Yes, the expose of the year (if you don’t get out much) is that I’m not really a motivational speaker. Shock. Horror. Disgust. It’s all been a con. Or has it? I’ve never actually referred to myself as a “motivational speaker” and I don’t consider what I do to be motivating, per-se.
You see, what motivates one person, won’t necessarily motivate another. For some it’s the thought of earning enough money to treat their spouse, or nurture a family. But for others it might be exercise and others still, happiness. So, to stand in front of an audience of 500 business delegates and be a “motivational speaker” is, I think, a farce. It’s all very well that the speaker climbed Everest, backwards, on a unicycle but when I go back to work my manager is still an arse and the photocopier is still broken. It doesn’t change anything. You simply can’t motivate a group of people in the same way. Now, that’s not to say that a by product of watching me speak may, for some individuals, be motivating. But I’d imagine for the vast majority it is inspiring. And I’d rather be an inspirational speaker rather than a motivational one anyday.
But what does this have to do with you? Well, the very reason I don’t use the title motivational speaker because of its definition, is the very same thing that you need to be aware of falling into the trap of in your working environment: different things motivate different people. So a blanket idea that you hope will enhance target achievements, elevate sales or improve service delivery is, like the concept of motivating 500 people, a farce.
It’s super important that you uncover what motivates individuals, or teams, in order that their behaviour is best driven. No tee-totaller is going to feel especially motivated to do a task for you if the incentive or reward is a case of wine. But motivating ourselves goes beyond identifying what it is that actually drives and motivates us. If you haven’t already done this exercise before with your time I highly recommend it; it’s both enlightening and fascinating as a surprising amount of people have never stopped to consider what it is that motivates them. Try this: write down a list of the things that you believe motivate you; things that drive you to do something. You might write “holidays”, “nature”, “architecture”, “money”, “family” etc. Now next to each of those things write a number between 0 and 10 to correlate the amount of time you spend around or doing that particular thing that motivates, where 0 is never and 10 is all the time. The results are fascinating because in order to be well motivated, you need to spend an equal amount of time around each of the things that motivates you.
Further still, the environment in which we work or surround ourselves plays a critical part in motivating us to work effectively, efficiently and productively. If you’re in an environment that is painted in stark, uninspiring colours, with no plants, recognition such as awards or personalisation to inspire and motivate you, this can dramatically affect your behaviour.
So next time you consider doing something to inspire, motivate, jolly up, push on or otherwise encourage the team at work, remember that you’re not a motivational speaker either.
Jez Rose is The Behaviour Expert, a leading Behaviour Change Consultant and business conference speaker. For more information and free resources on how to change behaviour in your organisation, please visit: www.thebehaviourexpert.com