Motivating Staff, Motivating Employees:
A Unique Guide To Business Success From Within
The very latest research and findings about what makes us tick, and how it affects our performance at work.
A proven guide to understanding motivation at its very basic needs level through to how it can turn our business results around ready for the next economic phase in our development.
Geoff Greenwood - Business Consultant
Copyright © 2012: Global Business Training & Development All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publishers.
Summary of How We Got Here
Driver No 1: Physiological & Biological
Driver No 2: Extrinsic
Driver No 3: Intrinsic
Motivation In Sport
Recommended Approach to Superior Motivation
About Geoff Greenwood
For many decades human specialists and behavioural scientists have studied many species including humans to try and identify what motivation is and what it isn't. Why some people just seem to have it and some do not. Why you can have differing amounts and how this can change daily and is it something that you need to work upon or can it be instilled into you by someone or something else?
I have produced this book to try and give you some insight into how we believe it works and to take you on a short journey through the past and present research that is starting to highlight and scientifically prove the ideas that we now have and are applying to human activities such as sport, work, business, performance and all other areas of daily endeavour.
The emphasis of the book is to turn the theories and methods into understandable and interesting reading, for you to identify how we got to this point. The core of the book is how this science and research can be used today to motivate staff and employees together with their managers and owners, to come together in changing their understanding of the past motivational theories and applications with the proof that they do not and will not continue to work in the next phase of our economic progress. You will need an open mind to identify how there is a major shift in thinking towards your staff and work and that it is so different from the past, both in terms of understanding what makes us tick and the way that managers operate to make us tick.
I gratefully acknowledge the past work of behavioural scientists, researchers, applied practitioners and fellow authors who have taken us from the stages of Stone Age man right through the evolutionary process towards sophisticated, creative and solutions geniuses who lurk in all our organisations and in some cases lead them.
The research and proof is supported by examples of anecdotal evidence from companies who are operating under the new systems and understanding and producing exponential growths and profits far in excess of their competitions.
There is clear evidence that how employees operate, how managers think of them and how leaders drive their companies has a powerful impact on the results for all. The changes needed may surprise you.
My work suggests to me and I to you that there are 3 drivers of motivation for
employees, all built upon each other that satisfy our urges, desires, cravings, goals, needs and achievements and takes us further into social interactions and positioning leading to ultimate self-fulfilment, achievement and satisfaction.
However, the 3 drivers need each other to build upon and to continually re-support each other and from my findings you will see an interactional driver that sits alongside.
The book addresses how we can use motivation to motivate our staff and motivate our employees? The answer is simple, look at what science knows and introduce it into our organisations. If you consider sport which is one of the most competitive activities on the planet, you will see later theories such as self-determination theory being used extensively to gain a competitive edge. If this science works in research, anecdotal evidence from business and in other fields then surely there must be something there for you to consider and look towards the future with it. Just imagine a workforce that is highly motivated and think about that motivation interacting with customers, suppliers and own colleagues and what results you will achieve to your bottom line.
The journey in this book will
highlight that the guy to the left is
so 1970's or so and will lead his
organisation into poor results, poor
performance and poor staff and
management satisfaction levels and
it is not difficult to understand what
that means to us all!!!
If you wish to share our passion for
increasing motivation in staff,
managers, executives and owners
then look at our extra help and
If after reading this guide you need more information or help in this area then please visit our website where you will find more support and you can contact me with your questions or thoughts on the guide by clicking any of the links within this guide.
Summary of How We Got Here
First of all let's consider a definition of motivation. A simple version is that motivation is the hunger and drive that assists us in pursuit of our goals. If we break this down, hunger and drive is that fire in your belly that is often unconscious to you but keeps you going when you are pursuing something. As you will see later it is a combination of basic, social and enhancing needs that drive you towards an end result whether this is winning a race, getting a sale, finishing the housework or asking for and receiving a date for your potential wife/husband. Motivation is what gets us out of bed every day as we are all goal seeking organisms and want to achieve. Consider people who are de-motivated, they often suffer anxiety and depression, produce poor work, finish last and are negative to be around and as seen later this can also apply if we are motivated by the wrong type of motivation. So now let us look briefly at some of the theories of motivation that have been suggested along the way and how some of them have moulded where we are today in terms of understanding and acceptance.
Incentive Theory - Skinner
Skinner's theory states that any behaviour by the employee that will lead to a positive outcome for him will be repeated and those that lead to a negative outcome will not be repeated. So the employee's manager should positively reinforce the positive outcome behaviour and negatively reinforce the negative outcome behaviour. Skinner advocated for immediate praise, feedback, and/or reward when seeking to change troublesome or encourage correct behaviour in the workplace. The rewards such as they are should be immediate. We will consider this type of approach in the section on Driver 2.
Drive Reduction Theory - Freud
This theory suggests that we as goal seeking organisms are born with physiological and biological needs and tension is created when they are not satisfied. Tension is avoided, drive is reduced and a level calm state is restored if and when they are satisfied. So motivation is a circular motion always needing and always satisfying for the status quo to be maintained. An example would be hunger and the need to eat and satisfy the driver.
Need Theory - Maslow, Herzberg
In needs theory the concept is one of humans being motivated by unsatisfied desires and needs. Maslow as indicated in the diagram above stated that there
were 5 layers of human needs and each need level had to be fully satisfied before you could move onto the next level. The diagram starts at the bottom basic need and moves upwards (physiological). So at a very basic level the individual has to satisfy their needs for their hunger, thirst, tiredness, copulation and bodily waste functions. This is the very base level of existence and must be satisfied before moving on. The next level is security needs such as shelter, environment, employment and safety. Once security needs are addressed then the individual progresses onto social needs that need to be satisfied such as belonging to family/group experiencing love, affection and relationship. The esteem level includes the need for things that reflect upon self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition and accomplishment both at work and as a person. Finally, the highest need is that of self-actualisation. This is the whole concept of contribution to the world along with the desire to experience the highest levels of personal growth and potential fulfilment.
These needs range from the basic to the very enlightened advanced ones that almost answers our own need for 'reason of being'.
Herzberg's two-factor theory above, started to introduce the concept of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and concluded that certain workplace factors resulted in job satisfaction and if not there led to no satisfaction. He distinguished between hygiene (salary, boss, conditions) that do not motivate if
present, but, if absent, results in de-motivation and motivation factors (personal growth, recognition and achievement) which give positive satisfaction to the worker. These two pioneers and their theory will link into all the 3 drivers that we will cover shortly.
