Using Motivators to Motivate Without Money: Motivating a Theorical
  • Published on: January 17, 2024
  • By: Dr. Michael Abelson
  • Category: Coaching|DISC & Motivators Certification|Leadership|Motivators/Driving Forces

A Question?

Does your spouse only do things for you if you pay them?

Does your best friend only do things for you because you pay them?

Do YOU only do things for others when they pay you?

Of course NOT!!! We do things for spouses, friends, our children, and some times even strangers, without getting paid. So, why would people at work only do things for money. They DON’T!!! There are so many other ways to motivate people. Let’s look at how to motivate people who’s primary motivation is “Theoretical.”

How Do We Know If Someone Is A “Theoretical?”

The easiest way to identify a “Theoretical” is to look at your Abelson Report. There is a section in your report on Motivators. Go to your report now and look at what it says about “Theoreticals.”

For now, let’s look at a few ways to identify someone who is easily motivated by “Theoretical” rewards. “Theoreticals” are rational, empirically minded, intellectually oriented, and are knowledge focused, always attempting to discover the “truth” in things. Here are a few examples of that to expect. Do they read their phone or tablet at night before bed? Are they always reading some thing? Is TV only good for documentaries or knowledge-based shows? Do vacations always have some learning experience attached? Do they love asking questions to better understand topics or people? If so, these types of things motivate them.

How Do You Motivate “Theoreticals” Without Money

Again, check your Abelson Assessment report. The report will have a page on ways to motivate them. The higher their score as a “Theoretical,” the more motivated they will be by the below & similar techniques:

Engage them in a discussion on a subject they are interested in.

If they have teaching skills, offer them the chance to teach others something they know well.

Praise them, especially in front of others, for their knowledge or understanding of people and/or something of importance.

Offer them the opportunity to go to a training experience, giving them time off to go to the training. This doesn’t cost the organization a penny. If you are kind, offer to partially or fully pay for their training, or their transportation. But, it’s really not necessary that you offer them anything financial.

In Summary

We could go on and on with examples, but you get the point. There are so many ways to motivate a “Theoretical” without using money at all. In fact, the “Theoretical” is going to be MORE motivated by the “Theoretical” reward than by money. Why, because in most cases, the something “Theoretical” is MORE VALUABLE to them than is money.

Look for our other articles on Motivating Without Money by Dr. Abelson, or just invite Dr. A to present to your group. You’ll have a fun experience, learn how to motivate others in ways that are more motivating than money, your organization will get more accomplished because people are more motivated, and your organization will have a much better “bottom line” with more work from people and less pay to people.

The Abelson Group - Dr. Michael Abelson

About the author

Michael Abelson, B.A., M.A., MBA, Ph.D. is an expert on interviewing, hiring, team building, retention, and leadership selection and development.

With over 40 years of experience consulting, keynote speaking, training and using objective assessment tools, his processes and HR solutions have saved clients time, money, and from making many poor hiring decisions.

He can be contacted at or 979-696-2222.

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