The Motivation Spectrum

If people are already motivated, the question now is, how motivated are they? The answer lies in the 6 “motivational outlooks” on the spectrum of motivation.

These outlook do not form a continuum. At one moment, we might operate in one particular motivational outlook and later, we may operate with an entirely diferent one.

To illustrate how motivaional outlook work, consier them in light of a routine meeting where 6 different employees are each operating individually based on a different mode of motivation:

  1. Disinterest – This one hated the meeting and considered it as as waste of time.
  2. External – This one leverage the meeting to show off his power and status within the organization.
  3. Imposed – This one is forced by his or her superiors to attend the meeting. Their superiors might be angry if they missed the meeting.
  4. Aligned – This one loved attending meeting, and felt they might gain valueable knowledge from that meeting.
  5. Integrated – this one enjoyed the meeting because her life has a noble purpose, and the meeting focused on that purpose.
  6. Inherent – This one is gregarious, loves being around people and attends all meetings.

“Setting measurable goals and outcomes is important. Having a defined finish line in front of you can be positively compelling.”

The first 3 motivational outlook are in the suboptimal motivation category and they represent the low-quality motivation or motivational junk food.

People operating based on suboptimal motivational modes often say things like,

“I have to”

“I must”

“I should”

“I’m requied to”

“It’s necessary”

“Because it’s my duty.”

“Everyday, your employees’ appraisal of their workplace leaves them with or without a positive sense of well-being. Their well-being determines their intentions, and intentions are the greatest predictors of behavior.”

The remaining 3 motivational outlook are the optimal ones. They show the kind of motivation which we want, for ourselves, our employees and the people we care about.

They are motivational “health food”.

Outlook based on alignment, integration and inherent motivation generate high-quality energy, vitality and positive well-being which leads to a sustainable results. People with optimal motivation outlook often say,

“I get to”

“I have decided to”

“I am lucky to”

“I elect to”

“External Motivators”

Organization at times would turn to external motivators to influence their employees. These motivators include money, incentives or a bigger office or even bigger title which are tangable, or approval, status, shame or fear, which are intangible. These forces work directly against the important psychological requirements employees have for autonomy, relatedness and competence.

External motivators actually undermine motivation.

“The quality of our beliefs determines the quality of our leadership values. Our leadership values ultimately determine how we lead and the quality of the workplace we create.”

External motivators can take control over our employees, driving and compelling them to act in a certain way, thus robbing them of autonomy. And eventually, the employees will come to resent the loss of control.

A self-defeating inherent message accompanies any external motivator:

“If you do as I say, then you will be rewarded”

This ham-handed message can gain only temporary, “conditional support” from the employees.

“Not all beliefs are values, but all values are beliefs”

Optimal Motivation

For most organizations, motivation is what their employees can do for them. But this reverses crucial priorities.

The magic of motivation kick into overdrive when managers address what the can do for their employees.

Answering that question fulfills one o the basic rules of motivation:

“When we focus on what we want for people, we are more likely to get the results we want from people.”

So, instead of trying to drive or control employees with carrots and sticks, or pigeon pellets, help promote thriving employees by meeting their crucial autonomy, relatedness an competence psychological needs, which are their “basic desire to thrive.”

Organizations need to move beyond a strict focus on corporate priorities which usually centered around “results, performance and productivity.”

“Great leadership takes great practice. When it comes to motivation, leadership practice includes being a role model.”

And when companies focuses on autonomy, relatedness and competence, they and their people will stand to benefit. Organizations that focus on ARC develop sel-governing workforce who believe in accountability. Such companies promote strong personal relationships, which motivate examplary “citizenship behaviors” among employees. This emphasis on competence and professional development helps create and sustain learning organizations.

Therefore, organization should help their employees to understand why they are motivated. Adopting a motivational strateg based on ARC values which ensures that our employees have an optimal motivational outlook. And when leaders model this attitude, it can become a defining characteristic of our organization, a win-win-win for employees, manager and the company.

And hence, a much holistic working culture.

The ‘Motivation Dilemma”

Managers face a motivation dilemma. Their organizations insiste that they to motivate their subordinate to work hard to meet the corporate goals. Unfortunately, since no one can motivate another person which is an impossible task to do.

That’s the dilemma.

