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Friday, October 01, 2010

What Motivates Us?

Several years ago, in A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, Daniel Pink argued that American professions have been dominated by analytical thinkers, but soon these left-brained MBA number crunchers would be replaced by a different kind of worker, the right-brained designer, storyteller and big picture thinker. These new workers would offer a new skill set to their employers — creativity, empathy, joyfulness and meaning.

In his new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink picks up the related theme of motivation. He argues that the incentive plans used by most organisations do not work. Even worse, there is scientific evidence that money acts as a de-motivator. Pink advises managers to pay people fairly and adequately to take money off the table, but he shows that the most effective reward is intrinsic — performance of the task itself.

Pink describes successful people as hard working and persistent. They possess an internal desire to control their lives, to learn about their world and to accomplish something that endures. They work hard to grow and develop, and to connect to a larger purpose. These workers have higher self-esteem and better interpersonal relationships than those who are extrinsically motivated. Every organisation needs to retain and cultivate these creative, problem-solving, big picture people.


Follow Your Passion!

Don't follow money. Instead, pursue what inspires you. And don't miss weekends with your family.


Characteristics of Greatness

1. It's Personal - They hate to lose more than they love to win.
2. Rubbing Elbows - They understand the value of association.
3. Believe - They have faith in a higher power.
4. Contagious Enthusiasm - They are positive thinkers... They are enthusiastic... and that enthusiasm rubs off.

5. Hope For the Best, But... - They prepare for all possibilities before they step on the field.
6. What Off-Season? - They are always working towards the next game... The goal is what's ahead, and there's always something ahead.
7. Visualise Victory - They see victory before the game begins
8. Inner Fire - They use adversity as fuel.

9.   Ice In Their Veins - They are risk-takers and don't fear making a mistake.
10. When All Else Fails - They know how - and when - to adjust their game plan.
11. Ultimate Teammate - They will assume whatever role is necessary for the team to win.
12. Not Just About the ££ - They don't play just for the money.

13. Do Unto Others - They know character is defined by how they treat those who cannot help them.
14. When No One is Watching - They are comfortable in the mirror... they live their life with integrity.
15. When Everyone Is Watching - They embrace the idea of being a role model.
16. Records Are Made to Be Broken - They know their legacy isn't what they did on the field. They are well-rounded.


Involvement With Your Team

When it comes the people around you, how are they doing? Typically, outside of the workplace, there are influences that can positively and negatively impact their attitude and behaviour at work. Caring to know is important as a leader so you can help encourage them through the valley.

Maybe you are thinking, that’s not my job, but it is. Once someone steps through the door and inside your world, they become your responsibility. You don’t need to fix everything, but just making sure they know that you care will go a long way.

Then, you can help advance people along this progress of involvement. There are three levels. Are you interested, committed or passionate? Before you can effectively lead, you must know at which level you personally are engaged. How deep into the vision are you?

What pulls people along and out of their discouragement faster is your contagious passion and energy as a leader. Ask those on your team: are you interested, committed or passionate?

If you are merely interested, any inconvenience will distract you. If you are just committed, then another opportunity could pull you away. However, if you are passionate about the vision, you are unstoppable.

The bottom line: Check your level of involvement and correct it if necessary. Those around you will reflect which level you are living.