Lessons from Scooby-Doo

For years I worked in a change management role, serving as a counselor, therapist, consultant and strategist. Behavior is pretty simple because it’s more predictable than you’d imagine. Even Shaggy and Scooby-Doo understood the basics:

Shaggy: Scoob, go in that dark room and see if there’s a monster in there.

Scooby: Nuh-huh! Ruk wew!

Shaggy: Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?

Scooby: Nuh-huh! Nuh ray!

Shaggy: Would you do it for two Scooby Snacks?

Scooby: Nuh-huh!

Shaggy: Would you do it for three Scooby Snacks?

Scooby: Roa-kay!

Shaggy had something that Scooby wanted, and he held it out to Scooby to motivate Scooby’s behavior. Once motivated, Scooby became willing to do whatever it was that Shaggy requested. In the case of the cartoon, Shaggy and Scooby both got what they wanted out of the exchange: Shaggy got the room de-monstered, Scooby got his treat.

From a behavioral side, Shaggy did one thing very right. And he did one thing wrong.

On the plus column, kudos to Shaggy for knowing what cranked up Scooby. Shaggy understood Scooby’s love of snacks. You have to have a relationship with someone to know how to please him and motivate him. It would be hard to motivate a diabetic by offering him a slab of fudge!

If you want to motivate someone, know what he or she wants or likes.

On the do-better-next-time side, Shaggy didn’t offer Scooby a reward; he offered Scooby a BRIBE. A reward comes AFTER someone delivers; a bribe comes BEFORE. Give up the cookie or snack too soon, you might have a content puppy who refuses to shake, roll over or play dead.

If you want to motivate someone, tell them what you want them to do and what they can expect to receive…but don’t deliver the reward until after they produce the goods.

Zoinks! Gotta run. It appears that the Cartoon Network is hosting a Scoob-a-thon!

0 Comments Add yours

  1. Laurence says:

    Sometimes, rather than bribe, you can call it incentive… 🙂
    Some people need a little more “motivation” than others, and if the carrot on the stick works, well… Just means you know your donkey!

  2. Suzie Repova says:

    Hi Scot, can’t believe you actually wrote a blog on this LOL. I watched this with my kids and though of putting it in my parents training 🙂 Any chance you can help me track this video somewhere, please 🙂 Suzie

    1. Hi Suzie. I can’t find an uploaded video of this exchange, but I owned the series…and this exchange happened in nearly episode from the original series (70s and 80s). Good luck!

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