Priorities are what we do. Everything else is just talk!
A corporate culture of stimulation and motivation is as necessary to our long term growth
and success as it is exciting. As leaders in our companies we are responsible for providing
the primary motivators in our organizations, and we are going to be largely measured by the
product of our ability to encourage or induce others to do the things that are needed and
necessary in order for the whole organization to grow or move forward, and thus to become all
that it can.
Ultimately, this is the challenge of all leadership, coalescing the abilities and
aspirations of the many into a motivated and successful whole and keeping it there over time.
The need we have is to provide for two kinds of motivation; individual, where each is drawn
to strive to the limit of his or her singular abilities, and corporate or cultural wherein the group
harmonizes and achieves through synergistic interdependence. This is simply the truth of all
effective organizational development, and necessary for all organizational success.
C12 has identified four basic needs that we believe are common to all quality
workers, if not all people, and which are found in various forms, and met in various ways, in all
successful and highly motivated organizations. They are:
1- The need for Identity. The Identity need means that we will work our best and be the
most productive when we feel that what we are working on is more important than just a
paycheck and means something significant to others who also see it as important. We identify
personally with the purpose of the organization. It is the vision or cause portion of what we do,
the big picture, the significance of our work. We all want to feel that our work matters, that we
are not just ciphers mindlessly knocking out meaningless widgets. The easy illustration of the
importance of the Identity factor is the non-profit organizations who exist because of volunteer
workers. There is no pay or financial profit incentive. All motivation is furnished through other
means and is focused in the common bond of allegiance to a greater purpose. People who
volunteer do so primarily because they believe in the cause or purpose that they are offering
themselves to. True believers are highly motivated people. What we are calling Identity is that
which our people understand to be truly significant about what we do. To be continually
motivated we need to see significance in our work. As leaders we provide Identity when we
create a shared vision and purpose and inculcate our culture with it through example, teaching,
modeling and illustrating it over time.
2- The need for Participation. Participation says that we need to feel that we have a voice in
the decisions that are made that affect us and our future. When we feel that we have no voice we
drop out. One of the main reasons given by eligible voters who don't vote is that they don't any
longer believe that their vote matters, they feel they have lost their voice. We don't need to make
the decisions that affect us ourselves necessarily, but we do want to be heard, and to feel that our
opinions are taken into account by those who do make the final decisions. It is a matter of a
voice, not a vote. Participation means that my ideas are valued and that means that I am too.
Leaders provide Participation through empowering others, seeking out and listening to their
ideas, implementing those that contribute, and through genuine delegation.
3- The need for Equity. Equity means that, if we give ourselves to this organization, put our
heart into it, and we win, that we will get a fair share of the rewards, financial and emotional
rewards, a just return for our efforts. Equity is why we favor incentive based compensation
systems in C12. Pay for performance is the fairest way to ward off the entitlement mindset and to
reward those who produce with a just reward. It must be unbelievably galling to those who work
for organizations who pay huge rewards to CEOs who simply lay-off scads of people and force
those who remain to work extra hard and overtime just to make up for not having staff to
properly do the job. It would be very hard to respect or commit to an organization like that. It
might be equally galling to be a top producer who is never recognized or rewarded for their
effort and success. To be motivated we must believe that, if we contribute, our reward will be
there and will be fair.
4- The need for Competence. Competence must be found in our leadership, and in our peers
as well. We need to feel that we are being led by others who know what they are doing and are
committed to learning how to do it better. If we are being asked to commit to continual
improvement, which can only happen in an environment of continual learning, we want to know
that our leaders are likewise being challenged to learn and to grow. If we are being challenged to
work in a system that will weed out the non-contributors and non-performers, and all high
performing and highly motivated organizations have such a system, we want to know that our
leaders and the others that we work with are no less committed. We demonstrate Competence by
our actions in seeking learning and growth ourselves, and encouraging, recognizing and
rewarding it in others.
These four interrelated needs form the matrix for effective motivation. Meeting them is not a
project to be achieved so much as a mix to be maintained. If the systems, structures and practices
we implant and pursue are adequate in meeting them, we have a motivated team to work with.
To the degree that these impacting things are neglected or out of harmony with the four basics,
we lose motivation in our team and in our culture as well.