issues. IFIC released their annual Food and Health Survey, which reveals Americans’ perspectives on food safety, nutrition, and a variety of other topics. An important finding: people want to hear the message: “you can” instead of “you should.”  In promoting the study IFIC tweeted: “This is true for me, but others too! Americans prefer ‘can-do’ messages about healthful diets rather than a list of don’ts.”

Beautiful woman cooking with receipt on laptop

At Artemis Strategy Group we spend our time determining what motivates people to change their perceptions and ultimately their behavior. Our Motivation Research continually reinforces this important lesson that applies as much to financial services as it does to health and nutrition: People often know they should make a change. They just don’t want to be TOLD they should change. They are open to hearing about services if they are guided respectfully. Simple tools to help them achieve their goals are welcomed. In short, people are motivated by being told they can make the change they desire.

For more information, ideas and applications of motivation research, see our “Persuade Me!” and “Positioning an Organization” articles.