What really motivates?

HumanergyMotivationWhat really motivates?




What really motivates?

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” So says Mario Andretti, one of the most successful race car drivers in history. Notice Mr. Andretti did not mention money as a motivator. That’s because leaders need to move past the idea that money and other perks are what motivates performance on the job.

Volunteers are good examples of how/why intangibles are motivational since there is no monetary incentive. This was front-of-mind at a recent Humanergy day of caring. Humanergy regularly volunteers at S.A.F.E. Place, an organization that provides shelter and other services to survivors of domestic violence. They usually give us tasks that are:

  1. Challenging
  2. Achievable (even if they seem daunting at first)
  3. Tangible (can see the fruits of our labors)
  4. Making a difference

These four components are key to creating compelling motivation for anyone – volunteers and paid folks.  People crave a purpose, a reason to dig deep, work hard, engage creativity and give their very best at work. Think about your people. What gifts and talents do they feel driven to share with the world through their work? What do they care about? How can you not only harness that energy, but expand it?

When you help people connect with meaningful work, you’re helping them live their very best life.

How can you structure work to boost motivation and engage passion? Comment below or send us a message.


Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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Comments (1)

  1. John – Your article resonates with me. In a position of recruiting and training at our organization, I urge our leadership to move past the ‘salary range’ and extra perks, to see where we may have gaps in retaining and hiring. From my role, I believe we are successful at hiring individuals with passion, drive and the initiative to find better ways. We provide great opportunity to give back to the community and engage all team members in driving our intentional culture at work.
    Where I see us falling short is once a new hire is on board we slowly curtail their permission to use the talents for which we hired them in their job! An example of this is If one of our ‘human’ team members makes a mistake or errs in some way (and it need not be a large or impactful error), that individual is immediately seen as needing oversight and micromanagement and the error is typically pointed out in a brash and negative manner. (And as your list reflects “1. Challenging,” if a task is challenging, you may err in some way.)
    It seems obvious to me; so I am thinking my messaging to leadership is failing to hit the mark. We continue this pattern over and over. My hope is have situational training, where we take real (or theoretical) examples of responses to mistakes, and provide a more productive, coaching response. Having leadership practice this on a quarterly basis until it sticks, would be my wish. Any suggestions on how to present the message in a way that will spark a change or allow for this type of training would be greatly appreciated.

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