April 30th, 2012
(written by lawrence, however indented passages are often quotes)
When the team got down emotionally, I would try to persuade them that reality wasn’t as bleak as it seemed. I laugh thinking about it now. The guys would tell me, “You can’t persuade me of the pitch because we helped come up with it!”
The problem is that I was operating under the mentality that a team needs to be motivated to get more done. It turns out that my attempts to frame reality for the purpose of motivating was extremely demotivating to the team because it distracted our attention away from confronting the brutal facts of our reality.
Jim Collins in Good to Great and Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in The Progress Principle both interviewed hundreds of managers and employees, analyze thousands of employee journal entries, and concluded that motivation is a waste of time — employees aren’t motivated by motivation. Rather, the right people are self-motivated and the key is just to stay out of the way and focus on not demotivating people.
Not dealing with reality on the part of management is a huge demotivator. When you confront the brutal facts of your current reality, you’re able to conduct an autopsy in earnest, and then execute — a process that’s invigorating and self-motivating.