Just notice what people are talking about. Listen to the mood and tone of their conversations. You may get to know what's on their minds for a lot of the day. Those conversations often travel back to the work desk and whatever is on that person's mind is either going to motivate them to a high level of productivity or fill their minds with distractions.
The level of engagement has an impact on results. So what can be done to increase motivation?
Giver not Taker
Since September 2010 there have been a significant number of catastrophic events in New Zealand and many people have been giving their time and money to support those less fortunate. A mining accident, two earthquakes, a tornado and floods have been destructive and soul destroying for many families and businesses. These are the events that have had a huge media focus while many other events have happened within homes, businesses and communities which haven't, and don't, hit the media headlines.
There are ‘good sorts' everywhere and those who watch the news on Sunday nights get to see what some people are contributing to their community. The question I'm addressing here is; What are the people in your business giving to others? To clarify this question, I don't mean a big corporate project that gets lots of publicity. This is about something that becomes more personal to you and your team, or if you work for yourself, you and a group of colleagues?
Are You a Thrill!onaire?
This week I opened my magazine called Ode - for intelligent optimists. As I did my first scan through the pages one headline stuck out. ARE YOU A THRILL!ONAIRE? No, it's not a typo error. The exclamation mark is there for a purpose to get the reader to read on, and it worked for me. The key words are: "You are a Thrillionaire if you light up when you think about giving. Anyone can be a Thrillionaire".
I recall a geography lesson when I was about fourteen. We were learning about Africa and maybe we were influenced by our school, which was founded for daughters of missionaries, that we decided we wanted to raise money to educate a child. We actually ‘adopted' a young girl and through different activities, both as a class and as individuals, we funded her right through her school and to university. That was so many years ago.
Focus on Others
Leaders often say to me that their people just don't seem to be motivated, and that they don't know how to motivate them.
Perhaps the question to ask them is; What motivates you? Unfortunately that may mean a longer and deeper conversation that often appears to be lacking in the workplace because managers say there isn't enough time to do that. But what if you did do that?
People get so focused on themselves and that leads to moaning, groaning and general comments about what's not right. Human beings come alive when they stop thinking about themselves and are helping others.
We certainly don't want another catastrophe to get people into a different headspace, so at your next team meeting perhaps there could be an additional focus. The question could be something like this. What can we do to be Thrillionaires? It may be a collective activity or perhaps individuals make 'giving to others' a new focus and hence a different story over coffee.
If you are looking for inspiration visit www.thrillionaires.org where you can also share your story. Who knows it might develop into something around the world like "One Hat, One Heart" which started with one woman knitting hats for AIDS orphans in South Africa to keep them warm in winter.
This isn't about a project that has a start and end date, as is so often the case in the business world. This is something that is on-going, maybe several different activities. It may well help your teams to take the focus off themselves and moaning around the coffee station, and instead light up as they talk about what they are giving. The conversation may become something like this:
"What are your 'one hats'? I'm doing this...... and becoming a THRILL!ONAIRE!"
© Gilly Chater - The Breakthrough Catalyst