Monday, October 26, 2015

HOW TO MOTIVATE : MICE – The Best Motivation Theory

Musings on Human Resource Management

Numerous theories of motivation have been formulated  tomes and tomes have been written on the subject of motivation  and Management Gurus pontificate to their hearts’ content on how to motivate.

Let me try and make the art of motivation simple. 

I feel that, in a nutshell, all the motivators  or motivating factors  can be encapsulated in the acronym MICE

Let’s expand MICE – Money, Insecurity, Cause, Ego...




E:   EGO


In  today’s world Money is probably the primary motivating factor. 

Money Motivates. 

Need I say more?


Fear and Insecurity have always been most powerful motivators for ages. 

Though this is a form of manipulative motivation and negative in nature  creating Fear and Insecurity are used as manipulative motivation tools very often by many organizations and bosses to “motivate” individuals.

One way of creating a sense of insecurity is to threaten to use the weapon of transfer if you don’t toe the line. 

Fear is even deadlier  like the fear of losing your job

This motivation tool is used effectively in the private sector.

Of course  the fear of losing your life (fear of death)  or fear of physical harm  are the ultimate powerful motivators.

These type of motivation” techniques are especially prevalent in the Army (and Defence Services) – particularly during initial training.


Many idealistic persons are motivated for a Cause 
– an ideology, belief, passion, love, ambition, or to realize one’s “life-mission”. 

This is the highest quality of self-actualization type motivation.


The role of Ego, pride, self-importance, self-respect [“izzat”] and self-esteem as a motivator is significant in some cases. 

This is a high quality “self-esteem” type of motivation.


MICE and Motivation – they are inextricably linked, aren’t they?

Tell me  isn’t this MICE Theory of Motivation so breathtaking in its simplicity?

The art of motivation is so easy. 

When you want to motivate someone  just remember MICE – and see which factor (MoneyInsecurityCause or Ego) applies the best in the particular case. 

Throw in the MONEY – Create a Sense of Fear and INSECURITY – Give them a CAUSE – Massage their EGO – use one  or more  of these 4 factors  depending on the situation.

Try it. 

It works. 

You can take my word for it.

I wonder why we have all those high-falutin esoteric motivational management theories taught at B-Schools, when all you need is MICE for Motivation.

In some of my future blog posts – I will try and give you some examples of MICE Motivation that I have come across during my career in the Navy and Academia.

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