My daughter is preparing to run her third marathon this fall. A person preparing for a marathon – or any race for that matter – must make the necessary efforts and sacrifices in order to cross the finish line. I have observed some of her sacrifices and am impressed by her dedication in getting up earlier, spending time pounding the pavement to her get her mileage in, and monitoring the amounts and the types of food she puts into her body for necessary fuel. She makes all of these commitments just so she can say she finished the race.
I get enjoyment in cycling. One phenomenon I have observed in myself is that I become more dedicated in my riding when I use an odometer. As I use this tool to track time, speed, distance, calories burned, and even my heart rate, I am inspired to push a little harder and a little longer.
Why is someone willing to put so much time, so much energy, and so much effort into an accomplishment they are not being compensated for – finishing that marathon, completing the miles on the biking course, etc.? In many cases, individuals actually pay for just the opportunity to be involved in the activity – the entrance fee, the cost of the bike, and so on. There are six key factors to making someone motivated in to sacrifice.
1. The initiative must be well-defined and have a definite opportunity for all that are affected
2. There needs to be a well-prepared strategy that includes implementation plans and appropriate resources
3. There must have been effective communication plan so all stakeholders understand the “what,” “how,” and “why” of the initiative
4. There needs to be buy-in (personal ownership) from all, along with appropriate incentives
5. An aggressive action and sustainability plan should be put in place
6. There must be a feedback mechanism for measuring results
While all these steps are critical; the last step provides the most significant internal motivator for people to be push a bit harder, to make a commitment to keep going when the environment seems against them. The goal must be one put forth the necessary efforts. Oddly enough, the goal a person is willing to makes sacrifices to achieve must be one that he or she has actively participated in setting. It also must be a goal that can be monitored and attained by following a measurement tool that can arouse a sense of accomplishment and triumph.
When was the last time you asked an employee what motivates him or her? When was the last time you concentrated on and made reference to the positive effects an employee has in the organization? Do you have a measurement system in place that team members can tangibly see positive effects?
Here is the payoff for you, the employer. When your employees are empowered, are involved in an effective measuring system, the likelihood of your organization achieving its goals – or even exceeding them – is astounding. Not only will you see your employees committed to your success, you will see an increase in accountability and productivity all of which adds significantly to your bottom line. The focus then is on leadership that gets results and not just on managing people.
What motivates you to do a marathon, or cycle, or tackle the big things in life? Add to our 6 point bullet list.