We typically like to educate ourselves not only by our experiences on the job, but also with a great reading that we like to share amongst each other during our month end meetings. We have mainly focused on books that pertain to our business which is sales, but in this instance I wanted to focus on something that was more motivating rather than educational. This past month I read a book called Motivating Employees written by Anne Bruce and James S. Pepitone.
Essentially, this book focuses on motivation and how it can help you become a more inspirational employee/manager. What does that mean? Getting more done through people. The idea is to better equip yourself to be able to build a highly motivated, higher performing organization. The beginning of the book touches upon the actual definition of motivation and where it comes from. Motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivations are those that drive us from within, such as a personal interest, desire or fulfillment. Extrinsic motivations are those which are factors outside of us that influence our internal needs, wants and behaviors. These can by typically described as rewards, promotions and praise.
As a sales representative, I have learned that you have ups and downs throughout your career and the primary goal is to manage some sort of consistency to balance the peeks and valleys. So what are the three most common ways to motivate? One that I believe is most popular today is fear, which usually peaks when the economy is sluggish. In sales, typically commissions outweigh base salaries, so individuals are motivated to work harder to earn a similar compensation when the economy is striving. Also, the fear of being “cut” when organizations are being downsized could be the fuel that lights the fire. The other two motivators that are highlighted are incentive and personal growth. Incentives are very popular in a sales world. Typically, you can see many great ideas such as a paid day off, dinners, and tangible gifts. This creates urgency as there is an added benefit if you book more revenue or perhaps have the largest pipeline. The last common motivator that Bruce and Pepitone place emphasis on is personal growth from a compensation standpoint or higher responsibility. They stress that challenging yourself is the key factor on furthering your potential. Understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are enables you to have a solid start on climbing up the ladder.
Throughout the book, Bruce and Pepitone spoke about the key factors of internal and external motivation. They emphasize the importance of working with human nature and encouraging entrepreneurial thinking and how it is linked to performance. In conclusion, they feel the most critical pieces of motivation are values, humor, synergy and of course team power.
So, how important is motivation? It makes the difference between failure and success. You can be experienced, knowledgeable, talented and the most capable manager/employee, however, if you lack the motivation, mediocrity will take over and you will just be average.
Motivation is not a simple matter and requires a recipe of elements:
- Motivation is an inside job!
- Relationships: Keys to better performance
- Working with Human Nature
- Encouraging entrepreneurial thinking
- Linking Motivation to performance
- Having Fun!
- Attacking de-motivators
- A clear path to performance
Bruce and Pepitone wrap up the book by highlighting how you must be committed to continually developing yourself and your employees. “Success breeds success.” We all accept and understand that. Unleashing your synergy and making sure that you better yourself is of the utmost importance. Ever hear of practice makes perfect? Well compare it to shooting a hockey puck 100 times a day to have more strength and accuracy. Can’t get your pitch down? Practice leaving yourself messages, do it in front of a mirror. Becoming a student of your business and becoming more knowledgeable creates strength and more importantly confidence which is the greatest motivator.
Any organization can take a significant hit and face challenging times and changes if it is not taking the necessary steps to prepare for the future through the attitudes, motivation and action of the organization and its employees. This is what this book is all about. Utilizing these techniques can be powerful tool that keep you and the organization from falling to mediocrity and complacency, but none if it matters if you can not translate it into action!