We are connected by Who we Work For and Work With….. rarely do we get the choice of the latter - who we want to work with! The powers that be, generally decide the team based on the task that needs doing and the skills required to execute successfully. It is a bit of a gamble for them; however they soldier on with some known players and may add in a couple of new ones to the team and hope for the best! Sounds like all the bases have been covered…right? Maybe not. Do we have a foundation where team members understand how they themselves best interact in a team, and do they appreciate how their team members prefer to work? Learning how our co-workers roll is usually trial and error and is made up of series of interactions where we try and pick up cues from their behaviour.
It is becoming more evident that when a team is in sync there are multiple benefits. "A Stanford study from a few years ago found that even the mere perception of working collectively on a task can supercharge our performance." (“New Study Finds That Collaboration Drives Workplace Performance - Forbes”). Bearing in mind that the majority of us work in some type of team, consideration for the part we play would be beneficial.
In workshops we ask people to share “What was your favourite job and why”. The noise in the room is immediately elevated, we see smiles, hear laughter and the energy is palpable. Most likely, that job they are so excited to share, aligns with what was motivating them at that time and on reflection was clearly a positive experience.
What motivates us and our teammates need not be a mystery anymore. We can use Motivational Maps to discover what our motivators are so we can gain greater self-awareness on our own needs and motivations. Now to understanding everyone else!
One of our most successful team building workshops has included Team Motivational Maps. This tool offers several advantages when used effectively in the context of team management. Here are just three key benefits:
Motivational maps provide a structured way to understand the motivations and drivers of each team member. This insight allows a tailored approach and task alignment with individual preferences, increasing engagement and satisfaction.
By understanding each team member's motivations, communication can be more effective. Teammates can communicate in a way that resonates with others' motivational preferences, leading to better collaboration and reduced misunderstandings and conflict.
A better understanding of what motivates team members can contribute to higher employee retention rates. When employees feel understood and supported in their motivations, they are more likely to stay committed to the team and the organisation.
So we may not choose who we work with, but we can be given the skills and intel to ensure our behaviour and actions has a positive impact on those around us.
Hi Marie, thank you for your excellent advice and support over the past year. Your work on motivational mapping has been great for us as a team and we continue to make use of your insights as the basis of our ongoing team planning. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you again in the future. - Alan (Director Australian Government)
Jaime is an experienced Executive Level officer in the Australian Public Service. Due to an unprecedented lack of promotional opportunities in the past six years in the Australian Public Service, Jaime was seeking to discover other key drivers that would keep her satisfied in the workplace. Jaime was mapped in October 2015 and again in May 2016. Her role had changed from the first mapping activity to the second in 2016.
Motivational Maps was a career coaching tool used to assist Jaime with identifying what had changed in her level of engagement, motivation and performance between October 2015 and May 2016. Both of the Motivational Maps were discussed to identify what were those drivers, decisions and behaviours that provided Jaime the greatest satisfaction in the workplace.
To increase self-awareness, renew motivation and set a clear career path that would align with those motivators that are important to Jaime. To reflect on what motivators had changed and why, and use this information to establish goals going forward. Reward strategies were to be identified and agreed by Jaime’s supervisor to empower a thriving supportive and happy environment.
The May 2016 map identified a new top motivator “Director” for Jaime jumping from the least preference into the top three. At the time of the first map in 2015, Jaime was in a new role managing a team. This role had changed in the time period leading into the 2016 map where Jaime no longer managed a team. The discovery of how this motivator was important, generated a new career plan where opportunities to manage, leadership and management development and a goal to improve communication skills became a part of Jaime’s new strategic approach to securing a management position. A career coaching approach guided by the accuracy of the Map has empowered Jaime with the awareness, knowledge and motivation to pursue those things that are important to her. Jaime’s confidence has grown and motivation increased as reward strategies are identified and applied. Jaime has been promoted to a Director level position 2017.
School – Queanbeyan High School
Group – Year 12 Youth Leadership Team
About the School
Queanbeyan High School is a comprehensive community high school serving its local and
rural communities. It seeks to ensure a comprehensive education for its students and has
developed programs to support students in their academic, sporting and cultural pursuits.
The school's motto of "Nothing without endeavor" exemplifies the school's commitment to
establish high expectations for all students, staff and programs offered.
Following initial discussions about the Youth Motivational Map, the school were keen to pilot
a program with the elected year 12 leadership team, which consisted of two school captains
and four prefects. This group of students were chosen to see if they would benefit from the
Youth Motivational Map Profiling tool in building individual awareness of their own motivators
as well using the tool to develop a strong leadership team culture.
