Motivation Matters

My wife likes a rom-com and some time ago we watched a film called “the break-up”. There’s not much I remember from the film (hello Jennifer Anniston!) but an argument the couple had did stick in my mind. It went something a little like this:

Him: what do you want from me?

Her: I want you to do the dishes.

Him: I do the dishes!!

Her: But I want you to WANT to do the dishes.

Him: Why would I want to do the dishes? 

He just didn’t get it and she didn’t know how to express it but motivations matter!! A few years ago my dear wife was struggling. I wanted to help and thought rather than guessing I’d ask what I could do. She said, “it would be really useful if at the end of the day you’d deal with the washing up. I’m exhausted by the end of the day and just can’t be bothered but mornings would be easier if the they were done!” I know your probably thinking, “why did she even have to ask?” But hey, I’m a guy! Sometimes I need it spelling out!! Either way, I started to do the dishes. At first I agreed with Vince Vaughn’s character- who likes doing the dishes!? But after a while, seeing the difference it made to how my beautiful wife’s day started, I didn’t mind it so much. And then something miraculous happened. No, I didn’t start like doing the dishes. But I did WANT to do the dishes because it was important to my wife. And I didn’t just do the bear minimum that she’d asked for but began to look around at what else in the kitchen needed cleaning.

You see, motivations matter! When you approach a task that needs doing as a chore you will procrastinate and do the minimum you need to do. The job HAS to be done so lets just get it out of the way. For some things that will never change (hello bin day!). But with the right motivations inspired by the right vision it can become something you want to do. And there may even come a time that you enjoy it!

It’s not just us who need help with motivational mind shifts. As leaders we need to ask ourselves, “What do I want someone to do and what do I want their reason to be for doing it?” Am I just squeezing them for as much as I can get out of them or am I encouraging and motivating with a shared vision so they will WANT to give their best and find joy in coming to work? Do I want an office of quiet quitters who are just doing the minimum or an inspired team who are self motivated, love their jobs, and can achieve mammoth results?

The couple in the film didn’t manage to resolve their issues. By working WITH your team and not ON them you can avoid break-ups at work. If you want help finding a shared vision that can give your team the right motivations then let me know.

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