Have you ever wonder about how Apple and Google makes itself the best place for employment than other organizations. They have the same pool of talent, technology, and resources as any other organization in the world. So, how are they able to attract motivated people than other organizations? Do you think its their lucrative salary package? You may be completely wrong, if you think that money can motivate people to perform their best. I am not denying that money can’t motivate you, I am saying that money can’t be the only thing that can motivate you to do your best. Don’t you agree?
Those days are long gone, where people were working in labor intensive jobs (production jobs). In the 21st century, with latest technological equipments, most of the employees use tools/machines to get their work done. You can certainly motivate your production employees by providing money as an incentive, but you can’t motive your other employees through the same technique. In fact in one research by Dan Pink, he talks about – how money does not motivates us to do our best.
I personally believe that – its not “what you do” that motivates your employees. But its “why you do it” that motivates your employees. Lets put this concept in to your life. I am sure that you must have come across some situations in your lives, when you must have had an employee, who was not motivated. The most common technique that you might have adopted must be “fear”. You must have communicated something like – “You need to finish this, otherwise….”. Do you realized, what did you do? You communicated – what he/she needs to do. Lets consider an another scenario. Lets assume that you communicated to him personally and said something like – “Your work is important, and this is how it helps the team, and this is why we do it”. Don’t you think this approach would have worked better?
Take Linux for an example. Linux is an open source software, which is used as a corporate server in 1 out of 5 organizations. And surprisingly enough, it is free. Why would someone make something, if he/she doesn’t get any benefits out of it? The answer lies in my headline – “motivation through why”. Lot of people believe in open source platforms, they believe in the “why”, and that’s why they are willing to create these kind of software for free. So, next time if you see a poor performer in your team, then don’t directly jump in to “how to fix it”, instead help him understand “why you are doing the work that you do”. I guarantee that – you will see some positive result at the end of that discussion.
I hope my blog helped you understand Leadership from a different perspective. Let me know your opinion through your comments. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi
August 17, 2010 at 1:50 PM
While I agree that giving an employee the “why” of their position, or how their position or responsibilities are essential to the organization for the purpose of motivation, I believe that there is a new strong externality that is affecting motivation far beyond all of the different motivational techniques that are being presented in our classrooms and in business motivation literature. I believe that lack of motivation becomes present in an employee when they are secure in there position or they believe that if they leave there position there is a strong possibility that they will find employment elsewhere. In that there personal needs (food, clothing, shelter) are so well taken care of that there is no need to think about these things. With the economy continuing to crumble and the official unemployment ranking over 10% (with underemployment and those who have dropped off the unemployment rolls being over 25%) the basic necessities of life are no longer being taken care of. When an individual is presented with the loss of their home, the ability to take care of their family, and long term unemployment there will be miraculous increase in a persons inate self-motivation.
In industries strongly impacted by the “Great Recession” this has already been felt, and if the economic drag continues the concept of motivating employees will be only a fond memory. -otherwise I love the “Why” idea…
August 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM
Thanks for your comments, Luke.
Your comments gave me a completely different perspective of motivation. I know that we are in the “Great Recession”, but while writing this blog, it didn’t come in my mind.
I guess, I was just focusing on my knowledge and my experience, while writing this blog. But you are right, I agree with your opinion here. I might write something about that in my next blog.
Thanks for your comments though.
– Bhavin Gandhi