What motivates us?

Here is a link to a animated video of Dan Pink, author of the famous book on motivation, « drive ». If there is just one thing to remind from this speech it is that you should not consider your employees as horse that need to be motivated but just let them do their job. If you think they don’t do it right, teach them, train them, give them the freedom to improve themself, to master their work. It will cost you less money at the end, be more efficient and will provide more satisfaction to your employees. In return, they will be more engaged, be more likely to stay within your company and be more productive.

Think in terms of implicit communication: If you have to pay them more to do their job, the implicit reason is that their job is so boring that it requires higher reward. If you don’t pay much, it must be fun. Even if the job is not boring in itself, you imply somehow that it is.

So, don’t try to control their work, just let them improve themself because they want to. Foster their desire to master, nurture it. Provide the right environment. Be a cultivator. You don’t require to your plant to grow faster or better, you just provide the right food, water and good spot with light. You control the conditions that allows your plants to grow. Why do we try to do otherwise with people? They are not plants? Of course, but they just want to grow.