The pilot program was delivered in three phases:
The Careers Advisor undertook the adult motivational mapping exercise to
understand the profiling tool and its benefits as well as providing support to the youth
leadership team. The six students attended a short meeting where the activity was
Students received their personal Youth Motivational Map and discussed their motivational
profile. The Careers Advisor then joined the discussion where the students result and
strategies were shared. The Parents and the Careers Advisor received a copy of the Parent
and Mentor report which provided strategies on how best to assist and provide each student
A workshop was held to discuss the team results. Each team member shared a primary
motivator and discussed how it contributed to the year 12 leadership cohort. They
workshopped ideas to strengthen their relationships and progressed onto choosing a project
they could all contribute and participate in to leave as a legacy to their school.
The students gained better awareness of their own motivational drivers and how to use this
information to improve and maintain their motivation. They developed a stronger leadership
team culture as they learnt to appreciate other perspectives.
What the students said………
Recognised qualities that these traits can in fact be strengths rather than recognising them as
weaknesses. Breanna 17
Understanding of the truth of me. Joseph 18
Knowledge of myself and knowing of my potential to achieve in the future. Nick 17
Knowledge of myself and the team. Georgia 17
Made me understand myself and my friends better. Set myself goals which were achievable but
challenging for me. Hayley 17
Found out more about myself and see what truly matters to me. Helping me to understand what
motivates me. Rhani 18
This is the time of year when most of us, our teams and our orgamisations are busy trying to wrap things up so we can start the new year afresh. But how do we get the best out of teams, how do teams step in for each other, particularly when the pressure of a major deadline is looming?
I reflected on instances where I had witnessed the call to other team members or teams for help, and all that was heard were crickets. We would all like to think we would respond to the plea of assistance, but what would mobilise a whole team to step in? How do we build a foundation in a team that is based on cooperation?
We all know that building an environment where people have each other’s back, believe in what they are doing, share their knowledge and pull in the same direction is critical to the success of teams and organisations. Building Cooperative Capability, lays a foundation for such an environment by identifying and strengthening productive working relationships in teams.
If you have read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People you would recall the first three habits were based on self and the following four were focused on interactions with others.
Using the Motivational Maps tool, I have seen well over 1000 individuals gain a greater understanding of self in the workplace and how those motivational drivers that are specific to them play out in a team environment.
If you think about the best job you ever had or may have now, the chances are those motivational drivers that are important to you were in play and you thrived in that working environment. One senior manager in a workshop recently shared that his best job was delivering pizza whilst at University. You may be smiling now as you think about that great job you once had.
But how do we get the best out of
Motivational Maps helps lay our foundation of self-awareness. Team Motivational Maps makes us aware of how we and others work in teams. The team data provides an opportunity for team members to gain a new perspective and appreciation of each other‘s strengths. Identifying common drivers and potential sources of tension will help us reframe our assumptions of colleagues and grow team trust. Understanding the perspective of others in the team gives effect to Covey’s Habit 5 “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”
And what happens next...
We build cooperation when we endeavour to understand the perspective of others in the team. We cooperate when we realise our value to achieving the end goal. Teams cooperate when they understand where their strengths lay and deploy as a unit to achieve the objective.
Team Motivational Maps provide the common language, but it is the conversation between people in the team, their reflections, their insights and their individual motivations that lay the ground work for building Cooperative Capability.
Reflecting back on the years’ worth of individuals and teams I have mapped, I noticed that in almost all instances, the Searcher motivator was in the top three. As the name suggests the Searcher searches for meaning, making a difference, being purposeful and useful.
The Searcher motivator can unite teams, drive them to work cooperatively and to make a difference in the space they are held responsible. Even if this not the case for your team or your organisation, the chances are that there is a common motivator that allows you to connect and collaborate to achieve an outcome that is more than the sum of your individual contributions and that is the goal of Cooperative Capability.
Marie Ball has a Masters in Human Resource Management, is an adjunct lecturer at CSU, specialising in working with teams using Motivational Maps to build Cooperative Capability
Welcome to the final instalment of Unlocking Motivation. Over the course of these nine blogs, we have explored motivation in the workplace, personal development, coaching, and the need for engagement in modern business, all interconnected by the principles of the Motivational Maps. We’ve looked at content from Mapping Motivation, Mapping Motivation for Coaching, and Mapping Motivation for Engagement. In this final article, rather than simply recapping, I’d like to take you through one last model to help you on your journey with motivation and engagement.
I mentioned in the last article that there is a seven step process towards engagement. I want to share these seven steps now and break them down a little for you.
1. What is employee engagement and why is it important?
This, really, is what we have covered in part 7 and part 8. Everyone involved in the process of engagement needs to be aware of why it is important and what exactly they are striving for.
This is not just for ‘buy in’ at senior level. Everyone down to the grassroots must understand what engagement is and why it is valuable (and beneficial to them, too, because most people, save for masochists, would like to enjoy what they do).
