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Apr 7th, 2016 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

You Can’t Motivate

Go to any bookstore (yeah, I know — they don’t exist anymore…), browse the management section and you’ll find tons and tons of books talking about how to best motivate your team.

Peter Drucker once said: “We know nothing about motivation. All we can, is write books about it.”

In all the time I spent building and leading teams, the one thing I learned is: You can’t really motivate anyone to do anything (at least not in the long run).

Humans are complex creatures and pretty much any trick in the book to “motivate” is easily spotted and falls flat.

What I believe you have to do instead, is to first hire the right people. Hire people who have very high levels of intrinsic motivation. People who burn to work for your organization. People who would work for you even if you wouldn’t pay them.

Next paint a clear picture of the future, establish the social norms and build your culture. Get everyone on the same page, make sure everyone understands what it is you want to achieve and how you want to get there.

And then get out of their way. Let them do what they need to do. And make sure you remove anything in their way, which could demotivate them.

You can’t motivate someone to do something. But you surely can demotivate folks. Hire the right people, set them up for success and remove any obstacles.

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