I recently wrote a blog for Agenda Consulting all about understanding the link between motivation and performance which I thought might be useful if I shared on the blog too.
Many of us would say that motivation and leadership are synonymous. Some go so far as to state it is a tautology; you can’t have leadership without motivation. Why then, do we see so many leaders demotivated by their role? Why do I see so many people needing to ‘dig deep’ and ‘push through’ in their career in order to reach targets? Why do I see so many people merely surviving the week, rather than thriving in their roles?
To bring about sustainable success in organisations, I believe we need to do two things:
- We need to truly embrace the power of motivation in the business;
- We need to change our definition of leadership to one which is more dispersed, more inclusive and more equal;
So how do we do this?
Let’s start by exploring the terms ‘motivation’ and ‘leadership’ in more detail.
Motivation can be defined as “the reason or reasons for acting in a particular way”. In other words, it explains why we do what we do. For many organisations however, motivation has been left to happenstance; it is not seen as something we can harness. And until recently, it hasn’t had a common language through which we are able to identify, express and manage what drives us as individuals.
Leadership has been defined in many ways over the years, but predominantly in a top-down, hierarchical way. In so many organisations, leadership is seen as the preserve of the few; it is seen as an exclusive role, rather than inclusive. My definition of leadership is “the daily practice of taking responsibility for oneself, showing up fully and continuing to grow while enabling others to do the same”.
When we align these two definitions, we can create an environment at work where every person individually can flourish and importantly, we can begin to unlock the latent potential and creativity in our colleagues and start to achieve more with less in a truly inclusive environment. And in a world where we are all time poor, distracted by tech advances and struggle to truly communicate with one another, this can only be a good thing.
When we align our intentions and motivation to our actions and behaviours, not only will we drive up performance, productivity and increase return on investment, but we will also drive up well-being, happiness, and positively impact the human experience; all things that many of us would define as ‘leadership’.
But how does this play out in practice?
Well to understand that we must first take a look at current landscape.
A Gallup Worldwide study found that consistently low engagement can have a negative effect on company success. Teams with low engagement are less productive, less profitable and less likely to be loyal. This lack of loyalty to a company can negatively impact turnover, which can cost businesses approximately 1.5 times the annual salary of every person who quits.
We also know that it’s no longer good enough to talk about work / life balance. It’s a term that is frankly outdated and doesn’t sit well with me at all. This is because we bring our ‘whole self’ to work and, as such, it’s simply not enough to assume that a little bit of extra flexibility in our working schedules is going to keep us happy. Instead we need to understand exactly what motivates each of us both in and out of work to make sure that we can indeed bring our whole self to work, we can truly enjoy what we do and make a positive impact.
For companies to succeed today they need to change the way they think, defining their true purpose and creating shared values that benefit everyone - from employees and customers, to the community and the business. It’s never been more important to understand the alignment of an individual’s motivations to the organisation they work for and of course, society at large. Those that do this will find success.
To demonstrate how this works in practice I have come up with the CREATE model. This is a model aimed at harnessing motivation, honing skills and combining these to inspire people to step up to be leaders in order to deliver on the organisation’s purpose. It’s a model that puts motivation at the forefront.
CREATE is a model worth experiencing though, rather than just explaining on paper, because the results can be seen immediately and those who do experience it will know themselves in a whole new way. Furthermore, I believe it’s the perfect way for people to create a space for learning and give them an experience of why motivation is so integral to success.
By aligning motivation with leadership (through CREATE) we can ensure more engaged people, increased productivity, better continuity of service and experience, and greater loyalty. Because remember, when people love what they do, they do it so much better.
To find out more on this and how CREATE works – why not attend my upcoming workshop at the Strategic People Conference on 12th March at America Square Conference Centre, London. Book your place here.