ERG Theory - Alderfer
Alderfer did a form of revision of
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and
compressed the pyramid into just 3
needs, existence, relatedness and growth
that fitted the theory closer towards the
empirical evidence being found in the
physiological and safety needs combined,
relatedness combined esteem and social needs and growth was a grouping of external esteem and self actualisation flattening Maslow into 3 related parts.
His slight differences from Maslow was that we could experience a group of needs at the same time that would motivate us and that often individuals could place needs in a different order from Maslow (example is an artist who has no food or esteem but pursues absolute growth in their work).
Self Determination Theory - Deci & Ryan
Self determination theory concerns people's inherent growth tendencies and physiological needs. It concentrates on which behaviour we exhibit when we are self-motivated and self-determined. It focuses upon the motivation behind choices and actions that we take when we are not being controlled, manipulated or rewarded by the outside world. What we like to do and why we do it by removing external influences. Before the 1980's research focused upon external influences on our behaviour but then SDT started to look at intrinsic motivations behind our behaviour and performances. The work of Deci & Ryan started to focus upon 3 elements present within intrinsic motivation and they
were competence, autonomy and relatedness. All 3 are evidence of inherent growth tendencies within human beings and these needs are the basis for motivation.
Competence: Try to control the outcome whilst demonstrating mastery Relatedness: Be connected, interact and care for others Autonomy: To have the control & ability to cause the outcome of one's life The claims of SDT are that it gives a different approach towards motivation and it considers what motivates a person at a given time rather than categorising people into tight little blocks.
Intrinsic Motivation - Reiss, Harlow, Deci
Steven Reiss identified 16 basic desires that gave people the insight into who they were, what they wanted and why they did what they did. If you assess the basic 16 desires it will analyse your behaviour and determine why your goals in life are what they are and how this connects with your behaviour. It will highlight to you the needs that you require to help you become the person that you want to be. The diagram below highlights the 16 basic needs and the intrinsic feeling and value attached to each need.
So what is this term intrinsic motivation? An explanation will be given within Driver 3 later but we need to explain how the term rose and what it means to you as a motivator. In simple terms it is the pure joy of doing a task for your own reward and has not been influenced by external forces such as money, medals and praise. The pleasure of a task is to improve knowledge, learning and skill-set. An example would be the learning mathematics fully as opposed to learning enough just to pass the examination. These individuals like the control that they exert over achieving their goals in life whatever they may be.
The opposite of intrinsic motivation, is extrinsic motivation (external rather than internal). Here you approach the task to achieve an outcome only like the math test above. The motivation and driving force is coming from outside you in the terms of rewards. This will be covered more within the Driver 2 section where we will talk about the rewards and punishment systems within the workplace.
Link With Other Mental Skills - Psychological Skills Training Whilst we study and understand what drives our actions, thoughts, feelings and behaviours we also are mindful that we are all individuals, at different stages in our lives experiencing different levels of brain chemical and processes, thus we will all have differing levels of motivation towards our needs and desires. In psychology we should also consider the motivation interaction with our other mental skills. These are the skills that can enhance performance both in terms of outcome and enjoyment and crosses over considerably into the sporting world and the psychological skills training that we conduct with sporting individuals and teams. The other 11 are listed below and show potential interactions:
1. Professional Attitude: Understanding controllable factors channels motivation into correct area
2. Goal Setting: Motivation is increased by pursuing the correct type, duration and relevant goals
3. Intensity: Motivation can arouse or cause anxiety in an individual if not correctly determined
4. Concentration: Focus can pinpoint what motivation is to be directed at and the attention needed
5. Psychological Preparation: Routines can assist the levels of motivation needed in performance
6. Self-Confidence: Motivation steers towards success which builds confidence and self-efficacy
7. Emotional Control: Emotions are kept in check by your motivational levels and direction
8. Mental Rehearsal: Imagery can help build motivation through visualisation and mental practice
9. Thought Control: Intrinsic motivation keeps thoughts calm & thoughts keep motivation steady
10. Mental Toughness: Motivation & goals take you towards outcome which builds mental strength
11. Team Cohesion & Dynamics: Goals should be team based first and individual ones secondary
'I was told when I was 18 that I was too small, not tall enough to be an 800m runner. I
rather enjoyed proving them wrong. I was also told that I would never make a 1500m runner and I rather enjoyed proving them wrong too' - Sebastian Coe
'I've had more success in sport and business and I think one of the reasons I get a real kick out of it was because I was told so many times I was a dumb idiot and cannot be a
tennis player. I did it because they said that I couldn't do it - David Lloyd
Driver Number 1: Physiological & Biological
In the workplace it is very hard to imagine any individual showing strong levels of motivation if they are deprived of any of the physiological or biological needs that they and their bodies require. The list is really self-explanatory but will give you a good understanding of what underpins our drive and desires and how the other Driver blocks sit nicely on top. Please bear in mind that there will always be exceptions such as the hungry artist or the terminally ill genius but normally these basic needs will be the obvious starting point.
The metabolic requirements for survival are air, water and food. It is difficult to see beyond these requirements when confronted. Another point to consider is that sometimes we may find ourselves back at this point say in the event of illness, loss of job or relationship breakdown. We then reassess our needs and resources and start the motivational building blocks again.
The remaining needs are sex, excretion, sleep and homeostasis (an ideal state of equilibrium in which all body systems are working and interacting) completing the foundation of basic needs and drivers.
If we consider our caveman his drives and urges are present when he is hungry (find and kill an animal or pick berries) thirsty (visit to the well) tired (just lays his head on the rock) and I am sure you understand the rest. He has no real concern for leaving the world with skilful legacies or to experience very high levels of self-esteem.
Although a short section it will highlight our immediate concerns on a daily basis and once satisfied, allowing us to move onto how we increase motivation towards other actions, goals and outcomes.
Driver Number 2: Extrinsic
So now we are entering a very important area of motivation at work that has been around a long time and will continue to do so in many organisations. Our earlier scientists identified that once the basic needs were settled; we would move on and be motivated by other factors. This is where the concept of extrinsic motivation was identified and we have identified this as our second driver.