2. Where are we now?
You need to get an accurate assessment of where you are in terms of engagement. However, we need to be careful how we do this, as surveys can be highly misleading, if not erroneous. For one thing, they can be grossly inaccurate because the majority of employees will answer in the way they think they should answer, not with total honesty. Secondly, they usually are a massive, massive cost. If you really want to determine how engaged are your employees currently are, then you need to do so indirectly. Engagement can be very difficult to measure, whereas disengagement has far more obvious symptoms:
“Measuring sickness and absenteeism levels are a very clear way of measuring engagement, as well of course as measuring loss. There are many aspects to this but David Bowles makes the point that ‘clear evidence . . . would support what some long-established theories have put forward that absenteeism and similar behaviours are an effort by the workers to “level the playing field,” to make up for what is perceived to be an imbalance’. Here specifically Bowles is referring to huge disparities in pay and remuneration and staff’s perception of its unfairness – leading to their disengagement.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching
So, the first step to measuring engagement is to consider levels of disengagement. What are your levels of sick-days and absenteeism? What are the productivity levels of employees like? Are people working to what you believe their max-capacity is or well under?
The next step is to try to measure their energy levels, as energy is a far better indicator of engagement. To do this, we recommend using the Organisational Motivational Map. Quite apart from its massive utility and ability to work at team levels as well as organisational, the great advantage about using the Organisational Motivational Map is that it is virtually impossible to ‘game’: there would be no point in doing so anyway, since the questions don’t lend themselves to internal politics. Here we will have a definitive (albeit temporary, as motivators change over time) fix on the energy levels and
direction of the organisation. In addition, compared to an annual survey, it’s cheap as chips.
3. What will be the measures?
When you are looking to increase engagement, you need to think about what your measures for success are. Is it less absent-days? Greater productivity? Greater staff energy and happiness? What is the most important metric for you? We should say profitability is a very poor metric in this regard, as it is really a narrative of ‘We only care about money’ that will not resonate with staff and makes a very low-grade statement. In addition, profitability can often be pursued to the extent that staff cut backs, downsizing, and streamlining can become harmful to customer and staff experience. Whilst there are many valid reasons to cut the ‘bloat’ in an organisation, taken to extremes (as it often is), it will harm the organisation’s integrity.
4. How will you gain ‘buy in’?
As I mentioned in our last article, in order for engagement to be successfully implemented and become a reality in your organisation, you need to have buy-in at every level, including the very top. If you don’t, it will inevitably fail. So, you need to deploy strategies to make sure that you get full buy-in at senior level. Not just an ‘Okay, but you manage it and I’m not sparing any resources’, but a ‘I want to implement this now, what do you need?’
We have talked extensively about the merits of engagement, not just at the level of motivation and satisfaction, but also for the bottom line, which is inevitably the language most senior people in organisations understand best. You need to showcase these facts and figures and make a compelling case for why engagement could solve several problems with one lick of paint.
5. Identify areas for action: what will you do?
This one is fairly self-explanatory, however, there is a deeper level to it when we consider each individual. When we determine motivation / energy levels by doing a Motivational Map, there are broadly speaking four quadrants people can fall into. Remember, every Map profile is unique and determines what motivates people. However, it does not determine skill levels. You have Creator motivator as your number one, but this might be a new discovery for you, so you haven’t fully harnessed and trained your creative abilities yet. In the light of this, the four quadrants give us an interesting strategic view of the people in our organisation when we also cross-reference it with what we estimate their skill-levels to be:
High Motivation / Low Skills
These staff-members need to be trained (or recruited if you are using this tools for those purposes). They have the motivation and energy, which is all-important, but they maybe need to harness their skills. Some of these people might also need to be re-located in the organisation. For example, if their Maps profile has revealed new drives that aren’t being met by their current work, then they are probably best suited elsewhere where their motivational needs are being met. This will increase their engagement levels as they will feel like they are being invested in.
High Motivation / High Skills
These are your stars. But don’t get complacent! You need to coach, mentor and retain these people and incentivise them. Think how many companies let go of their best people without so much as a whimper of resilience. You have probably witnessed it many times. There was a story in a company I encountered a while ago where a PA, we’ll call her Margaret, was working for one of the senior managers, we’ll call him John; Margaret was really was more than a PA and working across the entire business creating value. She was still on a very minimal salary, the same in fact since she had joined the company many years ago. She had asked, in the light of her new responsibilities and commitment to the company for many years, that her salary be increased to reflect that. Margaret’s request was pretty modest in the grand scheme. HR flatly said no: they were not giving out pay-rises, John would not give her a pay rise. So, Margaret handed in her resignation and accepted a generous offer from another company. John burst into the HR office a few days later. ‘Why didn’t you tell me Margaret wanted to leave?’ he fumed. HR had not even consulted him. ‘She was invaluable. We’ll never replace her. I would have given up part of my own bloody salary to keep her on!’
