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What is motivation all about?

I’m thinking about motivation. It’s an interesting day at school for me today. Right now, I am sitting in the luxury of St Georges Park near Burton, home of the FA and England football training ground. As I arrived, they were preparing for a game – England v Ireland (U15). Music is playing, officials are lurking, and proud parents are gathering to watch. Inside the screens are playing, a reel that constantly shows fit athletes getting fitter … running, in the gym, in the pool you name it.

Now all of this looks like hard work to me, yet we all know that the success of these people is driven by their motivation to succeed. They all want something – fame, fortune or for many just the intrinsic drive of achieving something that they set out for themselves. For the Under 15s, playing on the pitches here enjoying the privileges that this place offers will be a dream being achieved and will set many more in motion.

I wonder what motivates you; do you know? It is so different for everyone particularly once base lines have been met like having somewhere safe to sleep, having a job and having friends and family. I have been working with a team of sales guys – they are doing pretty well; they all handle accounts that bring in millions of pounds a year but one of them is not quite where he needs to be. I asked him what would motivate him to drive hard for the last 3 months of the year. He said it wasn’t money – he earns enough, has no mortgage and no debt. It wasn’t more time off – he likes to play golf (a lot), and is able to do that because his family commitment is low and he gets Friday afternoons off for good behaviour!

It wasn’t even thanks from his boss. We spent quite a long time trying to understand his drivers and it boiled down to intrinsic motivation; he felt proud if his customers were happy with the service he had given. Now this sounds simplistic but in fact can be challenging because the supply chain in most organisations can impact on how the customer feels about the service that they receive. In his case, unfulfilled orders to meet the 24 hour turnaround was causing him to be very unhappy and impacting on the quality of service that he was striving to deliver.

Motivation may not be an easy fix but it is an essential fix. I wonder – what influences you?

Penny Whitelock Finst LM

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