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Create an environment for motivation August 31, 2007

Posted by rickbron in Motivation.
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p5130012.jpg  Motivation means improved productivity which means improved profit! The Big Dogz know all about motivation. When people talk motivation, they always talk about money. Now, money is important, but in most jobs you can not give the people more money unless they change the way they contribute. I am all for people making the most money possible. There are other ways to motivate people besides money. 

Another point about  motivation that I believe is important for the Big Dogz to understand is the fact that you as the manager cannot motivate anyone other than yourself. Motivation is a personal choice. Your job as the manager is to provide an environment where a person can choose to be motivated. What I propose is that you build an environment of motivation based upon factors you can control. Here are the essential building blocks of that environment: 

Motivate yourself

This is the first step in having a motivating environment. If you are not motivated, it is really difficult to ask those you lead to be motivated. I am sure you have traveled by air. As part of the safety briefing, the flight attendant informs you that oxygen masks may drop down in front of you. You are advised to put your own mask on first before helping other who may be traveling with you. The reason for this is obvious. The same is true of motivation — apply the following principles to yourself first before investing in the motivation of your associates. 

 Create a custom motivation plan for each associate

A major mistake some managers make is providing what motivates them! Not everyone is motivated by what motivates you and in fact most people have different motivation factors. In the attached file, I have provided a list of 36 potential motivation factors. I am positive this list is not exhaustive; you may discover new motivation factors to add. Before reviewing the list with your associates, make sure that you can provide the motivation factors on the list. If you can not provide a factor, remove it from the list. Sit down with each associate and ask them to identify the three most important motivation factors from the list you have created.  Do the same thing for yourself. You are on your way to having a motivated team.

Seek out and motivation opportunities

Now that you are aware of what motivates an associate, seek out those opportunities. That challenging assignment can now be directed to the associate who values challenging work as a motivation factor. Opportunities to learn new skills can be aligned with the person who is motivated by this factor. Who to send on that business trip is now a no-brainer. With the motivation needs of your associates identified, it will amaze you how frequently you will be able to direct activity to the person who values it highly. Also, be on the lookout for those activities that will motivate you. Start a motivation factor distribution log to keep track of how you are directing motivation opportunities to those around you. Be fair and make an effort to deliver opportunities to everyone. 

Acknowledge your efforts

When you are successful at identifying and delivering a motivational opportunity, let your associates know you are making the effort to provide them an environment where they can choose to be motivated. You might say to an associate, “Jim, you said that being consulted about new projects was important to you. I am getting ready to implement a new project and would like to hear your views on how it might be set up.” Providing this type of insight allows the associates to know that you are paying attention to their motivation and you are a person of integrity. If the associate does not respond positively to your efforts to motivate them, it may be time to revisit the motivation factors. 

Periodically adjust

Once your motivation program is in full swing, you will want to evaluate how effective it is. Even though you may be providing exactly what the associate said was important, you may experience less than optimum response. One of the key factors in creating a motivating environment is to keep up with what motivates people. As people achieve new skills or responsibilities, their motivation may change. I suggest that once a year, you have the motivation discussion. Of course, any time you see a marked change in performance, check to see if motivation factors are involved. Paying attention what motivates people and customizing your approach to motivating can yield huge results. Many studies show that motivated associates out perform their de-motivated colleagues. If nothing else, it will make working with motivated people more fun and less stress for you. Over the next 30 days, get started on becoming one of the Big Dogz by creating an environment where your people can choose to me motivated.