page title icon How To Develop Intrinsic Motivation In The Human System: A Responsibility-Based Framework

Learn how to create influence so people can develop intrinsic motivation without all the control mechanisms.

Every human being has the potential to become their best selves. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the control system limits our potential. It is very important for every individual to develop their own internal motivation in order to realize their full potential.

In this episode, Judy Ryan shares her responsibility-based approach in the human system where people are intrinsically motivated to develop their true selves and unleash their full potential.

Meet Judy Ryan. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the 5th of 6 children. She had a safe and affectionate upbringing. However, her parents believed their job was to instill only the beliefs and behaviors they believed in, within each of their children without any input from them. This was challenging as her parents were extreme in their views about politics and religion. Because there was not receptivity to the unique thoughts and feelings of the children, Judy and her siblings were intellectually and emotionally neglected and oppressed. This has led to Judy’s work. 

Judy’s mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives. She raised her own 5 children on a shared power, responsibility-based model. By the time her children were 4 years old, they each knew how to run a weekly family meeting in which leadership was rotated. Everyone had a voice and shared power. The parenting model Judy used focused on developing leadership, intrinsic motivation, emotional intelligence and task ownership so her kids could manage their relationships, their own productivity, engagement and more. She eliminated common practices that would diminish each one’s needs to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing. Instead of stopping at loving her children, she listened to their ideas and feelings, helping them learn to lead and follow flexibly and to be critical thinkers rather than people pleasers. In using this model, Judy healed her own childhood deficits and saw the positive impacts possible in other settings. This is the basis of her decades of work in corporate, non-profit, government, education, family settings and more.

Beginning in the mid-80s Judy taught a human systems model to parents. Then in 1998, she began to work full time with companies to bring them concepts aligned with what is now recognized as transformational leadership and team culture evolution. 

Because she was initially a parent doing this alone, her work involves engaging all stakeholders. For example, when working in a corporate setting, she involves the entire workforce, from CEO to front-line staff. When working in school reform, she and her team at LifeWork Systems engaged teachers, school administrators, parents, a neighborhood team AND the students. For this she has won awards. 

The legacy Judy is proud to leave behind can be described by a recent call she received. A school Principal called her in spring of 2021. She had participated in Judy’s school reform model in her first year of teaching 20 years earlier. She told Judy that not only did she become an exceptional teacher and Principal, she won teacher of the year awards multiple times, and attributes her effectiveness with students to what she learned from Judy. She said schools were just now bringing in a program similar to Judy’s Redirecting Negative Behavior topic (an alternative to punishment, bribing or permissiveness) and it was not even as comprehensive as the one Judy brought her 20 years ago. For this work, Judy and her company won the Vanguard Award for Innovation from the St. Louis Mental Health Board for her work in some of the most at-risk neighborhoods. 

Judy still lives in St. Louis and is a recognized thought leader writing two columns with over 200 articles to date and is currently producing her own TV program. 

Judy was married for 22 years, and divorced in 2002. She is the mother of 5 grown children and 9 grandchildren. They are all powerful in their lives and work due to leadership development, opportunities to take initiative and the respect they were shown as children.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @LifeworkSystems get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“Everybody pretends that everything is okay, but deep down inside, a lot of people have no real resources within themselves to be internally motivated.” – Click to Tweet

“All the control models hold a really negative view of human beings. When you hold a responsibility-based model, you have the belief that people are great or they want to be great.” – Click to Tweet

“We can’t change the problems we have today if we continue to hold on to the control systems that cause those problems.” – Click to Tweet

“People have this power, but they don’t have any idea how to guide it and even trust it.” – Click to Tweet

“Our world is in so much turmoil that we’re crying for change.” – Click to Tweet

Advice for others

In all things, choose curiosity and compassion.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Learning how to be in strategic partnership with global leaders.

Best Leadership Advice

Keep spanking your kids until you really realize what you can do instead.

Secret to Success

Focusing on my purpose.

Recommended Reading

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty

Links and Resources

Judy’s website: 

Judy’s Twitter: 

Judy’s LinkedIn: 

Fast Leader Show on YouTube: 

Fast Leader Show on Apple Podcast: 

Fast Leader Show on Facebook:  

Fast Leader Show on Twitter:  

Fast Leader Show on LinkedIn:  

Check out other episodes on human potential:

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