Motivation 3.0: Do meaningful work & deliver GREAT results
What motivates people to perform better and deliver great results? This has been my research question ever since I became a professional speaker. I have always been fascinated by performance. In any organisation, you get those who out-perform everyone else. Then you obviously get those who under perform. These people can’t deliver the required results no matter what.
I have since diagnosed the problem of delivery of results; MEANINGFUL WORK! People have a serious need to do work that is meaningful, either to them or to society.
From the beginning of time, if you paid attention to what motivated people to do work, you would discover that it was money. The first level of motivation is the physiological needs of human beings. Human Beings have the need for shelter, food, clothing, etc. For them to get those things they have to have money. For them to have that money they have to work. So this is what employers discovered; for people to perform, they have to be paid. So the amount of money you get from your job is what will motivate you to work. But as decades progressed, researchers found that it wasn’t enough to just pay people to work. People weren’t motivated to perform better by just being paid more.
So if people aren’t motivated by just being paid, employers had to look deeper into what could make people perform better. Around two decades ago, employers discovered the second level of motivation – that for people to perform better people need to be rewarded. This is because it is human nature to respond to punishment or rewards. So employers now began to reward their employees; on top of their basic salary, employees received medical aid benefits, performance bonuses, and if they work for a corporate company then they can offer them stock or shares, so that the employees can own part of the company. But believe it or not, that was still not enough. Employees not only didn’t perform better after they were given rewards, but they left to go work for an organisation that paid them better and gave them better rewards. Now they were in a predicament, because nothing could make employees perform better or stay with the organisation. Until about a decade ago, where employers discovered that employees will not only stay, but will perform better if they can find meaning in their work. This is what I call, Motivation 3.0.
Until a decade ago people were motivated to perform better by money or rewards. Now they are motivated by meaningful work. So the question they are asking is; “Why am I doing the work that I am doing?” because it has to have some sort of meaning or value to it. If there is no value, then there is no reason for them to do the work. I looked deeper into what meaningful work may mean for people, and I found these four components:
- Developing Yourself
- Unity with others
- Serving others
- Expressing yourself
These are the four components to meaningful work. If you are looking for a job and you want something with value, then that job has to have the four components. If you are an employer and you want your employees to perform and deliver great results, more than just getting the right people for the job, but if the job can have all of these four components, then you will have the best results delivered by a motivated team.
Let’s take a look at these four components:
- Developing yourself
What employees want to know now is, can they develop themselves while they are doing the job? Is there a sense of growth in doing what they do every day. This is something employers need to invest in; the growth of their employees. The best way to do this is by focussing on the strengths of the employee rather than the weakness. If you have a particular strength you would love to develop, will working where you are working develop it. For example; I’m a professional speaker. I do this for a living. Every day of my life I am out there speaking. My strength is speaking. My job is speaking. So by doing my job every day I am encouraged to develop it. So in our organisation, we decided that everyone should be a member of Toastmasters International. This way, we are able to develop our strengths.
- Unity with Others
This is in my opinion, the most important, especially when it comes to the performance at work. People will perform better, depending on the type of team they are in. The team you are part of will make or break your performance. Therefore for work to be meaningful, and so you can deliver results that have value there has to be a little teamwork. For there to be teamwork, there has to be understanding within teammates. This is the reason, I always suggest team building exercises outside of the office. I call these adventure team building. Because the team has to be the team in whatever situation, so to build the team take them out on an adventure in a different environment and motivate working together there. This is so when they come back in the office, they can translate what they did in the fields back to their bottom line.
- Serving others
I say this everywhere I go; “Whenever you do your work, remember, you are not doing it to just get paid, but there is someone out there who gets served because you came to work.” Believe it or not, every organisation is there to make someone’s life easier. There is not a single organisation in the world that seeks to just make money and there is nobody who is benefitting from their work. If so, why do you take money out of your pocket and give it to them? You pay for what makes a difference in your life. You pay for transport because it has taken you from one point to another. You pay for bread because you are hungry. You pay for water and lights because without them life would be a mission. So everybody wakes up every morning to go make a difference in someone else’s life. Don’t ever think that your work is just to serve your bank balance, the organisation you work for is making a difference somewhere and these are stories that need to be told so we can motivate performance. your employees want to know, what good is this organisation doing?
- Expressing yourself
Human beings still respond to rewards. And they still understand that for everything that they do, they can be the best at it. So they need to achieve something as a reward for their great performance. it’s human nature to be in competition. They always want to beat that team. As an employer you need to create a healthy competition environment. This is one of the best ways to motivate performance. people perform when they have a team to beat and rewards to achieve. It’s in the human DNA.
At the end of the day, great results are not delivered by those who earn a lot. Great results are delivered by those who have found meaning in their work. Meaningful work is about the things that are of value to you – making sure that you grow, creating healthy relationships at work, making a difference in society and achieving great results with your work.