John showed wisdom here, though sadly it came too late as he had been deceived by his own Human Resources department. He knew that Margaret was a highly motivated and skilled individual and the company should have retained her at all costs, and was even prepared to sacrifice part of his own (rather larger) salary to make it happen. How many managers could actually say they’d do the same?
Low Motivation / High Skills
Low motivation yet highly skilled is also in the retain quadrant. However, if the issues with motivation are not resolved, these individual can become extremely costly to the organisation, so it is important to boost those energy levels and get them motivated!
Low Motivation / Low Skills
These are employees that potentially need to be released. If they have no motivation, their heart is not in it. This would be a fixable issue, if they had skills that were invaluable and were good at what they do. I should note that ‘high skills’ and ‘low skills’ is not referring to the intellectual standing of the skill. For example, business strategy versus administrative work. It is referring to how good someone is at that particular skill. People who are very good at administration, or telephone sales, or bricklaying – depending on what industry you’re in – are just as valuable as strategy and senior finance management. You need every element to make a business work.
So, the low motivated and low skilled individual is bringing nothing to the table. In a way, however, that is not the real reason to release them, however. It is actually the best thing for them. They are most likely not happy, stuck in a rut, and by releasing them you are giving them a new opportunity to rebuild their life. Letting people go is never easy nor should ever be glorified, but it is necessary and there are many people who have been fired from jobs that, looking back, say it was the best thing that ever happened to them. I appreciate this is not the case for everyone, and sometimes being fired can be devastating and have serious consequences, but ultimately, one must act in the interests of the whole organisation.
6. How and what will you implement?
Now that you have the data, and a sense of the individuals and where they stand, it’s time to define what you will implement to make changes and how. In other words, create a plan for engagement.
7. How will you measure and evaluate your plan?
Again, you need to consider what the metrics of success are. Is it increased employee-energy levels, increased productivity. What plans do you have to improve their abilities and performance further?
Thank you for coming on this motivational journey with me! I hope these articles have been of some use to you and provided you with insight about how you might go about increasing your own motivation levels and the motivation levels of those around you.
I have provided a window into the world of Motivational Maps, what we’re about, and what we do. It is my belief that we can all benefit from understanding our inner drives and working in environments and with people that feed our motivators and energy rather than draining it.
If you have any thoughts or questions about this series or any topic I have covered, please feel free to leave a comment below. You can engage with Motivational Maps via our website
Thank you & stay motivated!
Welcome to the eighth instalment of Unlocking Motivation! Last week, we looked at the history of engagement in the workplace and why it is so important as a step forward in thinking about employee satisfaction, happiness, and productivity. Here’s a quick recap:
Engagement is based on a ‘psychological contract’ between the employee and employer.
Engagement is the opposite of ‘scientific management’ or Taylorism and is about enriching the employee’s work life by honouring the psychological agreement.
The consequences of failing to engage staff are DIRE!
Today, we’re going to discuss the three main barriers to engagement and productivity that one faces, particularly in a large scale organisation (but it can happen in small ones too).
“These barriers are so big, so threatening, so apparently insurmountable, that unless we address them squarely and head-on, we are unlikely to make any further progress. And there are three main ones…” – Mapping Motivation for Engagement
1. Buy in from Senior Management Team (SMT)
Sadly, for many senior management people, engagement programs are more of a tick-box exercise than an actual attempt to motivate and engage staff. Many of them will see engagement exercises as a frilly extra that can be purchased with some extra cash sitting in the company account. They think it makes them look good to be running these kinds of programs, regardless of the result. This is completely the wrong approach and will lead to fruitless endeavour. When a company expresses interest in engagement, it must come from the very top. Not just HR or another department, but senior management themselves. They must believe it, want to be involved in it, and seek to directly implement it. They have to perceive the strategic value of engagement and the impact it can have on the bottom line. They have to want to make that happen. In any other scenario, engagement exercises, however well executed, will ultimately fail. We call this ‘buy in’ because the SMTs need to not only financially but emotionally buy in to the program, the mission, the course, whatever form it takes. We outline a seven step program in Mapping Motivation for Engagement, which we will cover in our final article!
