Understanding the power of motivation
Published On March 5, 2014 » 2144 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Business, Columns
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The EnterpreneurIF you want to make things happen, the ability to motivate yourself and others is a crucial skill.
Within Zambia, I am afraid to say, we are a country of followers not leaders, and motivation is not a high skill set.
This can be seen by the speed that people walk and drive, by the way the receptionist deals with you, the way the hairdresser attends to you.
They all do a job because they earn a bit of money doing it, not because they enjoy doing it.
At work, home, and everywhere in between, people use motivation to get results. Motivation requires a delicate balance of communication, structure, and incentives.
The basic skills of motivation
Consequences – Never use threats. They’ll turn people against you. But making people aware of the negative consequences of not getting results for everyone involved, can have a big impact.
Within my company Blakemore Morris, I have commissioned staff, some of which need pushing everyday.
I can never understand why, but if I left them alone they would stay in bed until 10.00hrs and then just walk around all day, pursuing just one case.
Then the consequences are that they have no or very little money at the end on the month.
However, before you can motivate others, you, yourself need to be self-motivated. If you don’t get your act together, will you ever get what you want, or will you ever get others around you to be motivated.?
Pleasure – This is the old carrot on a stick technique. Providing pleasurable rewards creates eager and productive people.
Everyone loves a pat on the back, we all love being singled out as having done a good job. In fact recognition is by far the greatest motivator and the longest lasting.
Performance incentives – Appeal to people’s selfish nature. Give them the opportunity to earn more for themselves by earning more for you.
But be careful, money in the form of a pay rise can be a bad motivator, people forget quickly and fall back into their old habits once they get used to the new pay rate.
This has been proven many times, a straight pay rise is not a motivation, yes it works in the short term but not very lasting.
Incentive bonuses and commission is a very good motivation, if they get rewarded for a specific job then they will strive to do the same again and earn another bonus.
I have call centres running the debt recovery for most leading banks, through a division of Blakemore Morris Corporate recovery.
We use instant remuneration for results, it creates a feeling of worth and reward and tremendous motivation.
My other company Sellit-Zambia again utilises sales people in a call centre environment, here we have a bell that is rung every time an advert is sold, this creates a buzz around the office and spurs on the other staff to work harder and ring the bell themselves.
Detailed instructions – If you want a specific result, give specific instructions. People work better when they know exactly what’s expected.
Confusion can never motivate. The old and established business criteria is MBWA, this is Management by walking about.
Bosses should never sit in their big fancy offices, they should be in amongst the workers, seeing the operation at the coal face, being part of the team and not just the boss.
Short and long term goals – Use both short and long term goals to guide the action process and create an overall philosophy.
People love to be part of the team; they need to know where they are going and how they are getting there.
Involve your staff in your plans and dreams, people will be motivated if they feel valued and part of the team.
Involve them in any decision making, make them feel that you value their advice and input.
Kindness – Get people on your side and they’ll want to help you. Upset them and they’ll do everything they can to screw you over.
Its all about team playing, If they understand what you want and they feel they were part of the plan, they will embody the plan and be motivated to help achieve it.
Be empathetic and understanding, greet your employees with a warm hello, make sure you know about their family, any issues or problems they have, show them that you care and value them enough to be bothered about their well-being.
Deadlines – Many people are most productive right before a big deadline. They also have a hard time focusing until that deadline is looming overhead.
Use this to your advantage by setting up a series of mini-deadlines building up to an end result.
Team Spirit – Create an environment of camaraderie. People work more effectively when they feel like part of team — they don’t want to let others down.
Treat everyone equally and include all the team, from the cleaner up. And please don’t forget the Receptionist, they are the first line of contact and vitally important in motivating people.
Recognise achievement – Make a point to recognise achievements one-on-one and also in group settings.
People like to see that their work isn’t being ignored. Were as financial or tangible rewards are needed, everybody wants and strives for public recognition, A pat on the back and congratulations will do more for motivation than any tangible reward.
Personal stake – Think about the personal stake of others. What do they need? By understanding this you’ll be able to keep people happy and productive.
Concentrate on outcomes – No one likes to work with someone standing over their shoulder.
Focus on outcomes — make it clear what you want and cut people loose to get it done on their own.
I am guilty of this myself, I ask for something to be done, but loose interest and then give up and use the adage that I may as well have done it myself.
And take over, tis is very wrong and I need to address this myself, I am simply undermining the confidence
Trust and Respect – Give people the trust and respect they deserve and they’ll respond to requests much more favorably. Delegate, I know its difficult but its important and trust them. Give them a chance to succeed, allow them one mistake.
Create challenges – People are happy when they’re progressing towards a goal. Give them the opportunity to face new and difficult problems and they’ll be more enthusiastic.
Let people be creative – Don’t expect everyone to do things your way. Allowing people to be creative creates a more optimistic environment and can lead to awesome new ideas.
Remember, it’s a team effort;youremployees will embrace change far more readily if they feel that they were a part of the planning and implementation of the change.
This is very difficult for an entrepreneur, we are drivers and are used to things happening quickly and by our way, but in order to motivate, we must give our employees enough room to be creative on their own.
Constructive criticism – Often people don’t realise what they’re doing wrong. Let them know. Most people want to improve and will make an effort once they know how to do it. But always use constructive criticism, never destructive.
Everyone is allowed a mistake, if it happens, teach him or her how to avoid it the next time, be positive, if they repeat the mistake, then, you have the right to criticise and take action.
Don’t let people stagnate. Each time someone advances raise the bar a little higher.
Make it fun – Work is most enjoyable when it doesn’t feel like work at all. Let people have fun and the positive environment will lead to better results.
This is one of the most important criteria in motivation, an unhappy employee is not and never will be motivated.
Work must be fun, allow cross communication with the staff, allow and encourage after work events, make work an extension of the family.
Create opportunities – Give people the opportunity to advance. Let them know that hard work will pay off.
Make their career path very clear to them as well as the criteria and goals they need to reach in order to obtain advancement.
Communication – Keep the communication channels open. By being aware of potential problems you can fix them before a serious dispute arises.
The old management technique of MBWA (Management by walking about) is still to this day, very important, you must not be closeted away in your office, be seen, be part of the team.
Make it stimulating – Mix it up. Don’t ask people to do the same boring tasks all the time. A stimulating environment creates enthusiasm and the opportunity for “big picture” thinking.
Don’t let Procrastination into you work environment
Procrastination can be a real problem for some of us, there are a lot of negative people, their glass is always half-empty, Zambia is Land-locked not land-linked.
This negativity leads to wasted hours and days, and a lot of frustration. Often, we think that to cure ourselves of procrastination, we need to concentrate harder, focus ourselves better and become more self-disciplined.
I would certainly recommend that everyone downloads a copy of “The Secret” from the web.
The Secret says a lot, but simply it tells you not to associate with negative people, do not listen to them and do not surround yourself with them, it tells you to be positive, happy and confident. It’s long and a bit American but well worth watching.
I get lots of phone calls as regards my articles and I thank you for the kind words.
Through my company Blakemore Morris, I can help you both with your or your company’s debt situation as well as mentor you to expand or start your business, call me on 096522208 or email me on jfj.morris@gmail.com
Remember, there are lots of opportunities out there in Zambia, as an entrepreneur, you can make a very good business, but your employees are a very essential tool in helping you achieve this, look after them, motivate them and reward them and they will earn you money.

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