By William Singleton
This past April, at the LAMA meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, I gave a presentation on Demystifying Motivation and Maximizing Engagement. The session sparked excellent group dialog and provided guidance on ways to maximize personal motivation, as well as, improve engagement of employees. The presentation was repeated twice and with each session the attendees came away with similar positive experiences.
I’d like to share a summary of some research on the topic of motivation and its importance in workplace productivity. These findings helped to create the frame work for the presentation given at the LAMA meeting.
“How do I motivate my people?” “Why do some of my staff constantly under-perform even though they know how to do the work?” “The energy in my office is really low, what can I do?”
I've heard these questions over and over leading me to wonder, “Is it possible to have a standard mechanism for motivating others? Is there one “magic bullet” that can be used to get everyone motivated?”
These questions caused me to look at motivation at a very fundamental level. The first question to be answered was, “Is there a standard mechanism for motivating others?” Then, I proposed a second question, “Does one’s level of motivation really matter?” In other words, can people perform adequately even if they aren't 100% motivated to do the work? What I discovered was a lot of well-researched data that led to a better understanding of motivation.
Motivations are as unique as each person; what motivates one may not motivate another. The standard mechanism for motivating others turns out to be quite simple, ask what motivates those around you and then find ways to engage their motivators. So yes, there is a standard mechanism for motivating others. Unfortunately, there is no “magic bullet” when it comes to motivation.
For the second question, “Does ones level of motivation really matter?” What was found through my research is that people completely unmotivated consistently under-perform, this was not so surprising. I also found that slightly under motivated individuals tend to do just enough to get the job done. In other words, the slightly under motivated individuals may still complete their job responsibilities, yet it will be done with no level of creativity, enjoyment or desire to realize the organization’s success.
One’s level of motivation does matter; motivation has a direct correlation with productivity. A decrease in motivation will result in a decrease in productivity. The greater the decrease in motivation the greater the decrease in productivity.
Taking the time to find out what motivates your staff will help you tailor programs and activities to maintain a high level of motivation and, as a result, gain greater productivity.