Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

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January 2004
The 12 Driving Forces of Motivation

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and my best wishes to you for a prosperous, peaceful 2004.  I am delighted to welcome a number of new subscribers to my Newsletter this month.  As we start a new year, the talk is on the rapid spurt of our nation's economy.  News commentators are saying that things are finally looking up; the stock market is coming back; and the job forecast is positive. It seems that companies will start hiring again, and that is certainly good news. However, it can be a good news/bad news scenario for business and health care leaders who are trying to motivate their employees to be engaged in their jobs, innovative in their ideas, and loyal to the companies they work for.  Many leaders I talk to tell me that they have tried to motivate their employees, but their employees "just don't get it!"  I beg to differ.

Employees today have very definite ideas of what they want and expect from a job and the company they work for.  A few generations ago a good day's wage for a good day's work was sufficient to keep many people on the job for a long time.  If you threw in benefits, too, most people would stay FOREVER.  That is not the case today.  Today's employee comes into a company with the mindset of you should be grateful to have me here, and this is what I want.  They have a sense of entitlement not seen in employees before, and we must look at what motivates these independent free-thinking people so we know what would keep them on the job.  The following are 12 driving forces of motivation:

  • Work with people who treat me with respect
  • Interesting work
  • Recognition for good work
  • Chance to develop skills
  • Work for people who listen if you have ideas about how to do things better
  • A chance to think for myself rather than just carry out instructions
  • Seeing the end results of my work
  • Working for efficient managers
  • A job that is challenging
  • Feeling well informed about what is going on
  • Job security
  • Good benefits

Let's examine these 12 driving forces of motivation.  I am sure you will agree that these are the very same forces that would motivate you to do a good job.  Why would your employees think differently?   Job security can be tenuous, and companies today are scaling back on their benefits and asking their employees to contribute more to their health care packages.  So if you eliminate the bottom two driving forces, what you are left with are the forces that make people feel good about the work they do.  They are the forces that make people get up in the morning and WANT to come to work, rather than HAVE to come to work.

In a world that is increasingly more impersonal, employees have told me that they want to be respected for the work they do, and they want to be recognized for that work.  They want to be acknowledged, appreciated, and told that they make a difference.  They want to see how their work impacts the bottom line of the company, AND they want to work for someone who will listen if they have ideas about how to do things better.

This last driving force is very important.  We agree that in today's competitive workplace, we want and need creative and innovative people to keep us on the cutting edge.  Yet, how many times have we discounted an idea because it was "outside the box" of our way of thinking, or it came from someone on the low-end of the pay scale.  Think about it.  If an employee came to you and asked "If I have a creative idea, what would you want me to do with it?" how would you answer.  Search yourself on this one and ask yourself if you are ready for change, or does it frighten you.  If you are not ready for change, you will never open up the space for your employees to change either.

You will note, too, from this list that people want a chance to develop their skills and a job that is challenging.  They don't want to be bored with the work they do.  I am sure you have people on your team who are very happy where they are, and you couldn't get them to do anything else.  So be it.  You need them because they are the quiet, steady achievers who come in every day and do the job they are paid to do.  However, you will have others who need more stimulation and challenge; if they don't get that they move on.  These are the people you need to seek out and develop.  These are the people who will challenge you and quite frankly, may intimidate you.  But in the long run, they will be the people who will help your organization move through today's changes into tomorrow's opportunities.  Give them the space to create and innovate and encourage them to come to you with their ideas.

Employees want to work for managers who walk their talk.  Your employees watch you and they see how you perform your job. You are a role model whether you want to be one or not, and employees want you to be no less than what you expect of them. I have worked with many managers these past few years who have felt de-motivated and demoralized.  They have found it difficult to manage the people under them when they, themselves, were worried about their jobs.  Please note:  this comes across loud and clear to your employees.  You don't have to verbalize it.  It shows in the way you make decisions, the way you handle stress, and your overall demeanor on the job. If your employees are "just not getting it" please look at how "you are giving it" and you may find that some of the answers lie within. This could be the perfect opportunity to sit down with your staff and clear the air.  Share where you are coming from, listen to their concerns, and then start the year off with a clean slate.

I have given you a lot to think about, and I would love to hear from you.  Any questions, comments, insights or feedback would be greatly appreciated.  If you would like to pass this along to a colleague who may find this of value, please feel free to do so. If he/she would like to receive my monthly Newsletter, please e-mail me at and I will put the name on our database.  Have a wonderful month.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables at the same meeting...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

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