2. Sufficient resources to undertake the program
There are nine core resources to consider: money, time, equipment, people skills, knowledge, right attitude, information, space/environment and agreed co-operation. Phew! That is a lot of potential barriers. However, we find the one that comes up most often is ‘time’. This is because most companies, really, are in survival mode. They are churning out a product or service as fast as they possibly can in order to keep up with themselves. If they stop for one moment, catastrophe might occur! There is no room in these kind of frantic operations for strategy and long-term planning. Or, to put a finer point on it, improvement! How can you improve a service or product or whatever if you never actually stop doing it, step back, and think: Am I missing something? We have an attitude in the West in particular that every spare moment must be occupied by work. But the reality is that we do our best work when we have space around that to think. Looking at it another way, all creative outputs require ‘waste’ and ‘dead time’. I like to consider the universe in this regard. In theory, the univer
a literally unfathomable distance. However, there is this one pinprick (as far as we are aware), called planet Earth, that harbours life. Could Earth exist without the wasted space? Mathematically, no! Any invention requires wasted time and effort. The endeavour of engaging employees is no different. We need downtime, time to contemplate, reflect, think, and feel. Most companies will not afford that space, or give time out of their schedules, for their staff to go through this process.
The other resources are important to consider too, but we find time is the most cited one, so…
Consider how you might mitigate the barrier of time. When we run engagement programs, we like to ask staff themselves how they can create ‘capacity’ and time to run the program in their busy schedules. The answers can be surprising. How would you go about de-cluttering your daily tasks and making room for thought and reflection? List three things!
3. The human ego!
“In fact, one of the reasons why our first barrier may never be overcome – that is, we might not get complete buy-in – is because of the egos of the management and leadership. It is, if you like, the flaw in human nature that has always been there, and management writers have noted it from the beginning.” – Mapping Motivation for Engagement
It might sound like I am being very harsh towards managers here, but I do not mean to single them out exclusively. We are all capable of becoming enamoured of control or of getting locked into certain behaviours. However, most of the time it is people with a degree of power that are most susceptible to what Professor Brown in the 1950 called ‘petty Hitlerism’. In other words: ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’. When we get control, it can go to our head. We don’t want to relinquish that.
The reality is that we can never achieve ‘buy in’ from senior management if, secretly, they like things the way they are: top-down, command and control, a hierarchy. We have to be really honest with ourselves here and make an honest call about where we think our leadership is at. Is our current leadership capable of buying in to employee engagement, and the necessary ambiguity and complexity it brings? Rewards, yes! But complexity too, because now staff, right down to the grass roots level, are going to be influencing decisions, engaged with the company practice, and able to have their say. It’s scary for some people, who are used to their fiefdom.
The idea of engagement, is to get people so thrilled about their work, that they want to go the extra mile. We cannot ask them to give that extra mile without
giving something back, and without loosening the reins. If we want people to truly engage, we have to be prepared for the results of that, we have to be prepared to hear what they think, and we have to put our money where our mouth is.
In the next and final article, we will be exploring the seven steps towards employee engagement!
If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.
Welcome back to Unlocking Motivation! Over the last six episodes, we have discussed content from my first book Mapping Motivation, published in 2016, which outlined many of the theories and practices of Motivational Maps. We have also looked at Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), the second book in the series, which deals with how the Maps can support one-to-one coaching, self-coaching, and personal development. We’ll now be moving on to the final part of this series, which is Mapping Motivation for Engagement (co-written with Steve Jones).
Firstly, what is engagement? Engagement is a relatively new concept. William Kahn was one of the first researchers to truly allude to the critical role it plays in business in 1990. Since then, it has become something of a worldwide phenomenon, with countless tools, models, and paradigms for measuring and increasing employee engagement, most of it to no end whatsoever. There are a number of important ideas, what I call ‘preliminaries’, that preceded engagement and informed how we understand it. I cover a large number of them in the book, too many to detail fully here, I do have space to talk about one or two. David Kolb, in his book Organisational Psychology, said that: ‘A company staffed by “cheated” individuals who expect far more than they get is headed for trouble’. He is referring to what is known as the ‘organisational contract’, a concept that arose in the 1970s. It effectively describes the ‘unwritten’ contract between employer and employee, the implied expectations of the employee. For example: ‘This will be a positive and
enriching place to work’, might be one expectation. Whilst this is nowhere guaranteed if their contract, if this is what they have been led to believe through interviews and initial contact with the company, they will feel ‘cheated’ if it is not what they get.
In 1995, Mullins put it in the following terms: ‘a series of mutual expectations and satisfactions of needs between the individual and the organisation. It covers a range of rights, privileges, duties and obligations which are not part of a formal agreement but still have an important influence on the behaviour of people.’ I think the words: satisfaction, meaningfulness, psychological, and expectations are extremely significant here!
EXERCISE: Consider your role, whether it is a freelance position, organisational post, or even something entirely different, such as a charity board volunteer position. Write down your expectations of the ‘invisible’ psychological elements of your employer-employee contract. Ask yourself whether these expectations are being met.
There have been a number of profound changes to the workplace which seems to me to be directly correlated to the emergence and significance of engagement. Firstly, the coming of the Information Age, which has increased the speed of communication to absurdly rapid levels. Whilst this has many positive outcomes, it has also produced negative ones: an erosion of personal space / time, an erosion of traditional working hours, a culture that expects everything immediately. Just as we are adjusting ourselves to this rapid pace, we are also experiencing what I would describe as the deathly slow failure of Taylorism.
