13 Things that Scare the Devil Out of Me, Revisited

A few years ago I created my own bewitching list of things that scared me.  I have dusted off that list and provided an updated view of my top thirteen frightening things.  I’m afraid to say that after two years, there are a few still scaring the devil out of me.

  1. People who think they can change behavior by telling.
  2. ANYONE who uses the words intrinsic motivation.
  3. Writers who write that neuroscientists have discovered how to read your mind.
  4. Managers whose knowledge of behavior is limited to personal experience.
  5. Safety managers who think risky habits can be changed by a reward.
  6. Organizations who have an Employee of the Month program and think it does something valuable.
  7. Organizations that can’t figure out that the performance appraisal process is broken and can’t be fixed.
  8. People who think punishment solves problems at home and at work.
  9. Organizations that reward employees who “hit the numbers” without knowing the behaviors that made it happen (think Veterans Administration).
  10. Companies that promote the best technician, engineer, or whoever, to a supervisory position without them having a scientific understanding of behavior.
  11. Economists who write as though they are experts in behavior and the people who believe what they write to be truth.
  12. Parents who don’t understand that being positive at the wrong time can create more problems. (Oh, and while we are on the subject of parents, also those helicopter parents that swoop in to make everything better when what children need is to learn how to handle conflict, responsibility, and right from wrong.)
  13. Dan Pink and Alfie Kohn still scare me along with anyone who believes they know anything about motivation.


Posted by Aubrey Daniels, Ph.D.

Aubrey is a thought leader and expert on management, leadership, safety and workplace issues. For the past 40 years, he has been dedicated to helping people and organizations apply the laws of human behavior to optimize performance.