I was recently giving a virtual presentation on motivation to the members of Indy SHRM and was asked:
How do you motivate your team in this COVID-fearing-socially distanced-masked-working remotely-Zoom-weary world?
Unfortunately, you cannot motivate a team or any other person. Science has proven that motivation is a psychological construct that is uniquely intrinsic to each person.
You can make individual connections with each person and if you understand what motivates them (a Reiss Motivation Profile®️ is super valuable data) you can inspire and stimulate their personal motives.
It’s not time to motivate your team. It’s time to listen to understand each contributor and get them what they each need to fuel their own motivation! Don’t assume you know what they need. Ask them!
Frederick Herzberg, Ph.D., wrote “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” in the Harvard Business Review, Sept.-Oct. 1987 issue. Herzberg speaks to extensive research showing what “hygiene” factors can contribute to job dissatisfaction. The reduction of negative work environment hygiene factors can reduce job dissatisfaction but not increase motivation and performance. Careful consideration of COVID-induced virtual workplace hygiene factors is well worth the time investment. Here’s some areas to consider given the new-abnormal environment:
Workplace Hygiene Factors to Consider to Decrease Job Dissatisfaction
Interpersonal contact between employees
Work impact on personal life
Impact on status
Sense of security
Herzberg found several factors within management’s control could increase job satisfaction and encourage a worker’s intrinsic motivation.
Workplace Factors to Consider to Increase Job Satisfaction
Achievement opportunities (even small wins matter)
Vertical Job Enrichment
Perhaps the new reality offers an opportunity to redefine roles in-collaboration with your workers. Herzberg offered some excellent thought starters on what he termed, “Vertical Job Loading.”
Removing some controls while maintaining accountability for performance.
Increasing the accountability for individual worker contributions and quality.
Allowing a worker the opportunity to complete an entire natural work unit.
Encouraging individual autonomy and decision-making authority to workers.
Increase access to information regarding company performance and progress.
Allow employees to try more challenging tasks.
Allow employees to specialize and master a specific crucial task.
As COVID protocols drag on into fall and winter, it is important to acknowledge the challenges and changes as well as the opportunities and progress made during these uncertain times. Open dialogue and consensus building are two sure ways to help your team members feel heard, appreciated, respected and valued. Give your team members each a meaningful reason to care about their contribution and then watch their motivation show up to work!
Most of us struggle with an invisible insurgent character in our epic life’s adventure story. This meddlesome character is the Saboteur. Our Saboteur is speaking half-truths, exaggerations, and outright lies into our minds. Saboteur’s often disguise their mental mischief by impersonating the trusted voices of respected people from our pasts. Perhaps you think you hear an overprotective parent whispering, “you are bad,” or a judgmental teach saying, “you are not as smart as the really good kids,” or a distant cold father who sits in silence, proving you don’t deserve his attention, praise, or love because you are lazy and ”haven’t worked hard enough to be the winner.”
Once you begin to recognize the Saboteur’s voice, you have the power to evict them from living rent free in your mind. I encourage my clients to visualize an actual character behind their Saboteur’s voice and then imagine having a powerful remote control with a big red mute button. When you become aware of your Saboteur’s trash talking, simply press mute and get on with your journey in peace.
You are not an imposter! If you believe you are an imposter, find and mute your Saboteur.
Coaches offer counter self-espionage to help you shine the light of truth and expose your Saboteur for the fraud they are.
Let’s talk about imprisoning your Saboteur so you can be your best at doing your good!
Do you work with someone who has a “bad” attitude?
What we observe as a “bad attitude” is a RESULT of a fairly complex cognitive process. Attitudes about work such as “I don’t care about the CX score,” stem from an individual’s beliefs. “Asking one stupid question to customers does not really measure their true experience with our company,” might be an example of a belief that leads to an attitude of not caring about a CX score.
Beliefs are built to support, validate, and align with an individual’s most important values. If someone has a very weak value for curiosity for example, s/he may not be naturally motivated to understand research or data. Theoretical thinking is exhausting to people who have a very weak value for curiosity.
To change an attitude, one must find a supporting strong value to reframe a new belief to create a new attitude. Each person must have a meaningful reason to him/her to believe in a new way which results in a new attitude.
According to the Science of Motivation®, humans around the world all share 16 basic needs. The sixteen basic needs are psycho-genetic in origin and are prioritized differently by each person. These 16 basic desires, according to psychological researcher, Professor Steven Reiss, create a total of 32 opposite values in human beings.
For the example above, we all desire curiosity, but we each have a certain amount of curiosity hard-wired into us that we seek to satisfy. Someone with a strong value for curiosity is probably very intellectual and values research and understanding data. As I mentioned earlier, someone with a low value for curiosity is more “hands on” and prefers doing something to theoretical thinking. Doing versus thinking are opposite values created by the need for curiosity. Different beliefs and attitudes flow from the individual’s natural value judgments.
