Tag Archives: intrinsic motivation

stuck in a career with no place to go …

Are you stuck where you are?

“Organizations often spend too much time watching the scoreboard and not enough time watching the ball. Blanchard® research shows that 50% of organizations focus on dashboards and metrics when they should be focusing on creating and improving employee passion. A focus on numbers and productivity without a comparable focus on—and understanding of—what motivates each individual can undermine an organization’s efforts to boost employee productivity and employee work passion.

There are both distinct and subtle clues to understanding organizational productivity. Metrics such as sick days, decreased revenue, and defect rates are easily measured, but the subtleties of productivity can be harder to read. In organizations where employee work passion is high, people willingly exert discretionary effort. They talk positively about the organization to friends and family. They support their colleagues without it being a required part of their job. They are loyal. And they intend to stay with the organization, perform well, and inspire others.”    (from the Ken Blanchard Organization)

It is no wonder that so many people feel like the work they do doesn’t matter.  The effort and focus is on measuring things and leaving out the most important thing, people.   Of course there are organizational results that truly matter to the success of the business and those things shouldn’t be left to chance, but how often are those measures obscuring what really needs to be understood, how engaged are the employees in the work that they are doing?   Measuring productivity and orders and profits are  important, and so is the heartfelt engagement of each person.   Companies that want to improve bottom line results just need to care for their employees.   Now, some would say, “we do care”, we have benefits, they get a paycheck, they get a vacation, employees get all these things from us and what do they do, they don’t do their best.

There are many companies where manager’s are managing as if were 1920 and Frederick Taylor was designing the work day.   Extrinsic motivation which was the popular mode of squeezing more out of an employee is an outmoded form of management.  Not that it isn’t needed at all, it is just that it is needed far less than what it was.   The new leadership model includes intrinsic motivation and the prime method of encouraging employees.  Companies could benefit greatly, improve their bottom line, improve their competitiveness, and improve results by improving employee engagement.

What kind of company do you work for?  Is it encouraging you, empowering you, allowing you the autonomy you need to produce your best results?    When 84% of people surveyed believe they need to be doing something different then most people are not feeling empowered to make the difference they could make.

If your company is filled with people who are working at less than their potential then “coaching” is one tool that can improve the bottom line.  See if your company’s management would be open to improving their bottom line.

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”  Pema Chödrön

motivation – reward and punishment

Step back to 1949, to a lab where Rhesus monkeys were given some puzzles to solve.    Within a short time the monkeys had solved the puzzle which was very surprising to the experimenters.   Why would monkeys take upon a task and try to solve it when there was no punishment or reward mechanism in place to motivate them?

In the early 1900’s Fredrick Taylor was hired to measure human performance and as a result a rewards/punishment model has been the most popular model for motivating people.   Today scores of organizations roll out performance evaluations to gage how well the workers are doing.   Not doing so well may mean no raise or a quick departure from the organization.   The top performers are richly rewarded with opportunity, cash and even job security.   For routine work perhaps the model of reward and punishment is at best a workable solution.   For today’s service economy and the competitive need to stay ahead of the competition a new model must be put in place.

In 1949 Henry Harlow discovered that Rhesus monkeys were intrinsically motivated to solve the puzzle.  In fact when rewarded their performance (ability to solve the puzzle) decreased.   It is as if the reward became an expectation thereby reducing the creative potential of the monkey. 

People, creative people are motivated by the magnitude of the problem, the ability to make a difference and a personal desire to solve problems.   The management methods or reward and punishment models diminish the effectiveness of today’s working adult.   Top leaders should recognize the shift and change their methods of managing workers in the new economy.

What motivates you?   Are you motivated by rewards and punishment?

From Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.