Speaking from Experience

Seeking Your Real Motivation

What motivates people? Is that mysterious inner drive such an elusive commodity, or do you simply need to probe until you discover what really matters, what constitutes your personal “ignition system?”

One extraordinary team we worked with had unanimously set a goal to increase production in their manufacturing unit by 25% within the three month scope of our teambuilding project, an ambitious target by anyone’s imagination. But what kind of motivation would it take to transform their goal into reality?

To answer that, we spent a full hour discussing the questions:

  • What are the benefits of this goal?
  • Why is it important to you?

Some said working toward the Business Unit’s Platinum Award motivated them; others mentioned outperforming other teams in the plant or accomplishing what had never been done before. But often these initial answers are more intellectual than motivational, more head than heart. Then someone said it: “So this plant will still be here for our children and our grandchildren.” Bingo! That was the core motivation that would inspire them all to reach their goal.

As a team, they had much work to do, habits to examine, actions to take, minds to change, relationships to improve, and personal responsibility to assume. Yet in that moment we were all convinced that with their commitment to their real goal, it was worth the effort.

They not only sprinted to achieve a 25% increase in productivity within their projected three months, they sustained the increase at 18%, gains valued in today’s dollars at $10.4 million annually.

We encourage you to take time to complete the same homework, examining the goals most compelling to you. Ask yourself, why are my goals important, really? Then keep probing for the true motivation that will propel and sustain your efforts. We would enjoy hearing what happens when you do so.