I have been meaning to cover the topic of different ways to motivate people for ages. But with the book (named after this very blog!) taking up any writing time, it’s been on the back burner.
Lucky for me, I have been coaching a senior client who decided to take the writing into his own hands after one of our sessions!
The results of focusing on different motivations have been pretty impressive for him. Tangible and measurable. Trust him. He’s a lawyer…
Motivation Blog – John Kushnick
The issue of what motivates individual members of staff arose as a result of some very useful feedback from my direct Reports – it appears that I didn’t know what made them drag themselves into work every morning.
I had never really thought much about this before, assuming that everyone would obviously be the same as me. Why wouldn’t they?!
My first port of call after some tips from my inspirational coach Dulcie was that font of all knowledge, google. This took me to a couple of very useful articles: 9 Types of Motivation that Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams by Dylan Buckley and 10 Types of Motivation: What They Are & How to Use Them, by Evan Tarver. Are these the best, the last word on these subjects? Who knows! It’s a long time since I’ve immersed myself in academia. What I can say is that they pricked my interest, unlocking that part of my brain that was looking at motivation but hadn’t let me know. Tricky things these brains.
I started by boiling down their work into 2 categories and 9 types of motivation.
The Categories are overarching and the types of motivation can appear in each:
I then narrowed down the Types of Motivations to 9. The articles use slightly different terms but I was satisfied in the end that the following was the best way for me to separate out the key motivating factors:
Having reviewed the subject and written the Motivation Pro Forma I sent it, ahead of their meeting, to my Reports together with a copy of the articles and a summary of what I was trying to achieve. I asked them all to think about theirtop 2 motivating factors ahead of the meeting so that we could discuss what they were and how I could best motivate them.
What was interesting was the degree that those who had (correctly) fed back about my lack of knowledge of their motivation actually lacked any real knowledge of it themselves! While this may at first blush appear to be a disadvantage it actually proved extremely useful in opening up the process so that we could both truly understand what motivated them.
We went through the categories and types of motivation and discussed what each meant to them. This allowed us to get a far more nuanced version of what their key motivating factors were, rather than just using the headline names. For example, while some saw Power as a negative, denying that they wanted the raw sounding control over others, one employee saw Power more as a way to obtain the best results for the company by controlling their work processes proactively.
By taking notes about their views about each motivation type and highlighting their top 2 Motivation Types I was able to get a full picture of what they needed from me. Interestingly it also gave my Reports some insight into what they wanted from their jobs. It is amazing how easy it is to spend so much time at work without ever really thinking what we want out of it!
Something else that was a pleasant surprise was that no one chose Incentive/Salary in their top 2: this is not to say that it was not seen as important, but rather that this is an outcome rather than an aim in and of itself. We all go to work in order to be paid (that’s why it’s called work and not play) but it’s a sad state of affairs if that’s our main reason.
By understanding my Report’s true motivation I can achieve the perfect Win Win scenario of improving their experience at work which should also lead to their becoming more productive and effective. Now why wouldn’t I be motivated by that?
Here is a version of John’s questionnaire that you are welcome to download and use.