THE IMPORTANCE OF MOTIVATION IN THE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS

A lot of research has been done and a lot of articles have been written about motivation. How does it work, what does it mean and where does it come from?

Most theories about motivation has no empiric background, but Steven Reiss, an American Emeritus Professor for Psychology and Psychiatry at Ohio State University was able to define 16 motives that exists in all of us. His research was conducted some 20 years ago and has recently been re-evaluated by the university of Luxembourg leading to some new evidence.

The key question is: What drives human behavior? In other words: what makes you tick.

If we translate that into the operational environment of most companies today, the question become: How can you motivate your employees to both enjoy and be engaged in their daily tasks while following legislation and procedures?

It all comes down to motivation and this is most important aspect that we have incorporated in our PSQI Lead to Inspire trainings. Feedback from leaders participating in our workshops is that they have embraced and incorporated the new knowledge and learnings directly into their daily management.

This is also true for one of our projects in Oslo, Norway – The Thief – a luxury hotel three times listed on the Condé Nast Travelers Gold list. Executive Officer Jarle Moen, enrolled his operational leaders for 5 months of leadership training between November 2017 and March 2018.

First workshop was all about Self-leadership, the second one dealt with how to lead Individuals and the last was all about leading Teams. In all of these workshops, motivation was a constant subject, as behavior is triggered by intrinsic needs (our motivation to do things) and thus understanding motivation makes it easier for the leader to both predict and direct performance.

The project was a great success and now, 10 months later, I met with two of the leaders to find out about the impact from the trainings. They were still enthusiastic about the project, revealing that very rarely did they consult the workbooks. “It has just become a natural part in how we lead and motivate our staff.”

Hotel Manager Andre Julseth says: “Understanding how to motivate not only your staff but also yourself, has made a real difference. The same goes for using the model for structured feedback cycle. More so, understanding the competence levels has made me a better leader in the way that I delegate and develop my staff. I make sure that each employee is in “Flow” state, so that they can deliver high quality performances each and every day. I just use the tools, without thinking of it or going back to the workbook to find things out. It’s just there. It’s made leading much easier.”

Chief Culture Officer (HR) Claerisse Gullaksen adds that the Conflict Management tools have also been used with great success. “I have been to many trainings but these three workshops have been the best!”

When you have the knowledge and tools, motivation becomes easy and fast.

Author: Manuela Hjelseth, Country Manager for PSQI Norway.

Leadership has never been easy and organizational communication has been a known challenge in the history of Mankind. The Leader who can communicate successfully can achieve miracles and when it comes to communication skills, we accept and stress the importance of this – and yet it is still one of the least trained skills in leaders and, also the one skill, many still believe can be learned in hours.

Consider this scenario: You are about to launch a mission critical change for your organization and as the CEO, you stress the importance of the communication of this major change to your team. The task of securing the communication, is given to the head of the change initiative or to the HR team… “Find some training in change communication”.

Although this change is so vital to the continued success or even survival of the company, the time and money allotted for this communication training is limited to a few hours or maybe one day.

Due to the urgency of the change initiative, C-Level ends up not being trained, because by title, they are supposed to be great communicators and middle management, who must pass the message with less insight, are given a half day briefing. Yet to everyone’s surprise, the communication of the change initiative doesn’t create the long term buy-inn needed to sustain the change, and when realizing this, the blame is on almost all other than the decision makers.

According to several research papers from some of the leading resources on change, majority of M&A’s and major change projects fail, and one of the main reasons is poor communication. Despite this well-known fact, there is still a dominating belief that powerful communication is learned in a few hours or days and for sure the C-Level people only need a few hours… because their communication has the least importance or what?

And here starts the problem; communication is a nominalization, meaning a word that has a broad and no distinct meaning. Communication can be emails, can be speeches, can be articles, can be one-to-one conversations, but the word, doesn’t reveal the contextual meaning nor the quality.

Information flows and decision speeds has not only doubled but probably ten-doubled in the span of the last thirty years and our biggest challenge today is to sort out what is fake and real news and information. The quick answer to everything is “Google it” but when you do, contradictory findings appear almost every time. In other words, communication has become more complex and needs even more definition and quality control!

This increased speed of things has also led to a phenomenon that I call organizational ADHD. Anything that requires more time is seen as an unnecessary evil, as organizations consistently searches for new and faster ways to achieve. As an example, from our world; why use time and money on real training, when we can give our people an E-Learning, it’s faster and cheaper, right? This is called Development and is under normal circumstances a good thing – BUT – there is a downside. When short attention span and impatience become the modus operandum, we risk a bigger failure than the upsides we can gain by this. When we think that knowledge is the same as skills, we fail. You do not become an Olympian athlete by reading a book. Skills requires not only practice, but also consistent feedback on progress and progress is not equal to finalizing an e-module and answering the quiz.

A famous quote says, “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard!” Translated this means if you plan your route to success with shortcuts, you will be beaten by those who are willing to do what it takes.

Accountability means more than just doing your job. Accountable people are responsible and powerful! Accountability includes an obligation to make things better, to pursue excellence, and to do things in ways that achieve results, further your goals and the goals of the organization.

This means that we can look at accountability from the perspective of the individual, the leader, the organization and even from the environment we are part of.

Lets first examine what it means for the individual. In short in means that you take responsibility for your own doings. You don’t just sit and wait for others to initiate, and you don’t run away from your responsibility when something goes wrong. It means that you pursue the individual performance agreements and do that little extra effort to achieve more. It means that you speak up when something is not right, and it means that people can trust you, because you keep your promises.

As a leader, it means that your people can trust you and that you keep your word and promises. It means that you consistently strive to become a better leader, and that you yourself deliver what you have to and that your people can count on you for support. It also means that you make your people accountable for their commitments and that you do follow up on a regular basis, with a committed effort to make your people perform.

As an organization it means that you put pride in continuous improvement and that you hold yourself accountable for the promises you make to your clients, and when something doesn’t work, you will be the first to admit responsibility. It means that you hold yourself accountable towards the employees of the organization and that you keep the promises you give them. It also means that you have clear targets for all, so that everyone knows how to hold themselves accountable and that you have a system for systematic follow up all the way through the system. It also means that if you have company values and slogans, that you do live them and that you are prepared to take action when someone is not living them, at all levels.

As a society we can also be accountable for what we do, and this is something that both organizations and politicians should remember. Many promises are given during time of elections, but few are kept. Perhaps more people talk about the lack of accountability in politicians and less in the leaders of their organization, but at the end of the day, if you keep your word and deliver on the what you have agreed on, you have already started to become an accountable person, and if you on top of that strive to become even better, you are doing great.

An easy way of recognizing someone who is accountable and someone who is not, is that the accountable person makes things happen and the opposite is the one who acts as the victim, saying it is not my responsibility and there is nothing I can do, comes up with excuses or blame others. So, the question is are you the victim or the empowered person who makes it happen?

Here are a few questions to help you become more accountable:

  • What are the areas where I am holding others responsible for my fate?
  • How can you take more ownership of your own situation in those areas?
  • What can I do to make myself more accountable for my performance?
  • What can I do to make myself more accountable for my actions and compliance?
  • What can I do to make myself more accountable for the quality of my work?