Extrinsic motivation is that which motivates us externally or from the outside as opposed to from within. These can be rewards, praise, money, recognition and medals for example. It is these rewards that provide the satisfaction and not the task itself in which they have no interest at all. However, the individual may still accrue some pleasure from completing the task because of the reward that they will receive. An example would be a cash bonus from parents for getting an 'A' in a math test. You dislike math, tests and exams but get pleasure from completing, succeeding and spending the money.
As individuals progressed from caves into a grouping known as society it was clear that behaviour had to change and urges suppressed and restrained. The second driver was to seek reward and avoid punishment. Our economic survival and progress was dependent upon harnessing this second driver. This harnessing involved the arrival of the industrial revolution with its railways, steam engines, power and textiles that played a big part in the growth within industry.
With this industrial growth came the treatment of workers and an American engineer called Taylor and his style of scientific management, which as you read, you will notice still prevails today 112 years on. This style of management focused on inefficiency in the way these industries were being run. The worker was an extension of the machinery. If what they did was right, the right way and at the right time the machine would run smoothly and at maximum productivity levels. To make sure that this happened you simply rewarded the right behaviour and punished the wrong behaviour. The workers responded to this form of motivation as did the industries. This system has been around so long that it is entrenched within our society and within us. The concept of carrot and stick came from the workers'
comparison with horses that will move either by dangling a carrot or wielding a stick. This system appeared to work well until it didn't. This was because as the economy and industry grew, new skills and abilities were needed that were more sophisticated in nature, so the reward and punishment system came under pressure. This is where people like Maslow came into the picture that you read about earlier and started to challenge the psychology behind seeking the positive and avoiding the negative along with McGregor who introduced some of Maslow's research into the business world. He introduced two management styles, Theory X and Theory Y (below) which identify a Theory X
manager and system as one of where the worker is lazy, likes avoidance of work, dislikes any form of work, unmotivated and uncaring. The manager must control, direct, coerce and ultimately punish the worker to get the job done all within a strict set of rules, procedures and systems. The manager will fit into a hierarchy spanning control downwards from each level. It is a blame culture where everyone is in it for their own ends and they are all there for the money, so external rewards is the only way forward.
McGregor's forward thinking management style was called Theory Y. Where managers understood that humans can become self-motivated at work and once basic needs are obtained, then they have a lot to offer organisations that they work for. They can enjoy their work and as we shall show later can even consider their work as equivalent to play, a difficult concept to understand
from the scientific management school of thought. They have creative thought, effective solutions to customer problems and a well of untapped potential.
They do not need control, coercion and direction but guidance, coaching and support. Their motivation comes from doing a good job and being recognised as such.
So what McGregor was really saying were those human beings have more than these 2 basic drives but a third driver on top of these. Following this there were small minor changes which helped in management (flexi-time, dress codes and teams) but was not enough to change the major thinking in business. However, we are now experiencing business underachievement and declining social standards, so a rethink is needed and we should take notice of what science is discovering particularly over the last 70 years. It is clear to see that the system is proving unsuitable and we need to change and change now.
1. Think about organisations creating open source software and systems (Firefox & Apache), free information on the Internet and only part-profit organisations. How can this fit into your reward & punishment scenario, when yes rewards are obtained but only after the creation and satisfaction of creating something special?
2. We are considered to be wealth maximisers and will always look for a zero sum outcome for ourselves within transaction theory, however, how do we account for the amount now of voluntary work and learning to play a musical instrument when we know from the outset that we will never earn a penny from the skill?
3. Work and jobs are now becoming more involved and complex, so how can the style of scientific management hope to succeed? Mechanistic work of mass production is being replaced by creative and novel solutions often one by one, so how can the old system work? This type of work cannot be outsourced or downgraded but must come from highly motivated workers within. So right brain work fits nicely into intrinsic motivation styles and mechanistic and analytic fits into extrinsic motivational school of thought.
Once money is the baseline reward for motivation in the workplace it then loses its impact once we move beyond this. The reward and punishment system tends to start giving us less of what we do really want and more of what we do not want. This is de-motivational, costly and inefficient.
Less of what we do want:
More of what we do not want:
Intrinsic motivation is reduced because the rewards become 'if-then' rewards.
The worker gives up some of his control, effort and autonomy for the outcome (bonus). Short term rewards for change in behaviour damages in the long-term.
Trying to manipulate someone's behaviour (motivation) for this gain undermines their intrinsic motivation for the task/work. Ignore this finding at your peril.
Offering rewards can affect behaviour. You reduce the amount of good behaviour and increase the amount of bad and unethical behaviour because of the pursuit of reward. Chasing short term reward goals will narrow our focus and we become blinkered to the task and the healthy outcome. There is much evidence of inflating sales invoices, overcharging customers, executive pay, falsifying financial statements etc all because of the need to achieve the wrong type of set goals. There is also evidence in sport when we talk about performance enhancing drugs and other forms of cheating. The risk of being caught along with potential damage to the body should be a poor motivator, but this is not always the case. Research done with athletes identified that 52%
of them would take a pill that would guarantee them the gold medal but they would also die within 5 years. That is more than half conditioned into the short term way of thinking of rewards and punishments.
Research in this area shows that groups of subjects incentivised to achieve a task did so more slowly than others doing it for the enjoyment. Again the goal narrows the perception and creative solutions need a wider spectrum of focus so are harder to see. The proof is there that 'if-then' rewards are in place, creativity is stifled and the best solution is not found. The evidence also shows that these rewards lead to poorer performance including corporate pay for performance plans.
Again extrinsic motivators focus our attention on the short term and not what we should be concerned about in the future. I can think of examples with UK
city share prices which move on very short term aspects as do pension funds moving widely every 13 weeks when the quarter's results are in. This is a breeding ground for cheats and fixers and you should consider the financial meltdown that we experienced in 2008 through to today, all transactions were being driven by short term bonuses for bank officials and as we know now at the expense of our future, safety and security. Many of the financial instruments and derivatives didn't actually exist but nobody really checked as they were blinded by greed. Would the situation have been different if the 'if-then' rewards were removed and the focus was over a much longer span towards mastery, growth and stability?
There is also evidence that extrinsic motivators can lead to addictive behaviour when success gives the brain a jolt of good feeling in the form of dopamine similar to the feeling of winning at the casino. Rewards can become addictive and the recipient comes to expect it and that is where the problem comes. This demanding by the brain brings about poor decision making just to name one.
