I’m often asked, “Are you a motivational speaker?”
I used to reply, “No, in fact no one is.” But now I just say, “Sure, what are you after.”
That might sound lazy, but it avoids a 10 minute discussion, and allows us to get to the “meat and potatoes”.
You see, no one can motivate anyone other than themselves.
Of course, you can become motivated listening to someone else tell their story. But it’s you that’s causing you to be motivated.
That said, there are many ways you can help people to motivate themselves – here’s one I use quite frequently, and that I find to be particularly effective at the moment.
There are many excellent research documents that all conclude we’re more likely to take action to avoid pain than we are to gain something pleasurable.
This explains why, in tougher conditions, more people will give their discretionary effort, compared to when things are booming.
Right now, many businesses are enjoying very favourable conditions, the knock on consequence being that some people feel they don’t need to work as hard. Indeed, some feel entitled to a slack period given what they’ve been through in the last two years or so.
My suggestion is not to paint a picture of what they might get in addition, but instead to highlight what they will lose down the track.
For example, a team is on target, but you know they could get another 20% quite easily. The temptation is to point out what that extra 20% will get them. Instead, highlight how by getting the extra now, they’ll be building a cushion against the inevitable time when conditions harden.
The conversation might go along these lines: “We’re all thrilled that conditions continue to be favourable, however, some forecast this could change quite suddenly and if volumes fall by 20%, I’ve calculated what that means for each of us- and it’s (insert £ amount) at least! Wouldn’t it be better to take advantage now instead?”
My default is to communicate positively, but sometimes, in particular when everything is rosy, I switch to highlighting the downsides – it tends to cause people to become more motivated.
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