Tag Archives: Motivation

What motivates us at work? 7 fascinating studies that give insights


  • The less motivated an employee is, the more money he is asking !
  • If employees are not intrinsically motivated chances are very high that they are not creative as well. and won’t work hard enough as passionate people do.
  • Being passionate is coming from the inside-out. You can break somebody’s motivation very easily but it is very hard for leaders to inspire people to give happily the best of what they have to offer if they don’t want to and don’t have trust in the management.

The Three ‘E’s of Engagement: Engage, Empower, Enable:

Engage

leaders must provide a clear view of the company’s future, connect the company values with the individual life purpose, identify individual contribution to a higher level than self . Employees who feel good about themselves and think they belong to a team get the intrinsic motivation to deliver performance.

Empower

Let people decide how to set goals, how to get the expected results. Increase their personal power in making decisions at all level of the organizations. The leaders’ role is to coach and mentor individuals and teams to remove self-limiting beliefs, provide immediate feedbacks and develop strengths while minimizing the impact of weaknesses

Enable

Provide highly personalized support and enough resources. Lead teams based on matching personal communication, behavior and management styles of each team member. Provide talent development programs.

Related articles

TED Blog

Dan-Ariely“When we think about how people work, the naïve intuition we have is that people are like rats in a maze,” says behavioral economist Dan Ariely in today’s talk, given at TEDxRiodelaPlata. “We really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labor market looks like.”

[ted_talkteaser id=1706]When you look carefully at the way people work, he says, you find out there’s a lot more at play—and a lot more at stake—than money. In his talk, Ariely provides evidence that we are also driven by meaningful work, by others’ acknowledgement and by the amount of effort we’ve put in: the harder the task is, the prouder we are.

During the Industrial Revolution, Ariely points out, Adam Smith’s efficiency-oriented, assembly-line approach made sense. But it doesn’t work as well in today’s knowledge economy. Instead, Ariely upholds Karl Marx’s concept that we care much more about…

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Why Incentives Do Not Always Motivate Employees ?


Maslow

Intrinsic motivation is what works once people get enough money to have their basic needs met.That is the principle of the Maslow’ Pyramid of needs.

Some people think that Maslow’s theory is not valid anymore, yet I agree with Tom Fisburne on his analysis of relation with what  brands offer, pricing and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

If we assume that we are talking about an environment where people have  enough money  for “paying the bills”, then external rewards of any types wont’ motivate people on the  long run. They will expect to get more each time and ultimately lose interest if rewards don’t increase. It is a kind of “incentive addiction”, it destroys more than it stimulates.

Any goal setting exercise should start by the end : What benefits  do you expect if you reach a specific goal ? or only half of the goal or making the efforts but not succeeding ?

Visualization of achieving a goal can help better define:  Why do you choose this goal specifically ? What benefits will you get versus the energy you invest to this particular goal rather than another ?

Read our previous article on Why people don’t Do What you Tell Them To Do “

If you don’t know why you are doing what you do and nobody tells you how you contribute to the big picture, if nobody encourages you and say thank you from time to time or if you don’t have the resources for doing your job well, then external reward only will demotivate people. I think it is impossible to make someone passionate against his or her will, but it is very easy to kill the fire within passionate people.

What Keeps YOU Motivated ?

Related Articles:

Beyond Motivation: How to Engage Employees To Boost The Economy


English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...

According to the latest Gallup survey on American employee’s productivity conducted in 201,  only 29% of employees were engaged or involved and enthusiastic about their job. In contrast 71 % of full-time workers, were “not engaged” including 20% miserable or actively disengaged. These findings are really shocking  and very disheartening. Miserable employees are simply ignored, they are disconnected from the company’s goals, often scared to lose their job, taking sometimes additional workload from a colleague who has been laid-off.

Can sustainable organizations ignore employee’ s morale ?  Cutting costs has direct impact on the bottom line but not necessarily in the desired way:

“miserable employees create miserable customers” 

For the most part the recovery of the American economy is dependent on the innovation capacity of America Inc.  If employees are not intrinsically motivated chances are very high that they are not creative as well. and won’t work hard enough as passionate people do according to  Steve Jobs in a video about the rules for success.  I cannot agree more and I have observed the power of passion in people at any level and any function of organizations and across cultures.

Passion is putting you in a state of “flow” where you ignore fatigue or hunger because you are so engaged by what you do that you ignore the time you spend on a particular activity, you are intrinsically rewarded by what you do and truly happy. The concept of “flow” has been introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a psychologist making connections between satisfaction and daily activities in his book: ” Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience“.

Being passionate is coming from the inside-out. You can break somebody’s motivation  very easily but it is very hard for leaders to inspire people to give happily the best of what they have to offer if they don’t want to and don’t have trust in the management.