External motivators come in many forms!!
However, the science goes on to show us that there is a place and circumstances when external rewards have their place and we must not discard completely. Remember these carrot and stick approaches have got us to this point and can still play a part within work even though the science recommends looking later at driver number 3.
The first important point with this section is that the baseline rewards must be adequate and fair. If an individual is hungry, homeless or lacking in basic needs he or she will never be the creative person that you now need. The salary, pay or perks need to satisfy this driver from the off. If you pay them the minimum that you need you will always experience them leaving because they can achieve minimum wage anywhere else and there is no need for loyalty from them towards your business. However, pay
them more than the very minimum and
there is no need for them to leave as they would only be leaving for a wage drop.
(Don't freak here...it will pay off a hundred fold!!!). If you are considering still using
external motivators, ask yourself this, is the task or work routine? If they are and the
work is not at all interesting and does not require any creative input to achieve then a small motivational external can be used. But do not jump out of your seat at this thinking I am contradicting myself from earlier because I will show you soon. The strategy here is to transform the task from a work one, more into a play one. You should use the
reasoning behind why the task or
activity is necessary, this builds in a
sense of purpose and thus more
engaging for all as they are contributing
towards something bigger. Be perfectly
honest that the task is boring and
mundane and well below what they are
capable of, this is building empathy into
the interaction which helps rapport and
performance. Finally, as it is mundane, let them control and choose how they are to complete the task. This element of autonomy starts to program them towards driver number 3, intrinsic motivation; that follows.
However, what is the approach if the tasks are not routine and that repetitive as above? The approach is one of highlighting the benefits of intrinsic motivation and we will highlight the main areas for implementing into your business a little later. These benefits should be concentrated on and the problems highlighted above should be frowned upon because the task is moving towards right brain away from left brain mundane. The individual even if creative wants to be paid and enjoy a good standard of living and wants the external rewards so the role of you here is to eliminate the hidden costs of extrinsic motivation at the same time.
The research suggests that you can
achieve this if the individual finds the
rewards non-controlling and gives
them feedback, quality, creativity and
enabling. They feel that the work is not
forced upon them and the rewards are
not 'if you do this you will get that or 'if-then' they understand that they still can get a reward that fits within their mindset. Often this approach is different to that above by offering 'now-that' rewards. Sometime after the achievement a reward is given that was not known about before. It can be extrinsic in terms of money, party or just simply extra praise for a job well done. This approach does not harm the intrinsic motivation of the individual as long as they are not regular, consistent and expected by the worker because they will then change to 'if-then' all over again. This is where we recommend praise and positive feedback that are not spendable but can reinforce motivational behaviour for the next cycle.
So now we have considered the drivers basic needs and extrinsic motivation we are now in a position to look more closely at intrinsic motivation, what it means and why it is important to the worker and the success of the organisation as we move through difficult economic times. Look upon the next
section as understanding of your competitive edge against your competition and how the scientific research into motivation in the workplace over the last 70 years or so has identified this third and most powerful behaviour of humans and the areas that need to change to implement within your organisation.
Read On For What Makes Your Staff Tick & How They Will Make You More Money!!
Driver Number 3: Intrinsic
We have comprehensively covered the journey from caveman to assembly line worker who satisfies their day to day biological needs and work because they like to be rewarded even if they are sometimes punished by management who are scientific in their nature and direct, control and coerce every moment of every working day. To understand human beings and particularly their behaviour we need to understand Driver number 3 which does not neatly fit into working practices over the last 150 years or so.
This understanding starts back with the work of Deci & Ryan and their findings called self-determination theory. Although mentioned here, we will discuss further in later sections. Psychological theories of motivation ranged from psycho-sexual needs through to responses from stimulus in the environment.
SDT starts from a position of 3 human needs that we all desire universally: Autonomy
If at work we are able to satisfy these needs then we will be productive, happy and highly motivated. So these needs are within us and can the environment around us support them so we achieve that favoured state. Organisations of the past cannot support them because of the nature of mechanised, mundane and often pointless work. If things are going well, companies do not like to change them for the better so keep rewarding and punishing and conversely when things are not going well, they resort to more sticks trying to get workers productive. The real problem is never identified and sometimes motivating
staff and employees is never at the top of uncomfortable manager's schedules.
Deci & Ryan state that the environment that the workers are in should change to help these needs flourish within. This is not guru speak or popular psychology but based on many decades of work within education, sport, business, medicine, relationships, exercise and personal productivity. All the evidence states the same thing, that human beings have this 3rd driver that they need to be autonomous, self determined and connected to one another.
Branches of psychology are moving away from dysfunctional behaviour towards more positive and well being approaches to understand what we say, feel, do and think. This is a concept introduced a little later known as FLOW. A human in this state is in a wonderful place and you will see why shortly.
If you think back to the management styles introduced by McGregor Theory X
& Y you will correlate these individuals with those within medicine where people could be classified as Type A or B, A being aggressive and impatient similar to managers in Theory X and Type B being calm and relaxed but still as competitive and ambitious as those within A. If the health of the nation needs movement from A to B then our management needs an equally important shift from X to Y. The X managers expected poor results and how they would respond whereas the Y managers start from a higher more positive standpoint.
The rewards and punishment system of Driver 2 needed a Management X style and extrinsic motives so if management styles needed to change then so did our motivational systems in the workplace. A new type of behaviour for both workers and management that were underpinned by intrinsic motives was needed and needed quickly. The whole emphasis here was on the satisfaction of the task, this helped workers match their inherent needs and it helped managers who did not need total control over every working minute to enjoy the results. This must be harmony and closure isn't it? Well no we have to get to understand how to implement these changes in the environment to support the needs. If we enabled this then we would solve many of our business problems and give our staff the correct working experience every day.
This new type of behaviour needs to arise from the experience and circumstances and once learned and practiced, their motivation and performance levels soar according to research and findings. The intrinsically motivated will achieve more than the short term reward seekers as they pursue mastery and accomplishment leading to control over their actions and outputs.
To introduce these solutions and develop internally motivated staff and managers there must be a proper baseline of pay and conditions etc. If people are underpaid they will have this disparity continually on their mind throughout the tasks and that will not engage FLOW. These people will act differently
towards money once baseline is satisfied concentrating on a job well done and receiving positive feedback.
