July 29, 2010 Category : Management
Dr Richard Norris, MBA
Do you, your team or organization need to overcome obstacles and deliver results?
Perhaps, you are having issues motivating your team or even yourself?
Do you need to know how to find those elusive “hot buttons” that ignite people into action?
Until a few years ago I would have answered, “Yes” to all of these. Then one day I had an epiphany.
You cannot motivate anyone!
Yep. You heard me. You cannot motivate anyone...except yourself. Think about it.
Motivation is very personal and comes from within us. Let’s look at the definition.
Motivation n: the reason or reasons behind one’s actions or behaviour (Oxford Dictionary).
Whether it is the primal drivers of the need for food and perpetuation of the species as in migrating salmon or it is because you have been made redundant thanks to the recent recession and you are motivated to provide for your family, the reason motivates you. There may be external factors but the driver comes from within.
Now what you can do is inspire others. Inspiration is initiated externally. At its root, inspire relates to “breathing in”. Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as:
The process or quality of being inspired; a person or thing that inspires.
That is we must breathe it into ourselves first. Breathe in the inspiration and then use it, as the body uses oxygen, to help us to live and wilfully act upon our surroundings.
Inspiration precedes motivation. You need to be inspired and motivated to inspire others to become motivated.
No matter the audience, when I have asked for a show of hands those who could tell me exactly what motivates the people around them at work, rest or play, there has been very few or no hands up. A sad testimony don’t you think. No wonder there is such a chronic need today for effective leadership development?
Now think of Dr Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. He inspired a movement that was motivated to bring about cultural change. That inspiration came about because Dr King connected with his audience. He connected with them at an emotional and spiritual level. He was giving them the vision that inspired them. The intention was to pass them the baton to make it happen. As leaders know, or most of them anyway, they cannot deliver the vision on their own. They need help.
Share the Dream
So for you to motivate anyone you must first share the dream. Communicate it clearly, consistently, constantly and creatively.
Next help your motivatees to understand their purpose as it relates to achieving the dream, goal or target. Help them to connect with it so they understand their part and how meaningful their part is in the achievement. Help them T.E.A.M U.P. – Together Everyone Achieves More Understanding Purpose.
Using a football analogy, every player has a position and with that position comes role to play (their purpose) in the game plan especially when they understand the importance of working as a team. No game plan. No awareness of their role. Out of position. Bad result.
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question worthy of some significant consideration. Ask yourself. Ask your team.
If we do this in sport, why do we not tend to do it in business or even in at home?
Your role is to understand your purpose and, where relevant, help your motivatees to identify theirs and how it fits into the inspiring bigger picture. Do that and motivation is beginning to take form.
As the late Jim Rohn said, “When the why gets strong the how becomes easy.”
Inspire the team. Power comes when you align the individual’s purpose with the team’s purpose. The individual becomes aware, perhaps for the first time, how key they are to the success of the team or the organization. After all, teams win championships not individuals because they work as a team playing off each other’s skills, knowledge, experience and responsibilities.
Now you might be asking how do you help your motivatees to discover their purpose?
Well, one simple way to gain insight into what may motivate someone is to ask them the following question:
If you had unlimited resource in your life, what would you do?
Everyone is born with a purpose. It is hard-wired into their DNA. Everyone has strengths and gifts that will support that purpose. Regrettably, most people never discover what their purpose, gifts or strengths are. This is a way to draw it out.
Another couple of simple clarifying questions to ask them are:
What comes easy to you?
What’s your dream?
These answers will begin to enlighten you (and hopefully them) as to what those “hot buttons” might be.
Now that we have some lights coming on, what value would it be to you, your team and your organization etc if you had a simple and effective method or tool that enabled you (and everyone else for that matter) to really know what those “hot buttons” really are in about 7 minutes over a cup of coffee?
The Hot Box
Enter the “Hot Box”
Sit down with your team-mate and work with them to fill in this box.
For illustration purposes, let’s use a work scenario and overlay the success model first devised by Napolean Hill - Be x Do = Have. Who we are combined with our actions delivers the results.
1.Ask them why they go to work. The answer you are looking for is so they can make money so they can invest it in their personal lives to deliver the lifestyle they aspire to.
2.Ask them to fill in 1-3 personal goals they would like to achieve over the next 90 days, 1 year and 3 years. Examples could be an all-inclusive vacation to the tropics or buy a house or start a hobby. This helps you both identify what is driving them, their “Why?” – their “hot buttons”. These are the ultimate results or the “Haves”
3.Help them make the connection between their personal goals and their professional goals. Ask them what they need to achieve in their professional role over 90 days, 1 year and 3 years that will ensure they then have the resources to deliver the personal goals. The answers go in the respective boxes. These answer “What?” they need to do to achieve those personal goals. They represent the “Dos”. If they do not act on these, they won’t get the results they desire.
4.Assuming that as time progresses they desire to grow, help your motivatee to then establish their personal development goals in their professional role. A great question to ask here is, “Who do you need to ‘be’ to deliver your professional goals?” Examples could be they need training to be more productive or to be better at sales or be a better manager. These answer “Who” they need to become and helps identify their development needs. Emphasize the connection between “Who” they need to become with “What” they need to do and “Why” that is so important to them.
Completed this way, you will have a Personal Motivation Plan - a record for yours and their reference at any time. And all it takes is about 7 minutes.
Now there is a piece missing. Do the following and you and everyone else nearby will know what the “hot buttons” are.
5.Once completed, request that your motivatee then obtain a picture that represents each respective Personal Goal and post it where they (and you et al) can see it easily and frequently e.g. a photo next to their phone, computer or car sun visor or an image on their iPhone or as a screensaver. This provides a constant reminder of “Why” they are truly there – for them and for you and for the rest of the team.
6.Now, as and when required, you can hit their “hot button” and reinforce their motivators. Ask a question like, “So, how are you getting on to attaining that dream holiday?” to reconnect them with their purpose. Or comment, “Now that you have made this project so profitable, congratulations on your raise! Now you will have the down payment for that house.” You get the idea.
So now are you motivated? Go get some coffee, carve out 7 minute blocks, sit down and pull out the Hot Box. Now you have no excuses. Ask. “Why?” “What?” “Who?” Ignite yourself. Then ignite the team. You will be glad you did. Oh...And please let me know how you get on.
(P:S: Dr Richard Norris has also written another guest post on Time Flies: Time Soars.)