One day Idealist witnessed a thing that ought not to be. Idealist ranted to Friend about what ought not to be for days. At night Idealist wrestled in unceasing dreams of what ought not to be. Idealist sent a message to Someone who should do something about what ought not to be, but the message was returned as undeliverable, addressee unknown.
Tired and frustrated Idealist appeared before the village elders, Chairman Apathy presided. Idealist pleaded for the elders to resolve what ought not to be. Member Indifference dozed peacefully while Member Status Quo checked the agenda for the next item. They assigned No One to research it more.
Discouraged, Idealist sought out Wisdom who lives by the Pool of Reflection. Idealist asked Wisdom to reveal who should champion and fix what ought not to be. Wisdom challenged Idealist to be brave enough to seek an answer by peering into the Pool of Reflection. In the mirrored still water, Idealist saw whom Fate had chosen to create what ought to be. Idealist said, “It must be me!”
What problem has chosen you to solve? It would be my privilege to help you get your ought to be out of your heart and head and put it to work doing profitable good for our village!
Let’s talk about a coaching plan for you to will ensure you are your best at doing your good! -Coach Andy
Coronavirus has unexpectedly disrupted our lives. The daily events that create our sense of
normalcy have been quarantined until an unknown future date. Our world is suddenly even more volatile,
uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA).
We are lacking in our two keys to confidence in our decision making:
How much do you know about the actual situation?
What’s really happening?
How accurately can you predict the outcomes of
your actions in the actual situation?
OODA Loop to SOODA Loop
Col. John Boyd, USAF, developed what he termed the OODA Loop decision-making model to describe gaining clarity of thinking during the fog of war. Boyd envisioned the decision cycle consisting of Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action. In working with my clients, I add Sensing to Boyd’s model to make the SOODA model.
Here’s how the SOODA model works:
We sense and feel in our gut and emotions something is about to happen, change, is different, or possible.
We observe available real-time information about the situation.
We orient ourselves to the new reality as it is presented by making sense out of our observations using our individual values-system, experiences, knowledge base, culture, biases, and beliefs.
We reach a decision as to what is our best course of action to take in the situation to gain our desired outcomes.
We act in our best interest.
We then to the beginning and sense then observe is our
actions have had their desired effect.
SOODA Keeps Us In-Control
Effectively using our SOODA Loop to make decisions in VUCA
situations allows us to remain in as much control as possible of our attitudes
and behaviors. It prevents us from becoming
stuck or frozen in uncertainty and fear, thus missing an opportunity to make a favorable
Stuck in SOO-SOO-SOO
Unfortunately, we often get stuck in the SOO part of the
SOODA Loop. Suffering from analysis paralysis, we fail to make a timely
decision. “We don’t have enough information.” “Let’s run another simulation.” “I
need to review the data again.” “What if I’ve got this wrong?” are all symptoms
of a potentially fatal case of the SOODA Loop virus infecting one’s thinking
and making clarity and confidence nearly impossible. One cannot afford to hyper focus on familiar or
favorable indications at the expense of unfamiliar or unfavorable data.
What can you do to break free of a stuck SOO?
Don’t ignore your feelings and gut. Take time to sort out what you are sensing
and what is triggering these senses.
Rate your observations.
Are other people you respect observing the situation in the same ways
you are? Is what you are observing
first-hand or from a reliable source? Are you able to observe the whole
picture? How confident on a scale of 10 to 1 with 10 being rock solid, bet your
life on it, are you in the accuracy of your observations? Can you have an outsider evaluate your interpretations?
Orient toward something that makes the most sense. Remember, the simplest explanation to what
you are observing is likely the most accurate and truthful. Who is available with expert knowledge or
experience to guide you? Ask for
different sense making stories from trusted people also dealing with the
situation. What are you most certain and
uncertain about in the situation? Is it possible to become more certain or is
there not enough time/resources to do so?
How can you manage around the uncertainty to minimize negative impacts
of the unknown or uncertain elements of the situation? What’s the worst that can happen? What is the
probability the worst will happen? How can you deal with the worst-case
scenario if it does happen?
Decide on what action you can take now and then next. Making
even a small decision to act can break you free from the SOO loop and moving
forward. You action will have some observable outcome and allows you to begin
the SOODA Loop with additional insight and experience. This can make you more
confident in making your next decisions to act based on your new learning.
Act in your best interest with your best effort and
consistent with your orientation and desired outcomes.
Need Help Getting Unstuck?
If you are SOO stuck, perhaps come executive coaching can help you get moving forward like it has helped other clients of mine. I’d be happy to talk with you to see we can get you some clarity and confidence back in these VUCA times we live in. You can contact me at email@example.com or call or text for an appointment at 317-538-3231.
“We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist, through which we get glimpses now and then of the paths which may be deceptive. If we stand still we shall be frozen to death. If we take the wrong road we shall be dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know whether there is any right one. What must we do? Be strong and of good courage. Act for the best, hope for the best and take what comes. If death ends all, we cannot meet death better.”