Intrinsically motivated behaviour has no ending or destination as solutions and creativity continue on indefinitely whereas extrinsic behaviour will always only reach a certain level.
A final behavioural point is that of the
findings into the physical and mental
well being of people motivated by the 2
different ends of the continuum. Type X
managers and Type A individuals suffer
more health issues, disease and
psychological disturbances than Type Y
and Type B individuals who enjoy better
relationships, health and levels of self-
So the question is this; do you stay as you are or do you look towards the science and
findings and move towards a new
worker, environment and manager
problems and generate wealth and
Let us now
look at the real areas of interest
intrinsic motivation and how they
have been proven and the results that can be obtained by implementing into your company for you and your workforce.
We need to ask ourselves as to whether management style is completely out of sync with human nature and motivation in general. If we go back to the time when we were just children, remember how inquisitive and curious we all were. It is a natural state for us so what changed, were we too heavily influenced by those around us or did it start happening when we got to work and experienced the management style of the 1900's? As stated earlier this approach needs to resurface to address the type of work and output required for continuing success. We need to stop controlling and micro-managing these people but allow this inherent tendency of creativity to come out. This innate capacity for self-direction is at the heart of the behaviour we have been talking about and leads to intrinsic motivational tendencies. The shift towards autonomy brings choice back into the working life. A definition of autonomy is
'the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision'.
Does this definition apply to the workers at your organisation?
There is so much evidence in the literature showing the benefits of businesses where autonomy is supported by managers. Cornell University studied over 300 small businesses of which half of them supported autonomy and the other half had traditional top-down controlled management structures. The businesses that supported autonomy had x4 growth rate and less than 1/3rd of the labour turnover of their comparables with scientific management. Other research highlights the worker satisfaction was much greater in companies where autonomy was supported by their bosses backed up by praise, information and support.
Daniel Pink identified 4 essential aspects where autonomy was needed: 1. Task: Research shows examples of companies that introduce special time or days where staff could work on projects of their own. It soon started to produce results that exceeded all expectations. 3M is an example and out of these times, came the Post-It note. Google engineers spend a day a week working on side projects and many of their new products come from this.
Autonomy over task has been used in medicine, health care and many examples of forward thinking businesses that need solutions for an ever changing marketplace and customer.
2. Technique: Autonomy over technique is needed. Research proves in many examples that autonomy over technique coupled with fair pay generates better performance. Less direction in this area raises productivity and job satisfaction. Even roles where there are scripts or tight procedures in place, there will always be some room for improvements and enhancements by the person doing the job. When the individual worker has this sense of control, their behaviour will be more self-determined.
3. Time: Autonomy over time focuses attention more on the task and outcome and less on the time needed to do it. Think about mechanisation and the time needed to produce each unit and professions that charge you per hour and not on the brief required. Time is finite and this attention does not open the mind to creative and efficient solutions and remains very narrow in thinking.
Enlightened organisations are scrapping the clocking in procedure and time slips to be replaced by evidence of the work and what has been achieved. They are not losing talent; productivity is up, better working relationships and higher levels of focused energy.
4. Team: Autonomy over team is probably the most challenging to implement where some organisations are allowing the workers to choose who they work with and in what team. It brings together people with similar interests and motivations and helps with self-promotion and inter-personal relationships. The research proves that people produce better in these scenarios that being placed in inherited teams and it overcomes the pecking order and social group norms for instance.
Pink cites an example of a Google engineer who formed his own team and members with no budget and yet produced a new way of testing code that turned Google on its axis for its betterment.
On a final point on autonomy, try to think about any great achievements or produce that was created by suppressed and controlled individuals working under strict guidelines and control and yet if you look at some of the great names such as Picasso, Van Gough, Trump and Messi and many more, you will see that they all experienced autonomy over the task, role or vocation in life.
They could not be told how to paint that great picture or to make a billion dollars or even drift in and out of soccer players at will.
Autonomy does not mean working alone or not being accountable, far from it, in fact people welcome accountability but in what they do and how they do it.
If we consider this seriously in our commerce, education and social states then we will be in a better place to improve the human condition by using what science has discovered to return us all to our natural state back when we were kids.
The next strategy for achieving motivation in the workplace is the concept of mastery. You will see later the work of Csikszentmihayli and FLOW which is a form of engagement state ideal for learning, performing and mastering. To move from extrinsic motivated workers to intrinsic ones we need to move from compliance and control to this state of engagement following on from autonomy in our work. Mastery is your desire to become proficient in a task or activity and is related to deeper engagement with the activity and greater determination to overcome setbacks. To pursue this state increases your internal motivation and this internal motivation drives you on to achieve your outcome.
We now know that rewards and punishment was used to drive economic progress up until the present day but work is changing as our workers and managers need inquiring minds to produce solutions to complex problems, customers, changing markets and innovation. To produce this form of mastery needs our workforce to be fully engaged. If you think that this is 'touchy-feely'
then consider these tangible results identified by Gallup research.
In the US there are 50% of workers who are not engaged in their work and over 20% actively disengaged. Do you know that this equates to $300bn per year lost in output and productivity. This is
a huge number just being lost because we find it uncomfortable to change our style at work and still consider carrots and sticks to be the only answer.
The concept of FLOW was derived from studying play rather than work. He did not want to think that there was only evidence of stimulus-response in our behaviour and set out to discover other concepts. He watched people paint, sports athletes perform and others doing activities that they loved. They all told the same story of being totally immersed in the activity with no concept of time, actions or actually performing. It was the activity itself that drew the attention and change of state. The experience was truly satisfying and rewarding and yet there was never a hint of reward apart from the achievement at the end. The individual was fully engaged in what they was doing even leading to a change in their state of consciousness. The challenge is then to be able to change state when needed and to experience this type of engagement and if we can do this at play then surely we can do this at work if we have the right environment, support, autonomy and a clear desire to pursue mastery in our knowledge, skills and productivity. Think about a task that you have done maybe on the computer that you felt challenging and wanted to master, did 30 minutes go by or maybe even 4 hours without moving or knowing that time had passed that quickly? However, you need to know that you are in control as that experience cannot happen if a manager calls you every 15 minutes or the phone rings constantly as with reward & punishment management.
