Don’t Incentivize; Motivate

Words, words, words: consider the following question I saw in LinkedIn:

How do you incentivise an un-paid worker to deliver?

Whatever happened to the word “motivate?” Don’t we use incentives to motivate people? Why do we have to invent more jargon (incentivize) to say things for which we already have words?

Bob Sutton had a nice post recently on this same idea. He called it Language That Makes me Squirm. If you look at the comments you’ll find me there asking him to give me “core competence” back — I use that one a lot — but I’m with him on a lot of other terms. Are you tired of heavy lifting, multitasking, and thinking outside of the box? We do overuse the popular phrases. And, once overused, they lose meaning.


  • Matt | Small Biz Bee says:

    Hey great post! Those words are so overused they become meaningless…plus I am a firm believer that anyone who says "thinking outside the box" is totally unable to.


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