Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In response to: "Motivation is not what you think" by Jay Cross

People need free reign in making their work what they want to do; that’s what works with intrinsically motivated workers. The big payoff arrives when companies are doing the sort of greater good that makes a team proud.

This is an excerpt from Motivation is not what you think from the Internet Time Blog. In Informal Learning, Jay writes about knowledge workers as:

I like to work on things I  help create. I'm always building for the long term while getting today's work out the door. And if I don't feel good about doing something, I probably won't do it well. I work for me first and my organization second.
The two passages talk about motivation in a manner that I completely identify with. Today's workforce need to be kept motivated to deliver their best which culminates in value for the customer. Today's managers and team leads need to be aware of more than just the "facts and figures" and "deadlines and schedules" of a project.

Such knowledge workers who are intrinsically passionate about their work are notoriously difficult to find and keep, writes Jay. And I can understand why! Such people do not work for money, power, position, or credit. They work because they love what they do. They work to be involved in areas they can contribute best. However, when the work environment ceases to reward this passion , they fast lose interest. Such innovative knowledge worker is a "different beast" to use Jay's words.
  1. They are on the constant lookout for knowledge.  
  2. They network to learn.
  3. They collaborate and share.
  4. They are open to change.
  5. They love what they do.

They seek sincerity, honesty, transparency and a free hand to shape the work the way they want to...

What do such workers seek in their managers?
To ensure involvement of such workers, I think managers need to develop some intrinsic skills as well. Some of these, according to me, are:
    1. Ability to listen with an open mind
    2. Probe and question and never cease till a satisfactory answer is found
    3. Constantly seek answers and not take incidents/events at face value
    4. Have the power of empathy (means being able to step into the other person's shoes and put on different lenses)
    5. Be comfortable with laying things out in the open 
    6. Be able to synthesize information from diverse sources and see the larger pattern that emerge
    7. Be appreciative of the fact that for such workers "work is learning"
    8. Realize that involvement motivates them
    9. Appreciate analytical as well as synthesizing abilities
    10. Try to understand instead of trying to convince
What do such workers seek in their work ?
  1. Opportunity to learn
  2. Challenges
  3. An atmosphere of collaboration and sharing
  4. Openness and transparency in communication
  5. Involvement vs. instructions

I am soon going to start reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. There will be a part II of this post once I am done with it...

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