Taylorism, for those who don’t know, is ‘scientific management’. It is the traditional corporate methodology of defining job roles by breaking them down into prescribed behavioural activities, with a focus on rules, control, compliance, supervision and efficiency. Of course, what we are observing now is a realisation that greater efficiency does not lead to greater effectiveness. Or in other words: efficiency does not equal results. In addition, the negative impact of Taylorism on creativity, responsibility and commitment cannot be overstated. There is a reason that there is a crisis of innovation in most industries in the UK!
There are many companies that still cling to the Taylorism model, and that is their prerogative to do so. However, I think it has clearly run its course. In the ironic words of Jacob Morgan: ‘Robots aren’t taking jobs away from humans; it’s humans who took the jobs away from robots’. We have become a society trying to treat people like machines.
Once we step away from ‘controlling’ employees, ensuring they are ‘compliant’, and instead move towards honouring our psychological contract with them, we begin to reach engagement. There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that engagement is the way forward for organisations large and small. Here are some facts:
1. The cost of employee disengagement to the economy in 2008 was between £59.4–64.7 billion per annum. That is a staggering figure, and it is for the UK alone!
2. Only 29% of employees 11 were engaged in their work. Which means that 71% are not fully engaged.
3. Companies on the Glassdoor 12 Best Places to Work list outperform the overall stock market by 115%. Best places to work are, by definition, places where employees are engaged, so from a purely financial point of view engagement is surely desirable?
4. In the UK, 82% of senior managers regard disengaged employees as one of the three greatest threats facing their business.13 In other words, engagement is a strategic issue.
5. As many as 47% of employees stay in a job they dislike for fear of having no other option. In saying this we are almost raising a moral issue: do we want to be the kind of managers who preside over misery and fear?
So, now we know why engagement is important and that we need to take action to work towards transforming our place of work.
Engagement is based on a ‘psychological contract’ between the employee and employer.
Engagement is the opposite of ‘scientific management or Taylorism and is about enriching the employee’s work life by honouring the psychological agreement.
The consequences of failing to engage staff are DIRE!
In the next article, we will be exploring the barriers to engagement and productivity that one faces in an organisation.
If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.
“The coach has another crucial role, then: he or she has enabled the client to get clarity on where the destination leads, but now the coach has to help the client understand what needs to be done to get there. That is, how does the client demolish the barriers that are preventing access to the ‘promised land’” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching
Up to this stage, we have predominantly looked at the primary role of the coach, in which the coach attempts to help their client realise where their destination is. Now, we intend to examine the complimentary function of helping them demolish the barriers that are preventing success. Last week we started looking at ways to form new habits with kaizen, and therefore take the first initial steps towards progress (the first step on a journey of a thousand miles), but now we will look at how to overcome larger obstacles. It’s worth recapping what we learned last week, however:
RECAP: Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!
The barriers to progress we face are most commonly divided into one of three primary categories: time, money, or people. These categories actually correspo
and Growth. So, if you recall the nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.
Each of these motivators falls into one of the three ‘clusters’: Defender, Friend and Star fall into the ‘Relationship’ cluster, as they deal with personal relationships and the past. Director, Builder and Expert fall into the ‘Achievement’ cluster, as they are concerned with success in the workplace and present-tasks. Finally, Creator, Spirit and Searcher fall into the ‘Growth’ cluster as they are focused on personal development. They are ‘future’ focused.
People corresponds with the Relationship cluster. Consider if you find meeting and working together with the right people to be a big barrier, how your Relationship motivators stand. Money corresponds with the Achievement cluster. If you find money to be a barrier, look at whether your Achievement motivators are low on your profile. If time is your key barrier, it might be that you struggle to look ahead, which is where Growth cluster motivators excel.
So, the primary obstacles we face eerily correspond to our motivational profiles. This is possibly because in actuality, none of these factors are the real obstacles to our progress. In fact, most of what is preventing us from overcoming barriers is internal: our outlook and frame of mind.
You will have heard it endless reiterated that to achieve your dreams you ‘just need to believe’ or ‘be confident in yourself’ or ‘make it happen’. Confidence and self-belief have been turned into a branding commodity; a logo that you put on tea-mugs and designer-pillows: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. We see these slogans every day and they have been repeated so often, and without nuance, that they have lost all meaning. At this stage, I am sure that even the wide-eyed and optimistic among you have a niggle of scepticism regarding the power of ‘belief’.
