I often hear small business owners complain about how difficult it can be to get their people to do the things they want them to do. Attempting to motivate somebody to do something can be very challenging, just ask any parent.
Some people believe one way to motivate others is by giving them a reward, or something of value; such as an increase in salary, a company car, or a new corner office. Although these are nice perks to have, the newness of them will eventually wear off, along with their motivation.
Long term sustained motivation is not influenced by external sources, but instead comes from an inner self-directed drive. A type of internal flame fueled with passion and enthusiasm. Imagine if you could help your people ignite their own internal flames.
Purpose – A Powerful Motivator
There’s some research that shows one powerful way to motivate others is through purpose. Explaining to people not only what to do and how to do it, but also why they should do it. It seems that when people understand and are clear about why they are doing something, they tend to do it whole a lot better.
However, telling people the why behind what they are doing does not seem to be commonplace in today’s work environment. In fact, it is usually just the opposite. I can remember being told to stop asking questions and “Just do it” because it wasn’t important and they didn’t have any time to explain the why to me.
Connecting to the Bigger Picture
Telling your people why something is being done and why it matters helps connect them to the bigger picture, your vision. Telling them why helps them understand how they are helping to make a difference and a contribution to the whole. Telling them why allows them to feel included.
Talk More about the Why
Since people naturally want to know why something matters, everyone should be more willing, and intentional, about telling them why. I can’t see any downside potential if we did.
So the next time you find yourself in a position to ask somebody to do something, take a little more time telling them why they are doing it. Experiment and watch what happens. See if you notice any difference in their performance or productivity.
If you are willing to be more intentional about creating an environment where people can motivate themselves because they understand how they are contributing to the whole, you are supporting them to be their best. Imagine how nice that would be.