I saw this and wanted to share it with all of you.

833690_laddertoheavenWhat happens when people lose their motivation at work?

  • Less efficient use of resources
  • Less creative solutions (at a time when creativity is even more vital)
  • Less productivity

And worse, the possibility of security breaches and risks. Some companies learned this lesson the hard way: TMobile in the UK , Greengrocer.com, and the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland.

When employees lose motivation, they become less of exactly what the company needs: A creative, productive contributor. Worse, they might become angry and disgruntled, causing a loss or theft of essential company information.

Motivation – I know it when I see it

So what is this abstract concept called “motivation”? Is it like love – hard to define, but easy to recognize?

According to Webster’s, to motivate is to “provide with an incentive, move to action, impel”. Motivation is, put simply, giving others a reason to do something: To do their job well, to be creative, and to be an asset to the company.

Now that we’ve defined it, can we describe it? What are some common motivators? Some things that have found to be effective motivators are:

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Effective discipline
  • Fair treatment
  • Satisfying employee needs
  • Setting work-related goals

Notice something missing from the list?

If you assumed that “more money” would be a lock, it turns out it isn’t. The Minneapolis Gas Company completed a 20-year study of motivation. They asked 44,000 employees what they desired most from a job and found that, surprisingly, wages were not highest on the list. Job security was, followed by advancement, type of work, and pride in the company.

But even without the study, we all know that providing motivation is a good thing. The challenge is “how?”

I’ve listed some basic concepts of motivation to help you devise a system to give employees what they need, so they can contribute their best work:

1. Be the change

Employees won’t be their most creative, energized selves – they won’t be assets to the organization – unless you are, first. As the Minneapolis Gas Company found, intangibles rank higher than wages, and they start with your attitude and energy. Simple actions can start the process. Ask yourself: “If I were one of my own employees, would I see myself as an asset to the organization? Does the work I do reflect my most innovative thinking?” Some ways you can start being the change you want to see are:

  • Welcome challenges. See them as opportunities, not as limitations. After all, without challenges, we don’t get a chance to exercise our skills and talents to their fullest potential.
  • Ask if there are better or different ways something can be done. Good innovators practice creativity; they generate solutions, ideas, and concepts in every aspect of their lives.
  • Be curious, ask questions, and develop problem-solving skills by practicing them.
  • Take action – have confidence in your ideas, and dare to express them. Don’t fear failure; it’s inevitable, and the only way we learn. Above all, be persistent – don’t give up.

Remember, the positive energy and creativity of your team start with you.

2. Size the motivation to the person

Despite what some people might try to tell (and sell) you, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” system of motivating employees. Each person is different, as is each organization. The key to effective motivation is to discover what moves each person to be their best and to be an asset to the company.


Start by asking. Then stop to listen. Watch the quiet moments. Then continue the discussion.

3. Motivation is a journey, not a destination.

People and organizations change; what works for the employee and the company at one point might not be as effective months later. By listening to and observing employees, motivations can be adapted to their needs.

Treating motivation as a one-time event or a destination leads to a situation where it would have been better to do nothing at all. Commit to the journey and reap the rewards (and continue to read Security Catalyst to get ideas and support).

It might be dangerous and harmful to assume employees are motivated by “more money.” The “trick” is to figure out exactly what will move them to become greater assets to the company, then give it to them. In my next article I’ll explore in greater detail how to develop a motivational plan for your employees, and ways to overcome some common challenges in developing such plans.

What challenges have you experienced with motivation? What successes have you had? Share in the comments….


  • Merrian-Webster’s Online Dictionary: http://www.websters.com
  • Accel Team Development: http://www.accel-team.com/motivation/
  • The Journal of Extension: http://www.joe.org/joe/1998june/rb3.php
  • The Free Management Library: http://managementhelp.org/guiding/motivate/basics.htm)

Original Article HERE

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