Motivation is not something you DO to someone

We have some weird language in the business world.


I have superiors (because let’s face it… they are superior to me); I am their subordinate because we all know I am  SUBordinary; I have a supervisor which is someone with super vision who can make sure I am supervised; I have a MANAGER who manages me.

The best part… these superiors, supervisors & managers like to MOTIVATE me.

That last one gets me. Trying to motivate someone is like dangling the carrot in front of the donkey pulling the cart. If the carrot is big enough, the donkey might put a foot in front of the other. But what happens when the carrot is gone?

I have worked in all kinds of environments where MOTIVATION came in all sorts of shapes and forms: Incentives, swag, company parties, pay raises, great perks, benefits…you name it

I can’t say that all those things didn’t make me like my job and the company I worked for. They did.They are all nice things, many of them essential things to have.

The motivation I am talking about though, is the kind that isn’t designed by someone else. It comes from within. Within each of us. When we stretch ourselves or go above and beyond not because of the carrots, but because we feel compelled and WANT to do it.When we love the person we report to, the department we work in, the company we work for. When we feel that we are in the exact right place and using our best strengths there.

So how do you get then a whole company full of motivated employees? do you do away with the employee recognition coordinator, the event planner, the compensation specialist?

Nope. You need those, but only to enhance a deeper culture of commitment to the INDIVIDUALS in your company and how they align with what your organization is about… and vice versa.

It comes down to 4 key things:

1. Your company or department has a clear sense of why it exists, what it stands for and what success looks like

2. You make sure your leaders have the resources, time and support to seek out, hire and spend time with individuals    who are excited and inspired by what you are about

3. You involve those individuals in day to day decisions and genuinely take their feedback and innovative ways to move better, faster, more accurately, with better results

4. You think of your employees as individuals, not as their title or position. You figure out how the talents of that individual can be leveraged and how they can come to work every day playing to their strengths.

The best part is, YOU don’t get to say when you are doing this…. your EMPLOYEES will tell you when you are doing it. They will tell you by coming to work every day showing brilliance, energy, innovation and enthusiasm that can only be described as …..MOTIVATED.