I’m Not Infallible

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Infallible

As the title suggest, apparently I’m not infallible. As it is my habit to try to be the very best at what I do.

Apparently, still I’m not infallible. This fire me up to improve on my skills.

Although, for the past few months since I’ve read The Principles by Ray Dalio, I began to question myself.

“How do I know I’m right?”

It seems simple, although, questioning myself is a good idea. Apparently, something might went wrong in the reporting which I overseen for the last 6-months of 2018. It’s not anything major which could affect the official reports, but I pride myself on doing the right thing in the first place. In fact, the amendment made would have no effect whatsoever on the official reports, but again, my pride was hurt.

As Dan Ariely suggest in his book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty , we all lie / cheat up to certain extend, especially to ourselves. Maybe the lie which I told myself was, I can’t be wrong, especially when I’m rarely wrong in the first place. So, Ray Dalio has a point, a point which I intend to implement in my life, both personal and career wise, “How do I know I’m right?”.

So, maybe I shouldn’t be prideful in the first place.

I was wrong. I was not on top of things.

This will never happens again.

I will no longer accept anything (reports, stories, rumors) at face value.

It will never happens again.

It’s good to be confident, but over-confident can kill you!


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1. Principles: Life and Work

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2. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyon-Especially Ourselves

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How to focus

When trying to focus on something (writing, revising, reading) listen to music with no words. This allows you to block out unwanted sound and having no lyrics can stop you from being distracted

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 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

Winning Arguments (Book Review)

My reading notes on a book by Stanley Fish, entitled ‘Winning Arguments”, What works and doesn’t work in politics, the bedroom, the courtroom, and the classroom. 

Main points from my reading notes

Argument are quite a significant part of life.

Argument, not agreement, is humanity’s natural path.

We can’t escape it no matter how hard we try, therefore, we might as well learn to master it.

Words as we know have immense power. They can maim, hurt, and tear people and nations apart.

People naturally will argue, but without resolution, since “old arguments never die; they just get recycled.”

Resisting arguing takes monumental and often impossible effort.

Since we must argue, becoming better skilled in argument and rhetoric is a logical moves.

Argument determines facts not the other way around, especially in politics. As we can see, those who can present their arguments better, would be seen as factual. Therefore, fact checking a politician should be a mainstream event.

Four Categories of Arguments

Arguments come in four categories with varying limits and boundaries:

Those with no rules : We were can say anything

  • Political arguments
  • Domestic arguments

Those which have written rules and boundaries

  • Legal arguments

Those which have unwritten rules but might have firm boundaries

  • Academic arguments

Skilled debaters, writers, orators and artists, for instance usually move arguments beyond the boundaries meant to contain them. And  “Argumentation” exists everywhere and in everything: words, gestures, body language, images, clothes, furniture, and more.

Further details are to be discussed in future posts.