Executives and managers who want to understand motivation should and must understand the “appraisal process”.

Employees appraise things according to what important to them and their priorities might differ from that of their managers and corporate leaders.

So, the factors which motivate employees may not align with what we want them to be motivated toward accomplishing. The goals that drive their motivation may not be akin to the objectives which we want to encourage.

“It is a mistake to think that people are not motivated. They are simply longing for the needs they cannot name.”

For example,

In 2002, the Boston Red Sox wanted to lure Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane to come work for them. And they offered him then what would have been the largest GM salary in baseball. They were shocked when he turned it down. But Beane appraised the offer against what mattered to him – “his family and the love of baseball.”

“The real story of motivating is that people are learners who long to grow, enjoy their work, be productive, make positive contributions and build lasting relationships.”

And in case of Beane, he never cared about money, so the Red Sox’s huge salary offer meant little to him. They couldn’t motivate him because he was already motivated, but in different way than the Red Sox wanted.

This is always the proble when we try to motivate people. They already are motivated but sometimes in ways we may not like.

However, we want our employees’ individual motivations to align with our organization’s goal. But now we understand that trying to leverage “motivational forces” to compel people to do as we want won’t work.

So, how can we align their goals and the company’s goals?

“It is time to stop beating our people with carrots-and-sticks and embrace different, more effective leadership strategies.”

First, understand that our employees are learners, they want to do well, they want to make solid contributions and they want their organization’s executives to think well of them. They also want to have “autonomy, relatedness and competence ” or ARC, which is the essential psychological needs.

“Rewards may help people initiate new and healthy behaviors, but they fail miserably in helping people maintain their progress or sustain results.”

Instead of offering contests or prizes, encourage your employees by enabling them to gain autonomy. That’s the secret to motivation.

Offer independence and relate to them as human beings. Help them to grow professionally and personally. Don’t worry about what they can do for you, but rather worry about what you can do for them.

In that environment, your employees will become more motivated to perform better.

When you offer autonomy, related to them and encourage their competence, and they will respond.

That’s simple human nature.

The Motivation Question

Lets consider some FAQ asked on motivation and related issues as highlighted in the book ‘Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does.”

“Is there ever a time when rewards when rewards are appropriate?”

Unfortnately, yes. Rewards become necessary if people are unwilling to do the right thing. To illustrate, the FAA now offers $10, 000 rewards to those who report people who aim lasers at flying planes. Lasers can blind pilots and cause planes to crash.

“How do I make expectations clear without creating complexity?”

As a leader, we need employees to meet their set goals and deadlines. But it shouldn’t be necessary to motivate them regarding these basic duties; employees should self-motivate to reach their goals.

“What is the best way to motivate the younger generate?”

As a matter of fact, we can’t motivate people, regardless old or young. Diferent generations have different values. As a leader, we must help all our people including the younger ones to align their values with their peers’ best, most productive value. This alignment can lead to the development of mutual motivational drive. In building motivation, values would count most of all.

“Why don’t contest motivate people?”

We want employees to strive to achieve their goals because they understand the importance of doing so, not because they could win a contest. Most of the time, motivational contest are counter-productive which will direct those employees’ focus away from their routine goals and towards a temporary and arbitrary competition goals.

“Why is competition ineffective in spurring motivation?”

Most athletic superstar would usually says that winning isn’t their main drive. But rather they pursue a quest for excellence. And often these superstar derive tremendous enjoyment simply from their own prowess.

“You cannot hope to motivate people in meaningful ways of you don’t understand the levers that influence the way people are motivated.”

The carrot-and-stick motivation approach

“When we activate optimal motivation for ourselves, we provide more than a role model – we create a ripple effect that encourages our people’s optimal motivation.”

The carrot-and-stick approach to motivation might work in the short term, but most likely going to makes things worse over time.

It works like the “pecking pigeon paradigm.” B,F. Skinner, a Harvard psychology professor and behaviorist, used elaborate experiments with pigeons to investigate motivation. By rewarding pigeons with food pellets, Skinner was able to get the birds to do just about anything he wanted. His techniques still influence how companies try to motivate people.

But, peoples are not pigeons. Motivation is not “something you do to people”. It’s simple can’t be done. And as Jim Rohn said, there’s only one type of motivation, and that is “self-motivation”, meaning, people must motivate themselves.

