“When you look at those four absolutes for success in a role,” I started, “and you hit them all –
- Skill (technical knowledge, practiced behavior)
- Interest, passion (value for the work)
- Required behaviors
Sam had to think. “If I can get a match on every one of these, it is going to have a positive impact on performance.”
“Think harder,” I pressed. “What is the impact on you as a manager?”
“I shouldn’t have to spend too much time checking up, to see if the person is still engaged with the work.”
“Think harder. What is the impact on the team member?”
“I would imagine,” Sam said, “the team member will be motivated to do the work, without my coercion.”
“Sam, have you ever heard of being in the zone, being in flow? When you get a match on all four, you set the platform for performance in the zone. This is where motivation lives. You don’t have to hire a motivational speaker. It happens automatically, overnight.”
Marjorie was puzzled. Twenty minutes ago, she adjourned a meeting with her development team. The purpose of the meeting was to share the newly published annual business plan. For the first time since Marjorie joined the company, the vision, described in the plan, finally made sense. They staked out a customer base and nailed down objectives for the next twelve months. It was the clearest flag the company ever planted. Then, why didn’t the team respond enthusiastically?
Which flag do you care the most about? Which flag does your team member care the most about? Here’s the news, nobody cares about your flag. People only care about their own flag. Companies are great at describing their own flag, but nobody cares. Customers don’t care, employees don’t care. People only care about their own flag.
As a Manager, to have any hope in the areas of motivation and alignment, you have to find out the flags of each of your individual team members. Finding out about the flags of your customers doesn’t hurt either.