Motivation

What Makes a Team Click?

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

In some group work I am currently involved with, I am facilitating a session of business leaders who are from all around the world, therefore multi-cultural and quite high achievers.  One of the things we do at the beginning is called The Leadership Journey, which involves sharing the experiences and the people who have essentially shaped the person and type of leader they have become.  This has proven to be an extremely effective means of team bonding, for the following reasons.

  • Past experiences can shape future decisions.  So perhaps the more you know about somebody’s past, the better you might understand the position they take or decision made, and how you might possibly influence it.
  • Sharing is caring and vice versa – when demonstrating interest in people’s backgrounds and what matters to them, connections become stronger that can create a sense of genuine collegiality.
  • Vulnerability builds trust – when everybody shares their past in an honest, open way, you see each other for who they truly are; this creates a unique and trusting bond.
  • Happiness leads to effectiveness – when people enjoy their work and the people they work with in an authentic way, there is a genuine sense of collaboration and happiness, that are enablers of success.

Interestingly, in most work situations, we never really take the time to understand who the person is; it’s perhaps regarded as none of our business, or might be seen as prying into their personal lives.  In reality, personal and professional are not mutually exclusive.  Whether you like it or not, you bring your work stuff home with you, and your home baggage goes to work with you.  So why not simply embrace and understand it, and be open to the possibility that it might in fact create a very supportive work environment, that facilitates much higher levels of engagement and productivity?  If that is the case, you might also be a lot happier going home and so the cycle becomes much more positive.

“Paid for” Volunteer Motivation

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Are you involved with volunteer work along with your regular “paid for” career?  If so, you will know that there are similarities, but also differences, when operating in these two environments.  The general consensus is that because volunteer work is done without financial reward, there is a greater sense of purpose associated with it.  However, there is a significant factor that plays a key and sometimes varying role, and that is motivation.  How this actually plays out might surprise some.

Within career work, one could very quickly point to the obvious motivators such as payment, career progression, status, etc.  Closer consideration might offer a positive work environment, the challenge and job satisfaction.  However you look at these extrinsic and intrinsic drivers, there is also a consequence to not delivering.  Leadership also creates accountability leading to high-levels of contributions.

With volunteer work, people do this for varying reasons and, whatever the motivation, it leads to different levels of commitment.  Additionally, in conflict with this is the constant that everybody is doing it for free, which then becomes a source of frustration because of the disparity of contributions.  Because leadership has minimal leverage in this instance there can be a lot of complaints and this can give rise to low levels of contribution.

The solution lies in avoiding comparisons.  Simply accept that volunteers align their commitment / contribution to their own motivation and then make the necessary choices.  For some this will be a lot of work and for others not so much.  However, rather than viewing this as an anomaly or unfair, simply view it from the perspective that people are making conscious decisions to contribute at their own level, and that’s ok.

The Value of Professional Development

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

According to Dan Pink in his book, Drive, there are three components to driving motivation within employees, namely Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy. He argues that essentially people want to understand how their role fits into the overall goal of the business, they need the skills to do it and finally they flourish when given the freedom to execute.

Purpose and Autonomy are pretty self explanatory so let’s explore Mastery in some further detail. Mastery does not imply that you must be the best or that you have nothing further to learn. Rather mastery is viewed as a journey; it is this pursuit of constant learning that enables you to adapt to changing circumstances and ultimately strive towards constant improvement. The more common term to this is ongoing professional development.

Many organizations are looking for ways to enhance the levels of contribution of their employees and ongoing professional development is certainly a key component of this. But when is training right and what are some of the pitfalls? Here are a few tips.

  • Developmental opportunities should be driven firmly by organization needs. It should not be perceived as an employee benefit or to meet a training hour goal.
  • Accountability of the trainee should be built in. This can be in the form of a project submission or an exam but something that ensures that there is means of measuring commitment and retention of what has been learned.
  • The integration of the learning back into the organization cannot be overlooked (though it is often forgotten). When people go back to their busy responsibilities what accommodations are being made to practice their new skills?

If these are followed or used as criteria for training, the thorny issue of what is Return on Investment lessens. In truth training can rarely be assessed in such tangible forms as money, but if its benefits can be demonstrated through improved processes, behaviors and / or activities, then this will become an acceptable alternative.

So rather than asking what will be the ROI, simply ask what will be different as a result of this training and how will we know. If you get an acceptable answer. then the training is right.

 

 

The Keys to Effective Employee Engagement

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

internal coachingEmployee engagement is the collective level of intellectual and emotional commitment employees have toward their work and organization. More and more organizations are embracing this as a means to understanding how they measure up from an engagement perspective. Consequently many different types of tools and surveys are now being accessed to help create some objectivity as to how people feel about their work.

Once these surveys are undertaken and organizations wish to elevate their engagement score, three areas where significant developmental opportunities exist are:

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
Do qualities such as being responsive, empowering, resilient, expansive, empathetic, authentic and present best describe people worth following? Emotionally intelligent leaders clearly understand that their approach is less about them and more about, through these qualities, supporting and coaching the people who make it happen. This very much compares to what Jim Collins in “Good to Great” described as Level 5 Leaders; those having Personal Humility and Professional Resolve.

