THIS week, I have decided to focus on motivation, an important topic which affects every employer and employee, and fuels productivity in a workplace.
I will reproduce a write-up by Michael Norton, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, and motivational speaker.
But before I delve into Norton’s article, allow me, dear readers, to pay tribute to Mr Alec Chirwa, a veteran trade unionist who died on July 5, 2015.
Mr Chirwa, who at the time of his death was the chairperson of the board of directors at Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board, served as Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general for many years.
That was during the period former President Frederick Chiluba headed ZCTU and together, they formed a formidable team.
Mr Chirwa also served as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, where he distinguished himself as a principled and hard working man.
I can only wish his family well as they mourn a dear parent and dedicated labour leader.
As I revert to Norton’s article, I will begin with an important question that he has asked: Who needs to be motivated anyway?
Motivation is one of those things that really have an impact on everyone, especially those facing a lack of motivation.
And when I have this discussion with people and with organisations I hear all kinds of responses and rationale for why some people are extremely self-motivated or driven and how others just seem to be inspirationally challenged.
Motivators, the motivated and unmotivated come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life and from every age category.
Many companies I work with or talk with have expressed a challenge with motivating their millennial employees as well as the people on their staff that are nearing retirement.
The millennials do not seem to be motivated by the same things that their managers, executives or owners are motivated by, and those looking down the corridor of retirement are no longer motivated by the projects, opportunities and potential that once excited them years before.
All of us, regardless of our age or occupation, have probably battled the lack of motivation or inspiration at some point in our lives.
Even the most optimistic and motivated people I know deal with setbacks such as financial issues, health crises, family situations and work-related stress.
And again, even the most inspired people can take a day off or maybe even a week or month away from their motivated lives.
Now, I can share with you that I have seen retirees and children of all ages and people from every age group in between eventually find their source of inspiration, or recapture that motivated feeling.
And in every case, not just some of the cases, but every single case, the person has agreed that regardless of everything else happening around them, their lives were happier and more productive.
So what motivates you? Is it volunteering? Helping others achieve success? Skiing? Golfing? A healthy body? A devoted spiritual life? Your children? Your spouse? A new opportunity? Your business? Music? Your friends? Someone who has reached or achieved success? Your own goals and dreams? The sun? The snow? A smile? A hug? Something else?
I am sure if we all gave some time to sit and think about what truly inspires us and pursued each with passion and commitment that we would also enjoy our lives and feel more productive each and every day.
So, for the manager who struggles with managing the millennials on your staff, help them discover what motivates them.
For parents who are seeing a child that is less than motivated challenge them a little to talk about what excites them, what they want to be, who their heroes are and help them find that spark of inspiration.
For those of you nearing retirement or already retired, remember what you enjoyed most about what you have accomplished and maybe find ways to inspire others or share your stories and best practices with those coming up behind you.
As I write this column hundreds of ideas are flooding my mind with ways that I can further motivate myself, as well as things that I can still complete today that will give me a sense of satisfaction, gratitude and achievement.
I am motivated for sure. As a matter of fact, I will start writing the list of things that I will do today and this week and that will motivate me even more.
I encourage you to try the same exercise and see if you do not find a little spark of inspiration along the way for yourself.
How about you, how is your motivational level these days? Do you need a jump start or are you flying high towards the achievement of your goals and dreams, feeling happy and productive each day?
When we find our motivators in life, it really will be a better than good week.
(This column is an initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. For comments or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)