Motivation is a desire put in motion; a want that makes you move in a positive direction. What motivates each of us is as varied as our favorite movie, food or song. Motivation can swing too. Personally, I try to capitalize on days when I’m highly motivated to make up for the days with a lack of dedication to anything (you have those days too, right?).
Zig Ziglar was one of my dad’s favorite motivational speakers. I remember hearing his tapes – yes, it was the 80s – boom through the speakers in our living room. PositivePsychology.com reminded me of one of my favorite quotes on the waxing and waning of motivation.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
Once again, practice does make perfect. Creating motivation in yourself or in others is something that needs to be tended to every day. As we work our way through the coronavirus pandemic we can all use some extra motivation. Let’s take a look at two areas in particular:
- Motivation in the WFH environment
- Motivating someone else – as in a customer, employee, spouse, etc
“Work” From Home
It’s been a funny assumption, but NO, there are no air quotes around work. I think many of us are seeing that more clearly every day. Companies are counting on their employees to carry on business as usual at home while our country (and the world) battles COVID-19.
At Motivation Excellence, we’ve had flexible work practices in place for a while and have built the technology infrastructure needed to maintain business from 30+ remote offices. Taking WFH from a day or two a week to every day of every week is a huge adjustment though! As a team we’ve shared what keeps us on task and motivated to be productive amid new working conditions and co-workers (aka pets & fellow quarantined family):
“Once I replicated my daily routine at home I actually acclimated to getting back to business. Meetings (video conferencing of course) went on as usual and I made sure I prepared, and yes, showered to start each day. Another bonus was a few of you got to meet our oldest cat Indy, who would climb on my lap during video calls oblivious to my attention focused elsewhere.” – David Jobes, President and CEO
Working from home can actually lend itself to putting in more hours, because we no longer have any place to go after work (no kids’ practices, loads of errands, dinner plans). Maintaining a routine is very important when looking at reserving motivation at work and in your personal life.
“I noticed that I am not good about taking breaks. I get involved, or say ‘let me just finish this one thing’ and then it’s 6 hours later and I haven’t had lunch and the dog is staring at me with her legs crossed. So, I set an alarm on my phone to go off once in the morning, at noon, and once in the afternoon to remind me to take a break for a few minutes.” – Jen Hurley, Project Accountant
“I’m keeping a regular schedule and log in and log off at consistent times. I take breaks at a consistent time vs. working through lunch and not eating and I keep my to-do list going just like any other day. I stay in touch with my co-workers by using meetings via video for work and social stimulation. And finally, I ask myself, ‘Am I doing my part to help our country and the world beat this terrible virus?’” – Brad Hecht, VP Travel
Let me tell you, knowing that all our meetings are video conferences really motivates me to start each day with a shampoo and blow dry! OK – a bit of make up too, but I’m still in leisure wear so there’s a balance.
Motivating Someone Else
Finding motivation for yourself is one thing. Discovering what motivates someone else is entirely different. In our business, we are constantly helping our clients connect with their target audience, whether it’s employees or customers or channel partners. The goal is always to motivate a behavior change, be it increasing sales, gaining market share or creating a more positive culture at work.
Just like Zig Ziglar said, the key is to communicate the goal daily (or at least regularly) to make sure it’s top of mind. Bob Graham, our VP of Client and Technology Services, often guides clients through rule structures and communication plans that work to motivate participation and positive end results.
“Building a conversation channel through email, text and useful branded gifts creates a community of shared experience. Communications should be highly targeted to what each customer/person does or can do and encourage them to earn the rewards from the program. Branded gifts have a repeatable, useful benefit because it keeps your brand and program in front of your participant. Keeping them focused through multiple media venues, ensures you are reaching them the way they prefer to communicate. Again, personalizing your interactions helps create the relationship and loyalty you ultimately strive for.”
Another favorite motivation tool is the coveted top performer group travel award. These top tier incentive experiences should leave anyone who attended a willing word of mouth advertiser and “all in” to achieve the top performer designation again the next year. Clear and consistent communication filled with beautiful photos of beaches and bucket list-worthy activities are a natural motivator for most of us!
When trying to motivate another person, it’s important to keep in mind general characteristics inherent in the five generations of people currently in our workforce. Knowing who is most motivated by the recognition of an experiential award or perhaps being involved in giving back to the community can have great impact on the results. How they like to receive communication is important too: emails versus texts versus snail mail or in person, or over the phone.
A final key factor in motivating anyone around you, is to have great listening skills. If someone feels like they’ve been heard and their concerns are a top priority a relationship starts to build. A salesperson who listens well can then turn around and ask open ended questions to facilitate clarity on a client or customers’ goals or dreams, Suddenly you’re in a position to motivate – or guide – that person in the right direction to achieve them simply by helping them articulate exactly what they want.
This can work with friends and family too. In fact, psychologists have found the “question-behavior” effect has great impact on motivating others. Next time you need your spouse to get an item done on the “honey-do” list try out the tips in the linked articles.
Motivation, when done well, can reap huge results! Whether it’s on a personal level (weight loss, mastery of a skill, saving money for something special) or in the business world (increasing sales, creating engagement, improving mindshare). The feel good emotion carries over into other aspects of life and creates lasting connections that continue to pay dividends, both figuratively and literally, well into the future. Who would know better than a company called Motivation Excellence?