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The Way I See It… Understanding Their Motivation


InattentionKevin McLaren, co-founder of Blue Eskimo Solutions, argues that organisations can learn from sport and the armed forces if they want to understand how to motivate teams.

The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not been.
Henry Kissinger

It is not by accident that the managers of successful teams understand how to motivate the members of their team. They understand their team as individuals and know how to get the maximum performance from them by using a whole raft of techniques. They spend time with their team understand the dynamics of the people as a group and as individuals.

They understand that each member of the team has unfulfilled potential and they understand how to maximise that potential. They review the performance levels of their people and their group on a regular basis to ensure high standards are maintained.

They understand good people need motivating. They understand that success breeds success and failure breeds mediocrity at best. They understand how to increase energy and work levels. They spend time looking for and removing the de-motivators. They have good communication skills to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them. They demand the best and recruit the best. They take their team and individuals to new horizons building their confidence and skills to be the best.

Why is it we understand that successful managers in sport in the armed forces practice and implement motivation techniques constantly putting in procedures processes and techniques to gain that little extra performance? In sport the little extra means the difference between winning and losing. In the armed forces it can mean the difference between living and dying. In the world of business it can mean the difference between increasing or decreasing market share, the difference between being a winner and a loser.

It is no accident that successful teams receive motivation practice and work hard as a group and as individuals. They understand what is required and expected of them as individuals and as a group. Why do you think business trails behind sport and the armed forces? Why is it with all this knowledge that motivation accelerates performance there is so little motivation leading and coaching taking place in the business world both at a senior management level and at an operational level? Why is it ignored by so many when we know that by spending quality time motivating and leading our people we can make a real difference to their job satisfaction and performance both as individuals and as a group.

We can see the return of the investment in spending time motivating people in terms of high staff morale, better performance, and high staff retention. I would suggest the answer is that those in management positions have a blind spot regarding the benefits of motivation or do not have the ability, skills or the time to allocate this activity.

Motivator's tips
If you want to be a good motivator you have to understand and want to understand people and what makes them tick. If you can’t do it yourself invest in employing a professional coach to help improve the individual and team performance.

* When recruiting managers and leaders how often do you evaluate their ability and skills to inspire and motivate people?
* How many good people do you lose every year because they are dissatisfied.
* How many times do you lose high flyers, who are bored and need driving to new horizons?
* How much time do your managers spend motivating the members of their team both individually and as a group?
* How well do individuals and the team in your organisation understand what is required of them?
* How well do the managers understand the knowledge attitudes skills and habits of the individuals who work for them?
* What motivation activities take place both for the individual and the group in your company?
* How good is the understanding within your management team about performance improvement and how motivation can play a major role in this activity?
* What motivation methods techniques and programs do your managers use?
* What levels of achievable stretch targeting is given to your people?
* What learning and development programmes are in place within your organisation?
* How much leader and coaching takes place in your organisation?
* What reward systems have you introduced that are motivational?
* How good is your staff selection process at picking winners?
* How does your team match up to the competition?
* Have your actions motivated anyone today?

So what can you do now?
There are many books and some internet sites available with the theory and practice of motivation discussed and presented in great detail which can be very helpful as part of the learning process. One of the web sites is You can study and watch the habits of successful managers who have learned and honed the skills of motivation. You can start allocating time and energy to introducing motivation as part of a regular routine. You can use professionals to help you introduce motivational programs and measurement systems into your company. The most important thing to do is take enthusiastic action now.

Control your destiny or die.
Jack Welch


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