Researchers such as Drs. Richard Ryan and Edward Deci have done eye-opening work to figure out on how to drive motivation in people. Their studies and other research in the field show that effective motivations has nothing to do with carrots or sticks, but it has everything to do with “hope and promise” which are the real drivers of motivation.

“Misunderstanding what motivation means leads to a misapplication of techniques to make it happen.”

The traditional belief that motivating employees is a fundamental managerial tasks which stems from confusion and mistaken ideas. Clinging to that contention lets executive hold managers responsible for motivating people.

But aligning employee motivation with the corporate motivation might require a significant change in corporate culture and in executive and managerial awareness.

#bookreview #motivation #leadership

The 2 types of Motivation

“The motivation dilemma is that leaders are being held accountable to do something they cannot do – motivate others.”

Most managers quite worry about how to motivate employees, but they should not waste their energy. All people, including our employees, already are motivated.

The question is

What specifically motivates our workforce?

And while we’re asking, try 3 more essential questions

How deep is our employees’ motivation?

What’s the quality of their motivations?

What is the nature of their motivation?

Look for 2 types of motivation

1st

In the first, people are motivated to do something because they must do it. It’s their job, or they are motivated to win a reward. Their egos drive them. They want to come out on top.

2nd

The 2nd example of motivation is when people want to do something. Their values nspire them and most of the time, they would have admirable purpose. They want to excel, grow and learn.

“The best motivation is self-motivation”

Extraterrestrial News (Yes it’s about space and aliens)

For decades, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program has scanned the sky for alien life.

In 2015, the Breakthrough Listen organization joined the investigation to scan space more comprehensively. One recent discovery suggest that humanity might not be alone. Observations of the so-called Tabby’s star, 1500 light years away, suggest changes in its emitted light might be due to the creation of Dyson spheres which is massive but heretofore hypothetical structures build by advanced civilizations to trap a star’s energy output.

Some scientist are certain humanity contaminated Mars through human explorations of the planets.

“It is not without irony that at the very moment the observational situation is clearing so beautifully, the theoretical scene has become overwhelmingly confused.” (Physicist Neil Turok)

Closer to home, 2015 saw the New Horizon spacecraft fly past Pluto, sending back images indicating that Pluto is a more active body than previously thought. Such breakthroughs have become routine, but Americans aren’t willing to spend more on space exploration.

In 2015, 2 private enterprises, Blue Origin and SpaceX, launched rockets. The age of the space shuttle may be ending, but new options are emerging that may be more functional.

Reconciling general relativity with quantum mechanics

In 1915, Albert Einstein announced his general theory of relavity. Since then, physicist have been working to “reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics.” So far, they have failed.

At present, physicist are in an odd situation, for several reasons.

“Science is never fixed in place: It must always move forward, and in that sense it is always ‘news’. (Historian Noga Arikha)

Time and space have been foundational concepts for physics “at least since Einstein,” but some thinkers no longer view previous findings about them as fundamental.

String theorit argue that “entaglement” might take their place. Others see “quantum information” as fundamental. Black holes also pose various puzzls. The late Stephan Hawking contended that observers must accept black holes as violation of the principle of conservation of information. More recently, Stanford physicist Leonard Susskind argued that this couldn’t happen because it would yield catastrophic results.

This leads scientist to other conclusions that “the universe must be spatially finite” and could end in a “big crunch singularity”.

Recent experiments further complicate efforts to find unifying theories that aim to explain the physical world. When physicist discovered the Higgs Boson elementary particles in 2012, they didn’t find “superparticles”.

This leaves advocates of “supersymmetry” longing for new breakthroughs but unsure of where they’ll come from. Physicist are reconsidering what they thought they knew in several areas. They used to accept the idea that space was largely empty.

Recently, scientist have discovered that “vacuum energy” is accelerating expansion of the universe. And as a fun fact, in 10 billion years our universe might (will) doubled in size.

“Space and time capture the imagination precisely because they engender, and also imprison, our imagination.” (Cognitive sceience professor Donald D.Hoffman)

I wonder after all this, would anybody be able to reconcile the general relativity with quantum mechanics, or might there be a new theory which better explain our universe?

Who knows . . .