Motivation at Work

David-Mole-HIGHRES-apr15

With guest blogger David Mole

Have you ever sat back and noticed the variety of motivation levels of the people around you?  If you look around now, whether you are in an office or a coffee shop, you will no doubt see a huge range.  I am sure we have all worked with the lady who is always extraordinarily motivated and productive. Without an ounce of stress, she gets through her to do list, leads a team and finds time to sip coffee and set right the wrongs of the day.  And then no doubt, we have seen the lazy guy too, the one who doesn’t appear to actually do anything, in fact no one is really sure why he is still there.  He used to be good (we think) but no one can remember why.

I have always been fascinated by motivation, wondering what drives us to act and what drives us to huff and puff in dismay.  As an Agile Coach working with teams on a daily basis, motivation underpins so many of the issues we face.  Whilst there isn’t a magic ingredient to motivate people, we do have the work of Daniel Pink which gives us some fantastic tools and ideas which can change the way we look at a problem.  In my talk at Agile Australia this year, I will explain how we used Daniel Pink’s principles of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose to significantly increase motivation and happiness in the workplace.  We were able to interpret these principles and make a real difference by creating real, actionable steps and trying out our ideas.  As you can imagine, some things worked perfectly and some failed spectacularly!

We can learn a lot from Daniel Pink but one of the things he doesn’t cover directly is the influence of relationships and social support on motivation.  Of course many other authors have covered this topic and it is by combining all this work (and importantly finding the right application) that we can influence someone in the present moment.  Positive psychology advocate Shawn Achor, calls this the ‘Happiness Advantage’ where the intelligence, creativity and energy levels of people rise significantly when they are positive and happy in that moment.

After seeing (and feeling) the benefits of applying Daniel Pink’s work, it is the positive effect we can have on the people around us that feels ripe for investigation next, focusing on relationships and positivity.  I wonder if it will be possible to explain why teams who have an interesting or funny ‘quote of their day’ before their stand up in a morning, or those who take the office slides at the same time every day, outperform teams who seem to be doing everything correctly and by the book.  Interestingly, the more I read the less I actually want to do things by the book.

David is an Agile Coach in Auckland, New Zealand for Nomad8.com

See the talk (‘Drive: How we used Daniel Pink’s work to create a happier, more motivated workplace’) at Agile Australia 2015, Wednesday 17th June, 11am.

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