As the impact of the coronavirus unfolds, people are dealing with high levels of stress, learning new ways to cope with changes in everyday life, and trying to find a new “normal.” News accounts have described displays of extreme behaviors such as the hoarding of food, paper products, and cleaning supplies. Some people fight over the last package of toilet paper, while others hoard cases of cleaning products which they then attempt to resell at high prices. Psychologically, how can we understand the extreme behaviors we are witnessing during this crisis?
Professor Steven Reiss, Ph.D. conducted ground-breaking research that led to the development of his “16 Basic Desires Theory of Human Motivation.” Reiss’s theory, which has been scientifically validated by independent researchers, can explain the extremes in human behavior that occur during a crisis.
According to Reiss, each of us is motivated by 16 basic human needs. This is the universal in human nature. What makes us individuals is the priority we place on each of the 16 needs. One need, for example, is the desire for social contact. Some individuals (e.g., extroverts) place a high value on social contact, while others (e.g., introverts) place a low value on spending time with peers. Reiss developed a psychological test called the Reiss Motivation Profile® (RMP) to measure individual differences in how we prioritize the 16 basic desires. The information provided by the RMP can give us insights into why people behave the way they do.
Here is a real-time example of the different ways in which people attempt to satisfy their basic desires. During a family’s recent visit to a ski resort, the slopes unexpectedly closed on the third day of the eight-day trip, turning the vacation into a voluntary quarantine in a small condo. Two of the family members have a strong need for physical activity, which is one of the 16 basic desires identified by Reiss’s research. Not surprisingly, these two individuals disliked just sitting around the condo, prompting them to hike solitary trails each day. Two other family members with a weak need for physical activity were completely content to sit on the couch while watching endless television shows. “I can’t sit around any longer; I’m going for a walk,” said one of the hikers, when his frustration at the lack of muscle exercise peaked, to which the sedentary television watchers replied, “Okay, have fun and be safe.”
Tranquility, or the
need for personal safety, is another basic desire identified by Reiss. While confined in the condo, the family
members who place a high value on this need anxiously monitored the evolving
pandemic and frequently expressed approval when government officials enacted measures
to flatten the curve of the virus.
Luckily for the rest of the group, one family member with a strong need
for saving, another of Reiss’s basic desires, had brought extra supplies of
food and paper products including that most precious of current commodities –
toilet paper. A strong need for
idealism, defined by Reiss as the desire for social justice, motivated some
family members to consider donating money to their hairdresser, who was likely
to suffer disproportionately from the economic downturn, given her already
The family members in
this example were motivated by the natural desire to satisfy their most intense
needs – to engage in behavior consistent with the values that matter most to
them. Each person’s behavior was
“normal” when viewed in this light.
Since we feel best when our needs are satisfied by our behavior, we believe that other people would be happier if they would do what we do. Reiss coined the term “self-hugging” to refer to the tendency to think that our values – the way we prioritize the basic desires – is best, not just for us but for everyone. He labeled as “everyday tyranny” our tendency to try to change the values of others. We think, “If you would do what I know works, then you would be happy just like me.”
Reiss’s theory of motivation addresses what happens when people are under stress. According to Reiss, stressful events are likely to exacerbate an individual’s most intense needs. A collector, for example, becomes a hoarder. Here is how Reiss’s theory explains some of the extremes of behavior we are witnessing during the current crisis. During times of stress:
An individual with a
strong need for saving who typically keeps a well-stocked pantry may begin
buying and hoarding excessive supplies of food and other products.
A person with a weak
need for honor, defined by Reiss as an expedient person who acts out of
self-interest, may engage in price gouging.
(those with a strong need for vengeance on the RMP) may push ahead of someone
who has cut in front of them in a checkout line.
An individual with a
strong need for family may initiate daily communications with extended family
members with whom they normally talk only on a weekly basis.
A person with a strong
need for order, defined by Reiss as a desire for structure and stability, may become
even more rigid in following daily routines.
Those with a strong
need for idealism may respond to just about every charity’s appeal for
donations and may encourage others to do the same.
A risk-taker (someone
with a weak need for tranquility on the RMP) may completely ignore advice to
engage in social distancing despite being vulnerable due to age or an
underlying health condition.
An individual with a
strong need for understanding (Reiss’s curiosity motive) may spend many hours
analyzing the pandemic.
A person with a weak
need for physical activity may become even more sedentary.
Our tendencies to self-hug and to engage in everyday tyranny lead to conflicts based on differences in values. Reiss emphasized the importance of understanding that our values may be different from those of others. He also encouraged tolerance, and hopefully acceptance, of people whose values differ from our own. This may be particularly important during times of stress.
The extreme behaviors on display during the current crisis are not only understandable but also predictable. As usual, people are attempting to satisfy their most important desires. Due to the stress caused by the pandemic, the ways in which they do this may be more extreme.
For more information about human motivation, read Steven Reiss’s book, Who Am I: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personalities.