Highly Motivated Employees
Employee motivation is influenced by a number of factors namely your job role, your boss, the team you associate with and the organization (and culture) you are part of. Based on these criteria, it is important to ensure that the motivational need of the individual compares favorably to what is available to them; there is a fit. By focusing on developing these areas, employees are provided with a greater sense of belonging and desire to make a more meaningful contribution.

Adopting a Coaching Approach
The very essence of coaching involves supporting other people’s success. The skills are rooted in connecting through listening, questioning, acknowledging and validating and genuinely supporting the other person. However there is also a clear focus on action but one that can be agreed upon, acted on and recognized when complete. Coaching is used to provide people with the resources, knowledge and skills to make positive decisions/actions that can advance the individual and their organization.

 

Keys to Employee Engagement

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

employeeEmployee engagement is the collective level of intellectual and emotional commitment employees have toward their work and organization. More and more organizations are embracing this as a means to understanding how they measure up from an engagement perspective. Consequently many different types of tools and surveys are now being accessed to help create some objectivity as to how people feel about their work.

Once these surveys are undertaken and organizations wish to elevate their engagement score, three areas where significant developmental opportunities exist are:

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders

Do qualities such as being responsive, empowering, resilient, expansive, empathetic, authentic and present best describe people worth following? Emotionally intelligent leaders clearly understand that their approach is less about them and more about, through these qualities, supporting and coaching the people who make it happen. This very much compares to what Jim Collins in “Good to Great” described as Level 5 Leaders; those having Personal Humility and Professional Resolve.

Highly Motivated Employees

Employee motivation is influenced by a number of factors namely your job role, your boss, the team you associate with and the organization (and culture) you are part of. Based on these criteria, it is important to ensure that the motivational need of the individual compares favorably to what is available to them; there is a fit. By focusing on developing these areas, employees are provided with a greater sense of belonging and desire to make a more meaningful contribution.

Use of Coaching Skills

The very essence of coaching involves supporting other people’s success. The skills are rooted in connecting through listening, questioning, acknowledging and validating and genuinely supporting the other person. However there is also a clear focus on action but one that can be agreed upon, acted on and recognized when complete. Coaching is used to provide people with the resources, knowledge and skills to make positive decisions/actions that can advance the individual and their organization.

 

 

 

Change

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changeMuch has been written on the topic of change whether it’s around resistance to change, the need for change, the impact of change or something else. However you look at it, there is certainly an inevitability associated with it, so why not embrace it and take greater control of its impact?

As with many situations one can be either be at the cause or effect of some “change” event, or perhaps be the player or the victim. All too often people take a passive role and let life pass by rather than take the perhaps riskier position of being proactive and seeing change for all the positivity it can present. In the famous works of Gandhi, we should “be the change you want to see”.

To embrace change in this manner, the following 6 drivers might be helpful.

  • Awareness – this is where everything starts relative to the people and environment around you and, being mindful of where you are at in that moment, is also critically important.
  • Readiness – one needs to be willing and able to embrace whatever is about to happen and have dealt with all possible internal resistance.
  • Opportunity – with every challenge comes an opportunity, and seeing it through the lenses of positivity is critical.
  • Confidence – this is necessary in order to forge through the inevitable external resistance that will be encountered.
  • Energy – though the intellectual capacity might exist, the real drive will come from with within in terms of engagement, commitment and motivation.
  • Worth – make it impactful rather than “change for the sake of change”; then the next time there will be far less resistance.

Think about a change event you are considering, and assess what it means in terms of the above. What is you awareness level relative to its impact (for you and others)? How ready are you? What is the possibility that might result from this event? How confident are you? How driven are you to see it through? And finally, does the outcome really justify the effort?

Every day we deal with change and when you embrace it can be a true gift. That is not to say that all change is good but if you choose to embrace it (player/cause) rather than let it control you (victim/effect), it will serve you well. What do you think?

Purpose – Key to Successful Execution

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alignMuch has been written on the whole subject of engagement and motivation. Its cornerstone is anchored in the idea of alignment; a connection between what is being done and what it actually means to the person. However if somebody is performing a task but doesn’t quite understand how their contribution fits into the overall objective, something is missing. This is often referred to as purpose.

Daniel Pink in his work around this subject highlights purpose as being key to performance so long in is in tandem with mastery (knowledge) of what you do and the autonomy (freedom) to carry out the task. But purpose is something that many misunderstand or it feels like this intangible that you can’t quite get your head around. But in truth, it’s the basic requirement, and in many respects, it’s the elementary price of entry. Within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it probably belongs somewhere between love/belonging and esteem.

Let’s break down purpose into 4 simple building blocks that will help better understand its criticality. For illustrative purpose, let’s use the task of removing snow from your street, which is very apt for most New Englanders around this time. Four things need to be present to ensure the existence of purpose.