So, let us examine what we really mean when we talk about self-confidence or self-belief. What we really mean is a state of mind. In Japanese warrior culture, there is a heightened state of awareness called zanshin. It literally means ‘no-mind’. In this state, warriors empty themselves of all their petty thoughts, doubts and considerations so they become entirely ‘present’, able to perceive every incoming blow from every angle. They are relaxed enough that their muscles can respond frictionlessly to dangers, but alert enough that they
do not miss any opportunity. In this state, it is said the great Miyamoto Musashi, perhaps the greatest samurai ever to have lived, defeated hundreds of warriors at once in combat. Musashi believed he was the best. He never doubted the speed or power of his sword-stroke, or his victory. That is belief.
State of mind is everything. Belief is not an airy-fairy concept. Nor is confidence. It is a story you tell yourself and a mind-set that you inhabit. Henry Ford once said: ‘If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’ This is a profound commentary on self-fulfilling prophecies. We make these prophecies for ourselves every day: ‘I’m not good enough for this’, ‘I’m stressed out of my mind’, ‘I can’t think straight’. Inevitably, these predictions become true as we obsess over them. The brain moves towards where it is directed by our thoughts.
Think of this another way. By controlling how we respond to the world, we control the outcome. We cannot control the world, it is outside of our sphere of influence. We cannot stop people being rude to us, or bills coming in, or changes in government legislation that are unfavourable (at least, most of us can’t!). However, we can change how we respond and adapt to these events. Do we respond in a state of zanshin, or in self-defeating mode?
Similar to the events and buffets of the world beyond our control, we have the barriers tostop us doing great things: ‘I can’t find the people to help me’, ‘I don’t have the money’, ‘I don’t have the time’. However, when we approach these problems with the right mind-set, we can see that none of these are insurmountable. There are numerous online and face-to-face platforms for meeting the right entrepreneurs and professionals. Collaboration has also never been more accessible with online calls, seminars, shared-docs, and tools such as Slack.
EXERCISE: Create a list of ways you can find the best people to help you achieve your goal. What networks will have the right people. How can you use what you have learned about Motivational Maps to make sure you find people with the right motivational alignment / balance that will compliment yours?
It is highly possible in today’s world to loan money to start a business, or even to find investors. It is not easy, no one would ever say that, but there are ample solutions. New solutions are emerging all the time as well. Kickstarter and crowd-funding campaigns are changing the game of start-ups. Kickstarter has raised something like $4.17 billion dollars for businesses worldwide. Money is out there for you. You just have to be creative about how you get it, and offer value to people.
EXERCISE: Create a list of ways that you could raise capital. Weigh the pros and cons of each method.
The same is true of Time. One of the key strategies for maximising our time is using the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle taps into the uneven nature of the universe. For example, most of us assume that everything we do is equally valuable. If we have 100 emails, we read them all with equal attention. In reality of course, only 20% of those emails probably contain anything worthwhile! Pareto posits that 20% of what we do produces 80% of the results. 20% of people in a large company are producing 80% of the sales. 20% of homes cause 80% of the fires. 20% of people own 80% of the money of the world (in fact, it is actually a far more unbalanced statistic than that). However, this principle is not to be railed against. On the contrary, it can be used to our advantage. Once we become aware that 20% of what we do is producing 80% of the value, we can do more of what is in that 20% to double, quadruple, quintuple our value-output.
For example, if each day you were trying to sell a product online, but never got much traction, but you also made one phone call that instantly led to a sale, wouldn’t it be sensible to increase the number of calls you made? Or, vice-a-versa. If you sold hundreds online, but only ever made one or two sales via the phone. Why keep making phone calls? Harness the most productive aspects of what you do, and do more of them and less of what isn’t working!
EXERCISE: Make a list of all the things you do in your day and week. Now, identify what roughly 20% of those things (it might even be 30% in some cases) are valuable and creating the most value for you. Now, as yourself how you can do more of those things.
Hopefully you can see that all barriers can be overcome with the right thinking and tools. That is the role of the coach, and has been my role in writing this summary-article for you. Next week, we will be giving you a break to catch up with everything we’ve written. After that, we’ll be returning with part 7, out first look into Mapping Motivation for Engagement, co-written with Steve Jones.
Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.
Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen
circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!
The key barriers of people, time and money correspond with the Relationship-Achievement-Growth clusters of Motivational Maps. The real obstacles, however, are our approach and mind-set. We must cultivate self-belief and motivation to overcome barriers with creative solutions!
If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.
By now, if you have been following this blog series, we should have some idea of the Self. I asked you previously to assess your physical health, mental strength, emotional well-being and spiritual health in order to give you a picture of where you are at now and how you can improve to give your best performance. Combining this with the Maps is very powerful, as you now not only know where you may need to improve, but what kind of actions motivate you – killing two birds with one stone. For example, if you wanted to improve your physical health and you were a Builder motivator (at the number one slot), then it would probably benefit you to do a competitive sport, rather than simply going to the gym. Competing would boost your motivation levels, whilst also improving your fitness, leading to a massive overall increase in your well-being!