There are business examples of Microsoft and Ericsson who have introduced flow type environments for pursuit of mastery and again the results show increased productivity and worker satisfaction.
However, the concept of flow does not guarantee mastery it assists the process as more is achieved in the state than out of it. Flow could be in terms of hours and mastery is in terms of decades or even a lifetime as the great painters will subscribe to. The researching behavioural scientists have identified 3 rules that are needed to pursue mastery properly.
1. The correct mindset is needed - Mastery is a mental thing and what we think, feel and do about ourselves will determine our success or failure on this journey. The right growth type of mindset will allow us to pursue whereas a fixed and narrow mindset will set boundaries and restrict our mastery growth.
The right approach in individuals allowed them more effort, attempts, outside of the box thinking and different approaches towards learning whereas their fixed mindset counterparts had restrictive thinking and when they failed did not have the determination to proceed and try something else.
2. Pursuit of mastery can hurt - Like anything worth having in life there is generally no easy way, no short cuts and no easy passage. Mastery is potentially a lifelong pursuit that will be full of challenges, setbacks, problems, difficulties and obstacles needing to be overcome and mastered. Researchers now believe that talent is produced after 10 years of true dedication and hard work within an activity. In fact to perfect and master can actually become quite
mundane and boring and is why the greatest performers look to master something else either not related or to take their activity to a different level ever experienced. Flow can help through some of the mundane and difficult parts and effort is a great testament to the fact that this means something to you. That in itself has value.
3. Mastery cannot be achieved - Strange for me to say this but it is true, we can improve continually but
we can never truly assess
when we have reached that
point because it does not
exist and who is the true
authority to determine such a
point. The saying that today I
yesterday but nowhere near as good as tomorrow is very true in this pursuit.
This is why we recommend that you enjoy the journey, the pursuit of mastery rather than the excitement of arriving. The same with goal setting, if you enjoy the process and performance goals as you are travelling then the outcome goal will arrive by itself. It is mentally poor not to enjoy the route because not reaching your outcome will also deprive you of joy. So we have now covered two of the important elements of true motivation in the workplace and we will now look at the third which is purpose.
A man who is a master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a
pleasure. I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, enjoy them and to dominate them. Oscar Wilde
One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.
Leonardo Da Vinci
There is no question that the world is changing at a rapid pace. So are the workforce and the next generation of workers to enter the job market.
Individuals are more educated and wealthy than they have ever been and so are their children. They are looking for more contentment, enjoyment and satisfaction from their working lives and are generous with their time and their charitable giving. So far they have autonomy in their roles and are pursuing mastery in what they do for ultimate satisfaction but can these two elements work side by side without any purpose for what they do and why they do it.
Research shows that performance is enhanced when these two elements are balanced by a purpose for what they do. The old management style of Theory X
sees this as unimportant and irrelevant just so long as carrots & sticks continue to work and if they don't replace them and find someone else. However, these guys are missing the point that we are not only inherent goal seeking organisms but also full blooded purpose seekers. This purpose helps the intensity and effort placed into our goals that we seek towards goal achievement.
Companies can understand what science says that wealth maximisation and human disengagement are contradictions in terms as one is adversely affecting the other. You do not have to look far for the change in status of volunteers and different forms of company that is evolving which does not have shareholder maximisation as its reason for being but more along the lines of not only for profit orgs. The rise of co-operatives, the for profit company with giving at its core, example TOMS shoes and the talk of not being just about the money but what can also be given back and how society can be compensated by contribution and care.
Many managers who understand the changing circumstances will talk about concern and affection for co-workers and people reporting to them along with safeguarding the interests of the company, environment and limited resources available.
Some organisations are helping the transition from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation by letting autonomy of the workers draft the path guidelines
towards purpose maximisation. It is clear from the evidence that once a certain level of monetary reward is achieved then something else kicks in which drives the worker. The link between money and happiness is weak to say the least and to study what people spend their money on is quite interesting. Let them have more than what they need and their attention turn toward purpose, organic foods, green products, more efficient vehicles and charitable giving to name a few.
If you set purpose goals as opposed to wealth goals you will enjoy higher levels of well being and satisfaction. These finding applicable to the human race can also be applied to organisation culture and behaviour where purpose motive can generate returns, growth, and staff satisfaction and leave contribution to all in its wake.
Without purpose, goals are harder to achieve and reach and are often unclear.
Any task can be improved if you consider the purpose in the intent, such as becoming a better person or leaving a better legacy. Consider the benefits to the business if the workers feel committed to it and their purpose correlates with that of the organisation. They all believe in the existence and in what they are doing every day towards similar aims and objectives.
Another activity that can help this process is to define everything that you do and to check list to see if it contributes towards your purpose and the purpose of the business that you are in. If it doesn't contribute then drop it and focus your attention upon purpose maximisation. You will be more efficient and focused and benefits will follow.
We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we
enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful,
so worthwhile. Earl Nightingale
Motivation in Sport
To get a real handle on motivation and to start tapping into its real uses we need look no further than within sport. To demonstrate the difference between extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal) motivation just consider an Olympic athlete like Sir Steve Redgrave. He determined very early on that his outcome in life was to win an
Olympic Gold medal. From that day
until his retirement he trained every
morning rain or shine, through
injuries and diabetes towards that
goal. He endured incredible sacrifice
and mastery towards being the best
rower in the world. He managed his
motivation levels for decades and
continued to keep improving until he achieved his outcome, gold medals on a regular basis. His motivational level did not reduce even after winning the gold medal; he reappraised and came back next time. However, nowhere here have I mentioned money or rewards or any other extrinsic motivators. Basically, he did it for nothing tangible, just that achievement feeling and satisfaction of having been the best he could ever be. Why do people do this? Steve is not the only one there are many within sport who dedicate their life towards these types of outcomes. They understand that their direction of effort refers to whether they seek out (approach) or avoid certain challenges and the intensity of effort refers to how much they put into a particular challenge.
