How about a pizza party, an ice cream party, a big yellow star on your forehead? Many leaders have experimented with the art of incentives and rewards — and many do so at their own peril. If they get a pizza party this month for boosting their home teaching by 20% then what do they get next month? And the month after that? If not used correctly, incentives can turn home teaching from a sacred work that changes lives into a silly game.

Reward Vital Behaviors, Not Just Results

Incentives are not totally off the table when it comes to home teaching. The important focus is to reward vital behaviors and not results. If you are simply rewarding 100% home teaching for the month then it misses the point of home teaching. However, by finding ways to reward vital behaviors of home teaching (calling each family before the 5th, contact with companion, personal contact with families during church) it is more sincere and helps achieve the overall purpose.

How do you reward? Avoid extrinsic rewards (activities or physical rewards) that make quorum members feel like you are throwing them a bone. Instead focus on intrinsic rewards. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • During quorum meeting recognize specific individuals by explaining a positive experience they had while home teaching. When recognizing an individual in front of their peers it becomes more rewarding than any slice of pizza.
  • Accompany them (or have one of your counselors do so) on their next home teaching appointments and spend some time explaining to the family how influential their home teacher is. Again, recognizing the individual in front of others is powerful.
  • Celebrate every bit of progress. As you meet with these brethren one-on-one point out the change that has happened with the families they home teach. By pointing out these details it helps remind them of the intrinsic rewards they are receiving from home teaching.
  • Take time to share quorum progress in relation to home teaching with the entire quorum. Instead of just showing home teaching visit percentage focus on results such as how many reactivations happened or special help that may have been given to a specific family that made a difference.

The pizza party is not totally off the table. In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, author Daniel Pink talks about using “now that” rewards rather than “if-then” rewards. Instead of offering the pizza party before the desired result–offer it after the task is completed.

President Pepperoni: Brethren, I am so impressed by the impact your home teaching efforts had this month it would be wrong for us not to celebrate such a feat. This Wednesday let’s get together and have some pizza at my place.

What are other intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that can help motivate home teaching?

 Read part 5>>>

Solving Home Teaching Through the Six-Source Model is a series of posts based off of the book Influencer: The Power to Change Anything.

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