High performance organizations know that engaged employees drive customer value and business performance. Good examples of such companies are Google or Zappos with its CEO’s vision of putting his people first.

HOW TO BOOST EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT ?

Gallup measures employees’ engagement by collecting the answers of the following 12 survey items listed bellow.

If you want to engage people you need to provide what it takes for them to say YES to a maximum of the questions:

  • Q01. I know what is expected of me at work.
  • Q02. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  • Q03. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • Q04. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • Q05. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • Q06. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • Q07. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • Q08. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
  • Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • Q10. I have a best friend at work.
  • Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  • Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The Three ‘E’s of Engagement: Engage, Empower, Enable:

  • Engage: leaders must provide a clear view of the company’s future, connect the company values with the individual life purpose,  identify individual contribution to a higher level than self .  Employees who feel good about themselves and think they belong to a team get the intrinsic motivation  to deliver performance.
  • Empower: Let people decide how to set goals, how to  get the expected results.  Increase their personal power in making decisions at all level of the organizations. The leaders’ role  is  to coach and mentor individuals and teams to remove self-limiting beliefs, provide immediate feedbacks and develop strengths while minimizing the impact of weaknesses
  • EnableProvide highly personalized support and enough resources.  Lead  teams based on matching  personal communication, behavior and management styles of each team member. Provide talent development programs.

How Do You Measure Employee’s Engagement and Creativity ?

What Is You Recipe To Stimulate Creativity and Innovation In Your Company ?

Related Articles:


Motivation: Why People Don’t Do What You Tell Them To Do ?


Today is going to be a very short blog as part of the January’s Motivation theme:

Do you know where you motivation comes from ? 

Think about how you feel when you speak to someone about a problem and the person gives advises. Do you really want to follow them ? Well most of the time the  answer is NO ! Right ?

Why is it that our first spontaneous answer is NO to advises even if the solutions offered really work ? My theory based on my observations, is that knowledge is not the issue , the issue is TO DO the things we need to do and you cannot move someone else into action.

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”

Wild Horses

So that means you can give the opportunity to someone to do something by telling some tips,  but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to  !

Want examples ?

What about quitting smoking ? You know that it gives cancer and you can die from heart attacks. Is that stopping smokers to smoke? NO ! Why ? because for most people those reasons are not intrinsically motivating and there is no instant rewards to stop smoking, only hypothetical long-term promises that we are not going to die but  we will all die sometimes anyway!

Let me confess,  I smoked for years but quit cold turkey when I was pregnant and never smoked again, I cannot even stand the smell of smoke around me. When I started working, smoking was a great way to socialize at work at the smoking corner so that was one reason that drop when I had my son because I quit working in the corporate world at the same time. Something also might have happened during my pregnancy that made me quit for the benefit of my baby.

Hope this short example is giving you the opportunity to think about what really motivates you when you set a goal to change your life forever.

Hint: What do you SEE, FEEL, SMELL, HEAR when you think about reaching your goal ?  Visualization is a powerful tool used by athletes and successful people.

Do you want to share what works for you and get a chance to inspire others ?

How to Manage Anger, It Can Be Very Positive And Incredibly Destructive


Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Image via Wikipedia

Anger can be normal and healthy emotion that helps us instinctively detect and respond to a threatening situation. More than this, when it is properly channeled, it can be a powerful motivating force – we all know how hard we can work to remedy an obvious injustice.

However it can also be an emotion that gets out of control, leading to stress, distress, unhealthiness and unhappiness. Uncontrolled anger can seriously harm your personal and professional life, because it can become incredibly destructive – to yourself and the people around you.

And in a modern workplace that often demands trust and collaboration, it can cause great damage to working relationships.

This article teaches an effective 12-step approach that helps you direct your anger constructively rather than destructively. The 12-step approach is based on the ideas of Duke University’s Redford Williams, MD, who with his wife, authored the best-selling book Anger Kills. (In this book, Williams discusses 17 steps for controlling anger – these are often abridged to the 12 steps described here.)

Understanding the Theory

Anger is a well-developed coping mechanism that we turn to when our goals are frustrated, or when we feel threat to ourselves or to people, things and ideas we care about. It helps us react quickly and decisively in situations where there is no time for a careful, reasoned analysis of the situation. And it can motivate us to solve problems, achieve our goals, and remove threats.

Acting in anger can serve, therefore, to protect yourself or others. A positive response and constructive outcome can improve your self-esteem and self-confidence.

The Danger of Anger – Foolishness…

On the other hand, a negative response can damage relationships and lead to a loss of respect and self-respect. This is particularly the case when we react instantly and angrily to what we perceive to be a threat, but where that perception is wrong. This can leave us looking very foolish.

So we need to learn to use anger positively, and manage it so that it is constructive and not destructive. Where situations are not immediately life-threatening, we need to calm down and evaluate the accuracy of our perceptions before, if necessary, channeling anger in a powerful but controlled way.

