Motivation : it Matters


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A presentation I delivered at IGN Exec meeting in January 2012.

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Motivation : it Matters

  1. 1. Background  I have worked with 8-10 different companies with different cultures, different products and verticals over the last decade and a half  As a result, I have worked with team members showing a combination of motivation, passion, smartness, brightness, ambition, potential, leadership, following, communication, and the lack thereof  Allegory training and their case study of Blockbuster  Quoting David Ting – Everyone is a leader  In the new age of Internet and Media, its all the more critical that we all start to see ourselves and everyone around us as motivated, passionate leaders  There is no next level when there is no motivation to get there
  2. 2. Why am I talking about motivation?  No longer something that matters during review cycles  Motivated co-workers create a great work environment  Motivation nurtures leadership  In a small org, successes and failures get amplified. Motivation largely increases the changes for success.  Motivation encourages communication, which in turn creates a thriving, innovation and growth-driven culture.
  3. 3. As mortal humans, we are all unique.. …with unique motivators  Paycheck, or a monetary reward  Getting someone off our back  Personal satisfaction  Sense of achievement and fulfillment  Bragging rights or recognition  Solving problems, or challenges  Role model  Chasing a dream, passion  Curiosity  Happiness  Competitive Spirit  Perfectionism
  4. 4. What motivates them?  Steve Jobs  I want to put a ding in the universe  Bill Gates  I want to put PCs in every household, beyond universities and schools  Mark Zuckerberg  I want to shape the way people interact and connect with others online  Google (the founders but the company too)  WE want to make the web faster  Everest, K2 Climbers  The drive to be on the top of the world; which costs them their life savings, knowing very well that 2 out of 5 die trying.
  5. 5. Motivators: Extrinsic  Simple, we’ve been used to this one ever since we were kids, and we use it with our kids.        Reward good behavior with tangible goods Punish bad behavior by taking them away So the motivation factor is to stay out of trouble, and do a good job expecting more money, bigger house, fatter bonus, good grades. You do not need an MBA to extrinsically motivate people. Most extrinsically motivated people are followers, rarely leaders. Extrinsic motivation plateaus, and needs to be re-enforced time and again. Extrinsic motivation works best for manual, mechanical work. Not where cognitive or out-of-the-box intelligence, and creativity is needed, i.e. knowledge work.
  6. 6. Motivators: Intrinsic  Almost opposite of Extrinsic motivation  Comes from within (duh!)  Very circumstantial, and cannot be directly enforced but coached  Most of what promotes intrinsic motivation is abstract, and cannot be pegged to a dollar value.     I want to write perfect code I want to learn a new language I want to solve problem X to make Y’s life easier I want to be looked upon as the brightest bulb in the box  Intrinsic motivation is almost always a necessary trait in a leader.
  7. 7. Purpose-driven Motivation  The motivator is “purpose”  Clarity and communication on:    What is one’s purpose in the organization What is the organization’s purpose in the company What is the company’s purpose in the world  Being a part of the greater picture  Having independence, or “autonomy” (like hack events)  Encourages ownership and value  Encourages responsibility and accountability
  8. 8. Autonomy and Mastery  Go hand in hand with the purpose  The focus is on achieving the purpose through developing mastery autonomously – i.e., you are empowered to make decisions and have enough autonomy to do so.  You build significant skills in that area  The mastery and autonomy act as a means to the purpose.
  9. 9. Org Culture and Motivation  Varying degree of these traits in an org impact the motivation in the individual at different levels          Politics Ease (or difficulty) of getting things done. Recognition and visibility Co-workers and their motivation Nature and kind of work (tedious vs. challenging) Opportunities for growth, and their communication Individual Engagement and autonomy Compensation (with fair contribution parity) Alignment and focus towards a common goal
  10. 10. Imagine…  Being taught by unmotivated teachers  Kids or Elderly being cared by unmotivated caregivers  Having a terminal illness being treated by unmotivated doctors  City being patrolled by unmotivated cops
  11. 11. Then imagine..  Browsing around an online shopping site, whose U|X sucks as it was developed by unmotivated engineers  Be in a room full of folks where a few motivated folks are talking about their work and/or life with a big grin on their face  Google or Facebook going down in non-business hours (hey, they are free!)
  12. 12. It cant be that bad!  Unmotivated folks pose an immediate risk to an org or a project.  Conflicts with the motivated folks due to impedance mismatch  Lower the bar and quality of the overall result  Lack of leadership  Its infectious – the motivated folks run a risk of giving up after being burnt out  The org runs the risk of being at a “status-quo” with no innovation ahead  Leadership-by-example fails to exist
  13. 13. What makes knowledge motivators different  Like it or not, web never sleeps  Tech motivators usually are not the same as, say, motivators for a Walmart Shift Manager, or an in-house Accounting Software Programmer  Granted that we are not saving lives, but are committed to provide a good, efficient, “purposeful” service, 24x7  Technology competition is much, much closer than the one for the Target, PG&E and Goldman Sachs of the World  The rate of innovation and execution is too high for unmotivated technologists to keep up
  14. 14. How to improve motivation  Find out what factors motivate you under what circumstances      Extrinsic Intrinsic Purpose Talk to your manager, or peers on this topic. Communication is the only thing that can change or address motivation. NOTHING ELSE CAN. Make this a part of 1:1 meetings  Think of being motivated as a non-negotiable attribute. Do justice to your work, your coworkers, and your users.  A team is only as strong as the weakest link, and often the weakest link is unmotivated, not unskilled.  Realistic, performance driven rewards, like the Next-level pay. Similarly, myVoice, which is a transparent medium for continuous feedback.
  15. 15. Action items  Self introspection  Keep motivation on the back of your mind always  Be a leader – and lead by Example  Leadership does not come from a title, it comes from demonstrating the trait  Read “Drive” by Dan Pink, or watch the youtube video for his TED talk  Communicate  Communicate more