Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You Can Lead a Horse to Water....

This past week we had the opportunity to listen to guest speaker, Dave Leding, discus his experiences in business  and organizational cultures. His conversation was focused on group effort contribution and the team leadership methods. In his presentation he addressed many of the tools and topics which he has personally employed to both create and grow successful business models. These models which are centered on the fundamentals of strong organizational culture and aspects of effective communication.   "Common sense, common courtesy," "Be civil, honest, and open," "Tell it, write it, tell it again, do it," these are just a few of the many instructions, on how he operates, directly quoted from his lecture

Motivation. This topic was addressed briefly; however, I consider it to play a vital role in success. I am not just talking business success and wealth, this is about life. What drives you to pursue the impossible, what pushes you past your comfort zone, what encourages you to keep fighting even when you have little faith?? motivation.

You can give someone the opportunity to learn or do something, but you can not Make them accept this opportunity. You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink.  You can force him to drink by sticking his nose in the water and holding it there, but chances are he will not appreciate this gesture and refuse the drink. So how do you get the horse to drink? You convince him that he wants and needs the water. Lets just disregard the biology and scientific explanation behind the issue and look at it from a psychological perspective. If the horse is neither thirsty nor interested in the water, he is not going to drink unless he is somehow convinced to do so. Similarly, humans can be given opportunities but that does not guarantee success. The key element, missing, in this equation is motivation.

Ok, so we now know that motivation is a key factor in creating success, but how does this concept work?? The first step is answering these simple questions: 'How is one motivated? and 'How do we motivate?' Unfortunately there is no 'right' answer. We all have the potential to be motivated; however, the means, methods, and lengths by which we are motivated are variant and completely dependent on the individual and circumstance.

Abraham Maslow`s Theory of Motivation might help us to better grasp the complexity of this topic.   His theory is based on the Hierarchy of Human Needs. This theory states that a human`s behavior is related to his needs.  Motivation, a factor of human behavior, is thus variant according to the nature of needs to be satisfied. As represented in the diagram, this hierarchy of human needs can be illustrated by a pyramid and arranged in a hierarchy of their importance and priority. He concluded that when one set of needs is satisfied, it ceases to be a motivating factor..

Key Assumptions of this theory:
  1. Man is a wanting being, i.e. his wants are growing continuously even when some wants are satisfied. Human needs are of varied and diversified nature. They can be arranged in a hierarchy of importance progressing from a lower to a higher order of needs.
  2. Needs have a definite hierarchy of importance. As soon as needs on a lower level are fulfilled, those on the next level will emerge and demand satisfaction.
  3.  A satisfied need does not act as a motivator.
  4. As one need is satisfied, another replaces it.

But how do we relate Maslow`s points to Dave`s lecture?  Let me first back track, a few weeks, to when we discussed motivation in class. We know that there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire for reward. Factors which promote intrinsic motivation...
  • Challenge - Being able to challenge yourself and accomplish new tasks.
  • Control - Having choice over what you do.
  • Cooperation - Being able to work with and help others.
  • Recognition - Getting meaningful, positive recognition for your work.
  • Happiness at work - People who like their job and their workplace are much more likely to find intrinsic motivation.
  • Trust - When you trust the people you work with, intrinsic motivation is much easier.
On the other hand, Extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity in order to attain an outcome, whether or not that activity is also intrinsically motivated. (as implied by its root prefix extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual) As a rule, intrinsic  motivation seems to be the more effective form of the two. source

Diving even deeper into the issue at hand, Dave presented this concept of motivation as a product of two contributors: fear and trust.  The first point being that fearing someone (a boss) or something (rules and punishment) forces us to do what has been asked of us in order to avoid the consequences associated with not. On the other hand,  the presence of trust, creates an environment in which employees feel intrinsically motivated and encouraged to do what they have been asked, not only because it feels good, but because they do not wish to break that trust. Now, How do we measure the impact of these two sources?

 Once more... You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink (on his own.) But he will drink with a little motivational push. Your options are: force him to drink by enacting punishment that promotes fear, or encourage him to drink by building a trust that instills in him the desire to do what is willed of him. Both might produce comparable results in the moment, however building a relationship on trust, as an intrinsic motivator will produce much more long lasting results. There is a certain power  in positive motivation. So next time you are trying to convince someone of something... I would caution you to think twice before threatening ;) Can I get an amen?! Happy Tuesday Y`all.