Anger management, then, is the process of learning how to “calm down” and diffuse the negative emotion of anger before it gets to a destructive level.

A Subjective Experience

People experience anger in many different ways and for many different reasons. What makes you angry may only mildly irritate one of your colleagues, and have little to no effect on another. This subjectivity can make anger difficult to understand and deal with; it also highlights that the response is down to you. So anger management focuses on managing your response (rather than specific external factors). By learning to manage your anger, you can develop techniques to deal with and expel the negative response and emotions before it causes you serious stress, anxiety and discomfort.

Despite our differences in the level of anger we feel toward something, there are some universal causes of anger that include:

  • Frustration of our goals
  • Hurt
  • Harassment
  • Personal attack (mental or physical) on ourselves
  • Threat to people, things or ideas that we hold dear.

We commonly experience these potential anger triggers in our daily lives. An appropriate level of anger that is expressed correctly helps us take the right action, solve the problem that is presenting itself, or deal with the situation in a positive manner. If we can learn to manage our anger, we will learn to express it appropriately and act constructively.

Using the Tool:

So when you’re angry, use Redford Williams’ 12 steps to calm down:

Step 1: Maintain a “Hostility Log”
Download our free Hostility Log worksheet and use it to monitor what triggers your anger and the frequency of your anger responses. When you know what makes you angry, you will be in a better position to develop strategies to contain it or channel it effectively.

Step 2: If you do, acknowledge that you have a problem managing anger
It is an observed truth that you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. So it is important to identify and accept that anger is a roadblock to your success.

Step 3: Use your support network
If anger is a problem, let the important people in your life know about the changes you are trying to make. They can be a source of motivation and their support will help you when you lapse into old behavior patterns.

Step 4: Use Anger Management techniques to interrupt the anger cycle

  • Pause
  • Take deep breaths
  • Tell your self you can handle the situation
  • Stop the negative thoughts

Step 5: Use empathy
If another person is the source of your anger, try to see the situation from his or her perspective. Remind yourself to be objective and realize that everyone makes mistakes and it is through mistakes that people learn how to improve.

Step 6: Laugh at yourself
Humor is often the best medicine. Learn to laugh at yourself and not take everything so seriously.

The next time you feel tempted to kick the photocopier, think about how silly you would look and see the humor in your inappropriate expressions of anger.

Step 7: Relax
Angry people are often the ones who let the little things bother them. If you learn to calm down you will realize that there is no need to get uptight and you will have fewer angry episodes.

Step 8: Build Trust
Angry people can be cynical people. They believe that others are going to do something on purpose to annoy or frustrate them even before it happens. If you can build trust in people you will be less likely to become angry with them when something does go wrong and more likely to attribute the problem to something other than a malicious intent.

Step 9: Listen
Miscommunication contributes to frustrating and mistrusting situations. The better you listen to what a person is saying, the better able you will be to find a resolution that does not involve an anger response.

Step 10: Be Assertive
Remember, the word is assertive NOT aggressive. When you are angry it is often difficult to express yourself properly. You are too caught up in the negative emotion and your physiological symptoms (beating heart, red face) to put together solid arguments or appropriate responses. If you learn to assert yourself and let other people know your expectations, boundaries, issues, and so on, you will have much more interpersonal success.

Step 11: Live each day as if it is your last
This saying may be overused, but it holds a fundamental truth. Life is short and it is much better spent positively than negatively. Realize that if you spend all your time getting angry, you will miss out on the many joys and surprises that life has to offer.

Step 12: Forgive
To ensure that the changes you are making go much deeper than the surface, you need to forgive the people in your life that have angered you. It is not easy letting go of past hurts and resentments but the only way to move past your anger is to let go of these feelings and start fresh. (Depending on what, or who, is at the root of your anger, you may have to solicit the help of a professional to achieve this fully.)

These 12 steps form a comprehensive plan to get control of inappropriate and unproductive anger. And the quicker you begin the better. Anger and stress are highly correlated and the effects of stress on the body are well documented. Visit the MindTools stress management section to learn even more about the effects of stress and how to deal with it. You will find that many of the techniques presented here are used in stress management as well because both are negative, emotional-based influences in our lives, and the approach for dealing with them is therefore quite similar.

Even if you are not at the point where you feel your anger is a problem, it is a wise idea to familiarize yourself with the processes listed. If you do not have the tools to deal with anger correctly, it has a way of building-up over time. Before you know it, you can be in a position where anger is controlling you and becoming a negative influence in your life. Being proactive with anger management will help to ensure it remains a healthy emotion that protects you from unnecessary hurt or threat.

Key Points

Anger is a powerful force, both for good and bad. Used irresponsibly, it can jeopardize your relationships, your work and your health.

