What's In It For Me?

30.11.18 10:32 PM Comment(s) By Nikole

In both business and your personal life, there is a key question you should keep in the back of your mind whenever you are asking someone for something. That question is, "What's in it for me?" You should be able to easily answer that question before you make any request of another person. People are generally motivated by their own personal goals and direction. If you are not able to answer this question, it will be almost impossible to get the other person to do what you are asking, or get that other person to make a behavior change.


This can be seen in many examples in the medical field. Life changes are hard, which is why many people don't make them. Look at some of the hardest life changes that we as nurses often ask people to make:

  • Loose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol and other drugs
  • Consistently get to work on time
  • Exercise
  • Spend quality time with family and loved ones
  • Reduce time watching TV

As clinicians we know that these behaviors help extend life and increase quality of life itself. However, it's incredibly hard to get people to change. There are many of these things that also plague us as clinicians ourselves, even when we know they are bad for us!

Put yourself in their shoes

Instead of looking at these changes from the outside, try putting yourself in the shoes of your patient and specifically ask the question, "What's in it for me?" When talking to a patient about quitting smoking, don't just focus on the health benefits. If the patient has children you can discuss how he might want to see his kids graduate college one day. If he continues smoking, there will be a much greater chance that he won't be around for that event. Before using this technique however, you need to understand what truly motivates a person. He might not care about his son's graduation, but might instead respond more to a discussion about celebrating his son's 21st birthday in Vegas.

Managing a Team

This same concept applies when you are trying to motivate your team to change their actions. If there is an associate who is coming in late, you may be able to use this concept instead of having to rely on discipline right off the bat. So long as you understand what that person's driver is, you may be able to focus on that instead of just the negative. This all comes down to taking time and caring about your team, what motivates them, and recognizing how you can be an agent of positive change.

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