Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Motivation and Associated Issues

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. People have different needs

People are motivated by a number of different needs, at work and in their personal life. Based on work by Maslow, 5 needs have been identified and these should be tackled in the following order (the first need is a prerequisite of the second, etc), ie

i) physiological needs (warmth, shelter, food and sex, ie a human being has "animal"needs);

ii) safety needs ( a sense of security and an absence of fear);

iii) social needs (interaction with other people and having friends);

iv) esteem needs (being well regarded by other people and appreciated);

v) self-actualisation (realising individual potential, winning and achieving);

Remember: in the workplace, individuals do not need just money and awards; they also want respect and recognition. Furthermore, money is seen as a short-term motivator and not a sustainable motivator, ie if offered extra money, the staff member is motivated until he/shr gets used to the amount and is thereafter driven by other factors.

Based on USA research (Fiona Smith, 2006a) what motivated high-performing people showed money as 9th; the top 4 were maintaining a positive reputation, being appreciated, believing that work is important and having an assignment. The sort of people motivated by money will not stay; they will go to the next highest bidder. Furthermore, people are attracted by remuneration to an organisation but other reasons will keep them there.

Motivated staff want to do something they are passionate about, something fulfilling, which involves personal growth, and work with a group of people who share their passion; they want to be challenged and have their contribution recognised fairly

Hygiene and motivators

. Hygiene or organisational fitness - this refers to basic needs at work. They are not motivators but failure to address them causes dissatisfaction; they are :

i) salary and benefits (include basic income, fringe benefits, bonuses, holidays, etc);

ii) working conditions (include working hours, workplace layout, facilities and equipment);

iii) company policy (formal and informal rules and regulations that govern staff);

iv) status (this is determined by rank, authority, relationship to others, level of acceptance, etc);

v) job security (the degree of confidence that staff have regarding continued employment in the organisation);

vi) supervision and autonomy (involves the extent of control that an individual has over the content and execution of the job);

vii) office life (the level and type of interpersonal relations within the individuals' working environment);

viii) personal life (balance between family, friends and interests vs. time spent at work, personal well-being including health and fitness, etc).

. Motivators - what drives people to achieve, are built around growth and self-actualisation and are more important thanhygiene factors in a transition process

i) achievement (reaching or exceeding task objectives satisfies the "onwards and upwards"urge. It is a very powerful motivator and a great source of satisfaction. Greed can be a component of this);

ii) recognition (acknowledgment bysenior staff enhances self-esteem and can be viewed as a reward in itself; includes financial and non-financial elements);

iii) job interest (a job that provides satisfying pleasure provides more motivation than an un-interesting job. Ideally, responsibilities should be matched to individuals' interests. Furthermore, this is linked with work ethic that includes attitude and aptitude to work and the organisation, plus cultural fit with organisation);

iv) responsibility (the opportunity to exercise authority and power requires leadership skills, ethics (own and organisational), risk-taking, decision-making, self-motivating and self-directing - these are linked with self-esteem);

v) advancement (the important perception is that promotion, progress and rising rewards for achievement are possibilities);

In other words, how much a person achieves depends upon recognition. Furthermore, the ability to achieve depends upon having an enjoyable job and responsibility. The greater that responsibility, the more the individual can experience the satisfaction of advancement.

Some of interesting ways to motivate staff used at Atlassian (Australian-founded ITC firm that floated on the US stockmarket for around US$ 5 b. in late 2015) (Fiona Smith, 2014):
- 20% time (staff can spend up to a fifth of their week working on their own projects)
- ShipIt day (every 3 months, staff are allowed to work on whatever they want for 24 hours and present their ideas)
- Daily Pulse (staff are checked daily so that health problems are identified quickly)
- Leaders unplugged (senior management hold open mic sessions with staff)
- Simple performance management (based on regular, informal conversations rather than number ratings)
- 1% foundation time (staff are allowed to work for a charity of their choice)
- Restart vacation (new staff are paid to take a holiday before they start)
- HackHouse (new staff spend a week at the beach completing challenges, getting to know the organisation and having fun)
- Democracy (drafts of the firm's financial year plan and strategy are published on the intranet for comments)
- Office perks (drinks fridge, boutique beer on tap, pick'n'mix lolly station, table tennis, pool table, video games and board games)

. Signs of poor motivation:

- poor systems

- excessive workload

- high levels of absenteeism

- quick turnover of staff

- poor behaviour

- under-performance

- lack of enthusiasm.

- "don't-care-less"attitude

- blame culture, ie "it is not my fault"

- culture of learned helplessness, ie always rely on superior for instructions

(sources: Robert Heller et al, 1998; Frederick Herzberg, 1998; Xerox Business Centre, 2004)

What Motivates People

"...motivations are both rational and irrational. The rational, or conscious, motivations have to do with our hopes of gaining money, status, power for entry into a meaningful enterprise......more influential much of the time are our irrational motivators - those that lie outside the realm of our awareness and beyond an ability to control them..."

Michael Maccoby, 2005

What motivates people for growth and productivity (REAL)? (Colin Deoki, 2015)
R = respect, recognition, reward, reinvent, rejuvenate, relationships, etc
E = empathy, encouragement, empowerment, engagement, entrepreneurial, etc
A = approval, acceptance, acknowledgement, etc
L = love, legacy, loyalty, listening, etc
NB These are more effective than fear which involves manipulation & intimidation

. Motivation v. movement

- movement in contextis a function of fear of punishment or failure to get intrinsic rewards

- motivation is based on a pyramid of needs with the ultimate rewards for motivation being personal growth and long-term development

Types of Motivation


"...a huge body of psychological research shows that rewards are more effective motivators than punishments, and there is substantial evidence that people and teams learn and perform much more effectively when the workplace isn't riddled with fear......although less effective than rewards, people will work to avoid punishments......people will go to great lengths to avoid public embarrassment..."