In sport psychology we have 3 views of motivation:
1. Trait centred view: Motivated behaviour is related to your individual characteristics
2. Situation centred view: Your motivation level is determined by the situation you are in
3. Interactional view: How the factors like personality, goals, needs interact with the situation
We also consider how both personality and the situation motivate people; how athletes may have multiple involvement
motives at the same time; how to change the
environment to enhance motivation as
regards opportunities and individuals within
groups; how leaders inspire and influence
motivation in people around them and to
change people's behaviour when they exhibit
undesirable motives. These motives have been considered in Driver 2. It is at this stage that sport & exercise science considers the theories that we have covered in the earlier sections such as achievements, needs, goals and moves on towards self-determination theory to understand the motivational involvement of athletes. Consider someone like Lance Armstrong here in the picture. He won the Tour De France 7 consecutive times which was a record in itself but what is really remarkable is that he did it after suffering and being treated for testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. He is a perfect example of incredible intrinsic motivation in a human being and what this can bring. I think you would agree that he didn't do it for the money or praise but on a quest to understand what can be achieved if you become driven towards the right kind of outcomes.
In sport we also understand why athletes that experience achievement motivation to introduce effort, mastering a task, overcoming challenges, beat the competition and take pride in their efforts as opposed to others that literally just turn up and come along for the ride. It is the competitive edge that drives the motivation to achieve the traits above with a feedback loop to continue improving towards mastery, taking on board positive and negative feedback viewed as rewards or punishment.
Current thinking considers intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to be on a continuum between amotivation, extrinsic and then intrinsic motivation moving from low self-determination through to high self-determination. Yes it is possible to have no motivation at all for the task!!
Often in sport we are asked how intrinsic motivation can be increased: Provide for successful experiences because perceived success strengthens feelings of personal competence. Always give positive feedback about what they are doing right.
An example would be young basketball players having the basket lowered or distance reduced to succeed many times.
Use verbal and non-verbal praise. It reinforces the successful behaviour and helps the
athlete continue to strive for improvement. A simple pat on the back or "well done"
goes a long way in keeping the individual motivated and on point. Example could be
someone who is struggling to reach your level needed in the team.
Involve participants in decision-making. Encourage them to take responsibility for making the rules and decisions. This gives them a feeling of control within their task or
role over their ultimate accomplishment. This autonomy can be used in organising their practice session or changing some of their more minor goals.
Set realistic performance goals. These should match with their abilities as not all
performers are the same. If they feel that they can reach these performance targets then it will act as a challenging motivator. Ensure that the targets are within their
control say like the number of strides between hurdles and not just winning.
Vary the monotony of practice and sequences to maintain interest and motivation.
Remember Steve Redgrave and how he must have stayed motivated on the thousands
of cold mornings compared with the motivation needed on the 3 minutes say every 6
months of competition and 4 years of Olympic games.
Some of the most notable research into intrinsic motivation that is fully entrenched within sport is the concept of flow. Everyone will be aware of this concept but may know of it under a different name as being in the zone or unconscious competence. He investigated what makes a task intrinsically motivating. He researched many areas that people gave incredible intensity to and yet nearly always offered no external rewards. He along with other researchers identified a number of common elements that made sporting activities intrinsically motivating and contributed towards the flow state.
1. A matching of your skills towards the challenge or task at hand. This is the core of the flow state and the research and the diagram below will show the model and its effects. An easy win or bad loss will not get you into flow state it needs to be evenly matched and challenging and you perceive that you have the necessary physical, mental, technical and tactical skills set to compete and prevail in victory.
(Low skill with High Challenge)
(High skill with High Challenge)
Skills Low Skills High
(Low skill with Low Challenge)
(High skill with Low Challenge)
2. Complete Absorption In The Task. You are completely lost within the task and unaware of things around you. Nothing else seems to matter at that time.
Your mind is clear, relaxed and focused upon the effort that you are expending.
3. Total concentration on the task at hand. You feel clear and focused within your mind and efforts. All forms of distractions disappear whether they are external like crowd noise or they are internal like negative thoughts. Sports performers recall that all they could see was the court and the ball which seemed huge and unmissable.
4. A sense of control. Whilst in the flow state you are totally unaware of your controlling actions and efforts and become unconcerned about any chance of a lack of control ruining a kick or a strike for instance. Findings show that you are only aware of participating and playing your shot and nothing else. True flow will often distance your thoughts from your opponent and they are considered as just making up the numbers for your challenge. Even winning and losing is not at the forefront of your mind.
5. Loss of self-consciousness. Sporting performers report a loss of ego whilst they are completely lost in the task. They are unaware how they look to onlookers.
6. Goals that are clear. When goals are this determined and accepted they steer the athlete towards exactly what they need to do and how to do it. They need no conscious thought or awareness as the clarity of their intention facilitates attention and concentration.
7. Merging of awareness with action. You will become aware of your actions but not of the awareness itself. This great feeling of things coming to you naturally without considering them is the flow state. The moment you interrupt this sense of being and start consciously thinking say about winning and losing is when you will drop out of the state and mess it up.
These elements make up peak performance for us all whether we are serving for the match, dealing with clients or driving a car it is the feeling of being 'on fire, hot, in the groove, on a roll' or other explanations that athletes give for
their experiences. Everything seems to be going well and operating on automatic pilot.
You should also consider that this state of feeling is intrinsically grounded and no talk has there been about money, praise or other rewards apart from the sense of achievement and pleasure from the engagement in the activity itself.
Also you can identify afterwards the transformation or passing of time. To some the time stands still and for others the time passes in an instant. Either way it is your own perception of time. Consider a time when you was completely immersed in what you was doing and when you looked at the clock you discovered that 4 hours had passed or you arrived at your destination in the car and you cannot remember how you got there. You do not have to try hard or think about it just get into that state and let it happen. I promise you that you will not want it to end.
'What I call being in the zone is when the gun goes and I don't remember any of the race. It's dreamlike. My mind just switches off. You go into automatic pilot. I don't
remember what happened down the back straight; I don't remember going over the
8th hurdle or even crossing the line.' Champion Gold Medal Hurdler Sally Gunnell So for a few final points on motivation in sport; It identifies human personality traits and the situation that athletes are in. It understands the need for external drivers but also the building of intrinsic internal motivation is the way
to go according to the scientific research. Sport understands ultimate sacrifice and takes it place within the self-determination theory approach and full enjoyment and reward for dedicated motivation is to experience the flow like state allowing mind and body to operate in harmony.
Motivation is a critical variable in an athlete's performance influencing the amount of effort expended the ability to remain resilient after performance setbacks, how long someone will persist during long and difficult periods of practice, training and competition.