However, I am skipping ahead slightly. Let’s quickly re-cap on the purpose of coaching (which includes self-coaching):
Recap: Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-
coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.
So, how can we use coaching techniques to build a plan to improve our lives (or indeed, to improve the lives of those who work with/for us). I’d like to introduce to one powerful technique called “kaizen”. Kaizen is a Japanese word that literally means “improvement”, however, as with many words derived from Japanese kanji, it has many deeper meanings and associations, one of which is specific to business practice. The business philosophy of Kaizen is: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. It is a process whereby one makes continuous small improvements which over time become exponential. In the West, we tend to think of “innovation”. We want to make big bold creative leaps, where we imagine something entirely alien and new, and then bring it into being, thus radicalising the market and world around us. However, these are tremendously risky and one tends to fall victim to the ‘mad scientist’ psychological trap of always chasing an event horizon that never manifests, or manifests in undesirable ways.
Kaizen is a subtle alternative that the Japanese automotive and electronics industries have used to gain world market domination in a relatively short space of time.
“So far as coaching goes this is important because one aim of the coach is to get the client to adopt new habits or rituals that are more helpful to them than the ones that led to their issue.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching
In order to change our lives, we have to change our habits. This much, we know. We know that to lose weight, we need to exercise more and to diet. We know that to break addictions, we have to form new patterns. However, doing it is always significantly harder than we think. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that most of us believe that we have to go on ‘crash courses’ in order to transform ourselves. We fast or only drink special shakes, we eat radically different food, we start running every day. This is a tremendous amount of effort and automatically sparks the ‘fear response’ in us that says: I don’t want to do that. The second reason is linked to the first: our brains are hard-wired to repetition. Even the most creative and spontaneous of us have patterns; we eat similar foods each day, walk similar paths, drink tea or coffee at the same times, have similar conversations, have similar practices for getting ‘in the zone’. Repetition is security. The more that the brain can put on auto-pilot, the less it has to worry about infinitesimal details or things going wrong. That’s why, in order to get really fit, the best way is actually to continuously vary your exercise regime, so the body doesn’t have time to adjust or fall into a pattern. The military use this to great effect.
So, we know we need to create new habits and change, but we can’t. The exercise regime is too stringent, the diet is too controlled, etcetera. How do we break through these mental blocks and doubts? The answer is kaizen. The ‘small steps’ of kaizen allow us to circumnavigate the fear response. Let’s do an exercise.
Exercise: Consider a key area in your life where you are not satisfied, or that you want to improve. Now ask yourself the question: What is the smallest possible step I could take towards my destination?
In order to help you with this exercise, let me give you a brilliant example. There was a study done on two office blocks in Manhattan. Specifically, companies that worked on the tenth floors, really high up. Both organisations had problems with employee fitness levels due to the location of the offices. In order to help employees, each company was offered a fitness plan. Company A employees were given unlimited gym membership and access. They could go any time, use any machines, swimming pool, all of it. Company B employees were asked to, once per day in their lunch break, walk up and down a flight of stairs. Each day, they had to add one step to the number they climbed. After a year, the fitness levels of the employees were measured. To the surprise-not-surprise of the researchers, Company B employees, termed affectionately ‘the steppers’, were fitter in every single metric. Most Company A employees had barely used the gym. It was too much, an overwhelming amount of options, and required them to travel and find a place in their busy lives to schedule it in. The change for Company B employees was so manageable, they stuck to it.
Consider now how this might apply to your life, or indeed the life of someone you know. How can you make one simple, minuscule change that will, over time, have a tremendous impact? Many successful people cite tiny routines, that they keep to every day, that have laid the foundation for their achievements. Remember, the habit must be small, manageable, and easy to incorporate into your existing daily life. Telling yourself you will run four miles every day will probably not work. You might manage it one or two days, or even a week, but after a while you’ll burn out. However, doing five (or even three or one) push ups before you go to work, and adding one push up each week, that is stick-able to!
Circling back to the beginning of this article, let’s look now at how you can use your Motivational Map, or your sense of what your top motivators are, to maximise this kaizen activity. If you wanted to improve your mental well-being, and you were a Creator, then perhaps journaling dreams or experiences or writing creative fiction, for just five minutes a day, would be a good exercise. You don’t need to write The Odyssey. Sketching out ideas, without the
burden of engaging in a full blown project, will be liberating. On the other hand, if Defender was your top motivator, and you wanted to improve your mental well-being, then you would probably have a different strategy; planning your daily and weekly activities ahead of time, and doing this every day for a few minutes, would probably be a better solution.
I hope this article has given you some more ideas about you can use kaizen and coaching to drastically improve areas of your life. Thanks once again for stopping by!
If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.