  1. Intent – it’s the what – remove the snow
  2. Consequence – it’s the why – people / cars can move freely
  3. Knowledge Required – it’s the how – ability and equipment to execute
  4. Recognition – satisfaction / reward associated with completion

Every task from the most basic to advanced must in some way include these characteristics of purpose. Think about an assignment, a project, a trip or anything that requires you to optimize your motivation level to ensure a successful outcome. Then ask yourself, what is the intent, the consequence, the knowledge required and the recognition. If you can answer all these questions satisfactorily, you have nailed the purpose and will most likely achieve a successful outcome.

5 Keys to Building Confidence

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According to world renowned sports psychologist, Dr Bob Rotella, golf is simply a game of competence and confidence. The competence piece we can all relate to and most would contend that this is something you can continuously build, but the confidence piece feels a lot more elusive. For many there is something very innate about this and you either have it or you don’t.

golfIf you were to align with some of the work of Carol Dweck relative to mindset, there might be some hope. She contends that people can have a predominance towards either a “fixed or a growth mindset”. The former essentially assumes that the skills and talents you have are fixed with little or no change over time. However the latter contends that whatever transpires can be a learning opportunity and people with this mindset see potential for growth rather than limitations.

This is a critically important distinction and has a tremendous bearing on how to build one’s confidence.   Being of a fixed mindset has a tendency for fueling a results orientation which creates a clear distinction between good and bad, success and failure. This can play havoc with confidence and is not ideal in the long run. However being process oriented, you tend to see the outcome either as confirmation of what you have been working on or an opportunity to learn something new; either ways it’s positive. With this in mind here are the 5 keys to building confidence in whatever you do:

  • Identify desired outcome – then plan / prepare accordingly
  • Trust the process – believe in your preparation
  • Stay totally present – forget about past events and future possible outcomes
  • Execute to the best of your ability – focus on what you want to have happen
  • Make necessary adjustments – learn as you go

Whether its golf, other sporting endeavors or some aspect of your personal / professional life, these are all applicable. Confidence is something that can be developed, but like most things in life it requires constant attention and practice.

Range of Engagement

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No matter what you do, there is always some form of motivation that drives your level of engagement. Some are influenced by internal influences (within the person) and other are more associated with external factors (other people). With the workforce, this has applicability in terms of how employees are motivated and, consequently, at what level they might perform. With this in mind, let’s assess the various levels of engagement necessary to support an outcome? This can be best illustrated by drawing, in part, from the iPEC Coaching Range of Engagement Model.

engagementLevel 1 – Have to

This implies that an external force is being applied and that there is limited or no choice. When somebody is in this mode, they are not fully vested in the outcome, will only do what they have to and unless you continue to apply the force, nothing additional will happen. Fear of consequence drives this level. People also tend to blame others and feel as though they are victims of their circumstances with perceived little or no control. Energy levels are low and people will only do what is asked of them.

Level 2 – Need to

In this situation, there is a limited amount of power coming from within but some external force is still at work. These two combined factors compel the individual to have some choice that might be either consequential or to their benefit. This reflects where many people actually exist within their organizations where the benefit of rewards (pay, promotion, etc) is often in conflict with the fear of consequence (being disciplined or losing one’s job). This see saw affect depletes energy and very often takes away from people giving of their best.

Level 3 – Choose to

This is the ideal situation and is where individuals perform at their best. Even though the other drivers exist, at this level of engagement the true power comes from within. When you are a player rather than a victim, you put yourself in a position of choice; you are able and willing to roll with whatever happens. Entrepreneurs are drawn to this as their likelihood of success is directly related to their ability to achieve optimal performance. This level is characterized by high levels of energy, resiliency, not being adverse to risk and feeling passionate about what you are doing.

Optimum Performance

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When you consider any personal, professional or organizational success you have had, your performance leading up to this is obviously a significant factor. It’s also fair to say that one’s desire for success is directly proportional to what you put into it; let’s call this effort. However effort alone does not guarantee success. To increase these odds, one needs to achieve Optimum Performance.

performanceLet’s consider this relative to where an outcome was less than desirable. Perhaps you lost a big customer or you hit 10 shots over your golf handicap or you had a big row with your teenage daughter. In all cases it is most likely that the intent going in was to achieve a positive result; every effort was made to achieve this, but sadly the result did not reflect this. Why is that?

In most cases, the “knowledge” is typically ever present and fully utilized, but there’s a key component called “energy” that is often seriously lacking. Optimum Performance can only be achieved through a critical balance of Situational Knowledge and Personal Energy.

Situational Knowledge is defined as the intellectual or physical skills required to engage in a meaningful way. Based on the examples above this would relate back to understanding the selling process, the ability to swing a golf club and skills of appropriate parenting respectively. These are the basics or fundamentals and can always be enhanced through experience, training, reading, practice, etc. However it only serves as the sketched outline if we were to use the metaphor of a picture.

Success is more assured if Situation Knowledge is coupled with Personal Energy. The latter is defined as the positive level of motivation and engagement presented in a given situation. It’s about how you show up with authenticity and commitment. It builds on the Situational Knowledge and is truly the illuminating color that brings to life the metaphorical picture mentioned previously.

By achieving this blend of knowledge and energy, optimum performance is assured and consequently success is more likely.

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