Our current concepts of motivating people are as outdated as a mustard poultice. And if you don’t know what a mustard poultice is, it’s because the concept is so old as to have been long forgotten. So why, then, do we continue to employ antiquated practices of motivation? Simply because we’ve had nothing better with which to replace them.
One example is the widely held belief that people can be motivated by money. However, what is not well known is that if money is used as a motivator in anything but unique and specific circumstances, it can and does reduce performance significantly! Scientific fact.
But we still use it.
We now know that true motivation cannot be gained using external influences (extrinsic motivators) such as money, carrot sticks or threats. Lasting, meaningful, effective motivation comes from internal influences (intrinsic motivators) which are unique to each person. These are their own internal drives such as interests, skills, values and a self-determined sense of purpose. Any sort of extrinsic motivator that either conflicts with – or does not serve in the advancement of – these intrinsic motivators is doomed to fail in most cases.
Contrary to the old maxim, there is no bliss in ignorance. So let’s replace the old with the new and provide a new path to your future successes.
This new philosophy, or more accurately, these new facts about motivation, asks us to engage people by adapting their work – and even job descriptions – to suit the intrinsic motivators of the individual.
A simple practice of this is to eliminate the “how something must be done” form of management in favor of allowing the individual to accomplish the same goal in his/her own way. The result is that the employee will adapt the process to suit his or her personal skills and drives. The more one can employ his/her own sense of joy, the more engaged that person will be. A simple concept. A factual concept.
But I find even this new definition of motivation to be lacking.
What is necessary is a new expression I am calling, “Contrinsic Motivation™.” Merging the Latin prefix “con” (with/together) with the term, “intrinsic” (from within/inherent) I use it to classify a new and much more powerful form of motivation…the true, foundational driver of employee engagement.
Contrinsic Motivation™ occurs only when the known and stated motivators of the individual meet – and match – the known and stated purpose and values of the company. When these meet in a virtual Venn diagram, all heaven breaks loose.
When service becomes an expression of one’s own passions, contrinsic motivation drives the untapped power of that person to serve – passionately – the purpose of the organization.
Yes, it’s critical. No, it can’t be imbued into an organization overnight. But your observation and application of contrinsic motivation will be the ultimate and Herculean driver of your success, both individually and corporately.