Robert Sutton, 2007

Thus people are driven by those 'sticks' of punishment and humiliation, and the 'carrots' of warmth and recognition.

Also, the 'good cop, bad cop' approach of alternating between nice (praising, etc) and nasty (criticizing, etc) has been shown to be an effective way to get what you want from people. Similarly complaining is an effective tool for motivation; apparently it helps create a sense of alarm and a feeling of urgency.

. Fear/coercion

Usually, fear is linked with crisis mentality. Generally, it is impossible to get people to put their hearts and souls into the workplace through fear/coercion.

"...there are only a narrow set of circumstances in which such an approach can work. If the threatening approach is able in a relatively short framework to produce benefits that are shared widely enough so that employees' behaviour changes..."

John Kotter as quoted by Loren Gray, 1997

If overdone (ie excessive fear), this approach can be intimidating and immobilising rather than energising ‐ it can freeze people.

"...organisations that operate on the myth that fear motivates performance also invite negative consequences..."

Annette Simmons, 2002

Organisations dominated by fear are controlled by rules, standards, procedures, processes, measurements and CYA (cover your arse) warnings

Fear leads to compliant behaviour and/or learned helplessness, which eventually lead to hatred, and fear restricts workers' creativity. On the other hand, if a threatening approach is able, in a very short time-frame, to produce benefits that are shared widely enough so that the employees' behaviour changes, it can be of limited use. It needs to be counterbalanced with positive incentives.

One of my clients explained to me how, by using fear, a project manager caused a massive "blow-out"in construction costs: any criticisms or negative messages were treated as a basis for a "career change". As a result, the staff only gave the good news to the project manager and consequently the performance of the project suffered drastically.

. Competitive spirit

Most people like to compete and win. Healthy competition can direct attention from internal disputes to external customers. In number-driven cultures, this is a common and effective form of motivation. Examples of this are provided by sporting competition.

. Desire for greatness

Many people like to achieve and to think of themselves as the best. This is shown by outstanding performances in the Olympic Games, such as Kieren Perkins and Grant Hackett's wins in the 1500m swim event in 1996 and 2004 respectively

. Inclination to do the right thing

Focussing on the good nature of people. The popularity of Australian volunteerism is a good example of this

. Personal gain

This is linked with personal development and involves the possibility of strengthening one's performance record to gain financial rewards - a natural incentive for most people, especially in aggressive, fast-growing companies in which big personal gains are available. At the same time, non-financial incentives are important, especially for long-term performance improvement and fulfilment.

. Desire to make a difference

This can be a combination of competitive spirit, doing the right thing and desire for greatness but it is usually more pragmatic ‐ it is people taking great pride and satisfaction in accomplishing a difficult task and overcoming the odds. The ABC TV series - Australian Story - regularly shows ordinary Australians doing extra-ordinary things.

(sources: Loren Gray, 1997; Robert Sutton, 2007)

Motivation Across Generations

Remember: no two people are motivated in exactly the same way, so be careful of stereotyping. On the other hand, some motivators tend to be generation-based.

Some generation-specific motivators:

. Silents (or veterans or oldies) ‐ born before World War 2

Choose formality over informality, eg communicate face-to-face and by live phone calls rather than voice mail, fax, or Email. Explain the logic of any action. Use traditional forms of recognition - plaques, certificates, photos with top executives.

. Baby-boomers ‐ born between 1945 and 1960

Lay out a clear series of steps toward a defined goal. State objectives and desires in people-centered terms. Make boomers work well as part of a team effort; pep talks can help. Choose forms of recognition that are widely noticed, such as an article in the company newsletter.

. Xers - born between 1960 and 1980

Tell them what needs to be done but not how to do it. Give them multiple tasks but let them set their own priorities. Avoid platitudes and buzzwords. Provide frequent and frank feedback, and ask for their reaction and opinions. Pep talks do not work. Allow time for fun. Recognize them with bonus days off

. Yers (or nexters) - born since 1980

Provide opportunities for continuous learning and building skills. Know their personal goals and tell them how the tasks they've been assigned fit into their goals. Emphasize the positive; look on the bright side. Be more of a coach and less of a boss. Communicate informally, eg through Email and brief hallway encounters

More comments on generational differences

. Need to be careful of one generation's pejorative judgment of another generation's characteristic thinking and behaviour. For example, sometimes the baby boomer generation regards generation Xers as egocentric slackers whose work can be supervised as easily as cats can be herded. If you are an Xer, you may perceive baby boomers as staid, demanding, and about as creative and fun loving as a stop sign. Furthermore, a member of the silent generation may cringe at the thought of retiring and leaving the organisation in the hands of other generations (baby boomers and Xers), while generation Y people are perceived by other generations to lack the spirit of self-sacrifice and dedication to a common cause.

. There is a need to understand the generational differences as more and more generations are mixing in the workplace. For example,

- workers are increasingly staying in, or re-entering the workforce, after they reach traditional retirement age

- younger workers are more quickly assuming important roles in their organisations

- many organisations' hierarchies have given way to team-based structures that often include people of all ages

- seniority counts far less today

. It needs to be remembered that each generation acquired its own unique motivators, attributes and worldviews as it lived through a shared set of watershed events and conditions, such as depressions, wars, technological changes, booms and busts, etc.

. Common experiences do not necessarily mean common attitude. On the other hand, more often than not we want the younger generations to be what we were at their age. It is important to identify, recognize and appreciate the generational differences. These generational differences are additional to racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and religious differences that also need to be considered

(source: David Stauffer, 2003)


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