Recently, I came across Overnight Sensation -a blog written by James Feudo. In this I read his post called ” Motivation: The Power of Youth” which brought back memories of childhood-a relatively carefree period in our lives. He writes of the very different perspective children have . I guess we are so caught up in the day to day grind of making a living that we cease to enjoy – or have no time for- the very things we did when we were kids.
What distinguishes a world beating champion from many. many others? Ask Abhinav Bindra who said for him the keys for success were: Attitude, Motivation and Focus. Bindra, India’s ace marksman became only the first Indian to win a Gold Medal in an individual event in the history of the Olympics. He won the Gold Medal for the 10 metres Air Rifle shooting at the Beijing Oympics earlier this year.
At the coaching session we discussed how the coachee was progressing since we last met. The conversation got around to a problem she still faced. ” It’s getting to be very difficulty to motivate this chap in my team” she said. ” I am trying to motivate him but it doesn’t seem to work”. I asked her to reflect on all that she had done. At the end of the session, she suddenly remarked ” You know something. I feel there is just so much I can do. At the end of the day, he has to motivate himself”. This was an important realization. We can’t motivate others but we can create an environment and work conditions in which they feel motivated.
We were discussing a recent project. One of my colleagues mentioned how frustrating it was for him as a coach to get people committed to learn new skills. What surprised him, he said, was that they didn’t seem to realize just how important these skills would be for them in their workplace. This set me thinking of my own experiences. I do realize that there is a lot of truth in the old saying which says that you can’t teach anyone anything. But you can create an environment where the person seeks to learn and improve.
People learn better- and faster- when they are truly motivated to learn. There can be no general rules which apply to everybody but my experience tells me that these are 7 Ways To Facilitate Learning:
I start with a confession. Like, I presume, millions of my countrymen, I did not really know too much about Abhinav Bindra till yesterday. The 24 year old shooter brought immense pride to us Indians by winning the 10m air rifle shooting Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympics in a thrilling final.
The feat must be seen in context:
As the old adage goes : “It needs two hands to clap”. One cannot discount the importance of the motivation to learn and perform better on the part of the person being coached. However brilliant the coach may be, at the end of the day, results come from those being coached. These results are based on their motivation.
Both the fear of being left behind and the desire for greater rewards are potential motivators. Here are a few cases that come to mind:
Isn’t getting the best out of people a factor of motivation? Simple, isn’t it? Unfortunately, for most managers, motivation is not that easy.
Here are some basic principles which affect motivation:
- We human beings are basically selfish. We do things for our reasons not for that of others.
- You cannot motivate others because motivation comes from within a person.
- People exert effort to attain what they consider is important for them.
- Our motivation changes all the time as a result of changing priorities.
A new neurological study suggests reward mechanisms in the brain depend on how well you think other people are doing says Laura Blue writing in Time.
The findings, published in the journal Science are the first to lend physiological proof to a longstanding theory among contemporary economists: that people are affected not only by their own achievements and income, but also by how they stack up against their neighbors.
Cognition experts and economists at the University of Bonn in Germany looked at the brain regions that process reward. “In a sense it goes back to Aristotle,” says the paper’s senior author, Armin Falk, an economist. “The fact that we are social beings is a well-known fact.”
The idea that rewards are context-dependent challenges a key assumption behind most traditional of economic theories: the premise that humans are essentially self-interested, that they care about their own work, income, achievements, and purchases, and that whatever other people do is, if not irrelevant, at least not going to have a consistent or predictable effect on decision-making.
According to Falk there’s a lesson here for company managers.
It turns out the negative response to earning less is usually stronger than the positive response to earning more or as Falk says, “The pain of having less is much stronger than the joy of having more.”
Workers who discover they’re earning more for the same work may be happy, but those who earn less can quickly feel slighted, killing motivation and often the quality of their output. It doesn’t take a brain specialist to understand how that affects a business.
Chip Conley has an excellent article in Fast Company titled” Change Management:What’s The Divorce Rate in Your Company?
Like Chip, I am a big fan of Abraham Maslow. I believe his work on the Hierarchy of Needs was relevant when he first wrote about it over 50 years ago, is relevant now and will be relevant in the future.
Effective leaders have understood that the secret of getting superior performance is to understand the “key drivers” which motivate each individuals. As we say, we must know “which buttons to press” for each person.
Have you used this yourself to bring out the best in your team?