Redford Williams’ 12-step approach for dealing with unconstructive anger is a well-balanced system that emphasizes knowing yourself and your triggers and then using that awareness to replace negative angry behavior with more positive actions and thoughts. While you don’t want to quell your anger completely, you do need to manage it if you’re to use it creatively.

And remember that anger can be creative. People act when they get angry. And providing their actions are constructive, this actually helps drive change and get things done.

Article originally posted :  Anger Management – Stress Management Training from MindTools.com

Quick Goal Setting In Seven Steps


1-First write your goals down, sort short term, long term goals

2-List your personal benefits of reaching those goals, what do you get?  tangible  and non-tangible benefits

3-Assess your readiness, do you have the right resources: time, energy, health, people, support, money,environment, timing ?

4-List what is holding you back, eliminate goals you always put on your list but never succeed to achieve

5-Cut big goals into  small, easy steps:  decide the rewards you will give yourself for achieving those small steps and the big goal.

6-Give a realistic deadline (better under-promise then over achieve than the opposite)

7-Get a “buddy”:  having someone who is not judging you and with whom you can share your goals and achievements increases your motivation and chances of success. Tract your actions, failures and progresses  in a journal and change your priorities and actions accordingly.

Tip: Decide one day in the week to dedicate 1 hour maximum to review your goals and do your weekly planning . 

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Praise and Incentives: Are Carrots Worse Than Sticks?


How many times do you say  “good job” or  “I am proud of you” to your kids ? Do you give them money or buy them candies if they behave well or get good marks at school?

What about your employees ?  Do you give them extra money if they exceed their goals ?

The way you encourage and praise kids and adults  is very cultural.  For example in France, Japan or China praise is rare.  Those cultures think that too much praise will spoil the children and prevent them from making efforts to get results. On the other hand, in America, it is almost considered as a crime if you don’t praise your kids for anything and everything they do. Most teachers and parents think that praising children is good for their self-esteem.

Our basic strategy for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summarized in six words: Do this and you’ll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in much the same way that we train the family pet.

In the famous book, “Punished by Rewards”, Alfie Kohn shows that while manipulating people with incentives seems to work in the short run, it is a strategy that ultimately fails and even does lasting harm.

On a short-term basis, praise do increase the motivation in children and adults for boosting  the performance at school or at work. However many evidence-based studies show that in the long run the motivation is actually decreasing. Those studies also demonstrated that  both in children and adults praise kills risk-taking attitude and creativity.

In one experiment, two groups of children in 5th grade  were asked to make an easy puzzle for everyone. In one group the children have been told that they were very intelligent and the other group that they worked hard. Then the same groups of students got the option to choose between doing another easy puzzle or a more difficult and challenging one. In the group who was told they were very intelligent, the majority selected the easy one  while in the other group more children choose to take the challenge of making a more difficult task.

Kids praised for being smart want to keep looking good, therefore they avoid taking risks or more challenges due to fear of failure preventing them to learn new things. They have also a tendency to be competitive and benchmarking themselves with other kids. On the contrary, the children who have been told they worked hard learned that by working harder they can learn more and preferred the challenging task.

In this article “effect of praise” there are  good tips on how to praise kids the right way.

In business, financial incentives like sales commissions and bonuses  are the most common ways used to motivate people and reward performance despite the fact that most economic and behavioral scientific studies demonstrate that  it doesn’t work. Companies like Google, Apple or Zappos  use different approaches based on intrinsic motivation rather than external rewards and get better results on how workers are engaged and creative.

The If-Then-Rewards model destroys creativity

In this video:  TED talk, Dan Pink demonstrates that financial incentives don’t work on productivity and motivation for most people working in jobs that require more than just following simple tasks. What works on a long run is employee’s autonomy, engagement, mastery and purpose

Dan Ariely and co-workers also demonstrated in experiments published in the “Large Stakes and Big Mistakes article,  that big financial incentive backfire:

Many institutions provide very large incentives for tasks that require creativity, problem solving, and memory. Our results challenge the assumption that increases in motivation would necessarily lead to improvements in performance. Across multiple tasks (with one important exception), higher monetary incentives led to worse performance.  the largest the financial incentives the poorest the performance were .

In thisvideo, Freaknomics‘s author Steve Levitt  found also lot of evidence that  giving financial incentive don’t work.

In conclusion, While most people think intuitively that too much punishment may not be an effective way to improve performance on cognitive tasks such as learning or being creative,  the negative impact of over-praising or offering large incentives is ignored by most parents, teachers and companies. Anything that stimulates intrinsic motivation such as autonomy and independence, overcoming personal challenges or problem solving is the way both schools and companies should base their incentive programs.

Related  links:
http://www.parentingscience.com/theory-of-intelligence.html
http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/newthinking/largestakes.pdf
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