Motivation may be the factor over which performers have most control and they can exert more control over their motivation levels by becoming aware of their level and strategies they can implement for influencing it.
'It's almost a bit of Star Wars stuff - it's the force. It's because
you are becoming a warrior and it's an amazing thing' - Steve
Backley Gold Medal Javelin
So this brings us to the end of this motivational journey and what is really
motivating employees. Within this text you have been introduced to some of the greats within behavioural science who have offered theories, concepts and models with each one building on the last. These theories have been tested, discarded, enhanced and led to new ways of thinking and findings within later research.
I have also shown how motivation is a mental skill that we have control over and how it fits into a psychological skills training set and enhances other areas of our psyche and performance.
Three drivers have been introduced all building upon the last one that has mapped the journey from primeval being through to enlightened individuals working in forward thinking businesses all with a sense of purpose and enjoying every moment of it along the way.
It is also clear to see how management theory evolved alongside this research and stood us in good stead until it became a blockage and obstacle and started to affect how our people behaved in the workplace and managerial reaction to this behaviour.
I identified and showed the evidence from the researchers and fellow authors as to the way forward including changes to our structure, management style, and organisational objectives and from within our workers themselves. This is clearly a two way street, be motivated and motivate thyself. Motivation can be taught, learned and practiced to enhance along with the other psychological skills I mention in the text. We are also conscious that we have differing levels and types of motivation at different times, so it is important to understand our optimal position and to always benchmark back to this position if circumstances move us.
Business only needs to look at motivation in sport to be convinced of the results achieved by motivation of the right parts. Sport took on self-determination theory as its new base for understanding the needs we have as a human being and how we harness them. There is no more competitive arena than sport where a lifetime of effort, dedication and purpose may come down to just 30 seconds of performance.
You were introduced to the concept of FLOW and how this state can assist mastery and improvement towards intrinsic motivation. The state is pleasurable and achievable by all if the surrounding elements are in place. The childlike viewing and questioning that we have all seemed to have lost can be restored.
Finally, there is my approach. I will take you through the constituent parts and order of the recommended approach to superior motivation in the diagram below. The approach takes into account what has preceded but in the correct order and inter-related with a few other variables.
My Recommended Approach
1. Identify and satisfy our basic needs and wants. Although most will be same there will be some slight variations between individuals. Once we know this list then we can move on to use strategies that will keep them satisfied. Think of a day when you are in work on a good salary and another day when you become unemployed and cannot get a job.
2. Understand what motivates you personally and learn about motivation and use strategies that enhance your own form of motivation and pinpoint what you need to do to achieve that optimal level that will be right for you. These techniques are invaluable to you when your motivation levels wane or get diminished.
3. Start to build intrinsic motivation. Start to learn the strategies and change your thoughts and feelings towards what you do and why you do it. This will be easier if the needs below are satisfied and you are doing a job that you love or could love with the right support from the business and its leaders.
4. Whist building your intrinsic levels always compare and match the motivation elements of the rewards and punishment systems. One can help the other under the right circumstances and if correctly balanced.
5. Set and pursue the correct goals to lead you to your destiny. They should be a combination of process, performance and outcome goals. You must ensure that these motivational goals are balanced with your personal and business goals and that they are in harmony with goals of the organisation. If there is a mismatch then you will be in conflict with yourself and the business that you work for.
6. The goals should be placing you in a position of autonomy, mastery and purpose. This is a process that will need the support of the company or organisation that you work for. To implement autonomy into your work will need some form of self-control over time, technique, task and team that you may belong to. Mastery will need a change of mindset, an understanding that you will never technically get there and that it is a lifelong satisfying struggle.
Purpose will need your clarity on your outcome and why you are doing what you are doing.
7. You will need to be inspired by those around you. This can be in the form of managers, owners and work colleagues. Managers will need to demonstrate good performance and purpose in everything that they do and really set an example for you to follow. Managers can undermine or facilitate progress of the organisation and you personally. As just mentioned they need to bring meaningful goals, resources and encouragement and ideally remove all controlling behaviour to one of coaching, supporting and mentoring. This inspiration will guide you into behaving productively and you will then start to inspire your colleagues and those that report to you.
8. Understand and practice getting into the FLOW because it will bring inspiration and performance to you work. I discussed earlier the ideal elements needed and the pleasure, enjoyment and satisfaction that will be derived will assist your working life and the company you work for. Managers can understand the benefits of letting staff achieve this state for themselves as well as the business.
9. The research has shown that allow these elements to be in place and change the thinking about workers and creative and empowering solutions will be achieved. We have been through the industrial revolution, mechanisation and
information ages and we need new products, services and offerings to different market segments, buyer personas and emerging areas. It is all about the knowledge, customer understanding and specific output that will help the org prevail. Minimum wage, coercion, control, punishment, poor management and me-too products will not grow in the evolving commercial field that we will be playing on in the future.
As has been said by the researchers; what science knows and what business does is very far apart. If we take notice of the findings then we will change our outlook, our workforce, our management and our owners. Financially, the numbers around employee disengagement is frightening and dripping through our corporate fingers and we need to ensure that we are able to retain these revenues to reinvest in better management, products, our workforce and the social environment.
Recommended Approach To Superior Motivation
Satisfy Basic Needs & Wants
Be Inspired By Those
About Geoff Greenwood
Geoff Greenwood is a business consultant specialising in 2 major areas of business development and these are exceptional human performance and online business marketing. He has a passion for performance that has been developed through corporate and the sporting science worlds.
He believes that anybody can be taught how to perform in the workplace the same way as an Olympian goes about their daily business. This teaching can highlight the benefits for the individual and the organisation of mindset change, attitude, mental strength and performance in the workplace. Once these mental performance skills have been taught they can be practiced and enhanced continually.
The second area of specialism is the new basis of inbound marketing utilising all the technological platforms and applications. As with the workforce, marketing has changed and is continually changing and marketing spend needs to be suitably targeted towards a new customer residing in new areas. Although principles such as marketing strategy and message still apply, they need to be integrated into new approaches and techniques.
He has been featured on BBC Radio 4 and in many business executive magazines and offers services from the website:
Online training packages featuring our own material or bespoke work
Motivational systems, consultancy and workshops
Business & executive training, coaching and development
Online business marketing strategy, model and website traffic