One of the most common questions I get asked when talking to people in leadership is how to motivate people.
This is a simple question with a complex answer that I have talked about more extensively in other posts.
In this particular segment, I want to share one overly simplistic answer I give when asked this question; we need results.
And, by we, I mean myself as well.
Early on in my career, I had a substantial amount of what I call transactional work.
My approach was to try and get as much done as possible and maybe improve things a bit here and there along the way.
The nature of the work was such that no matter how much I completed one day, the next day, more of the same came.
In some ways, there was never an end, never an end result to be able to point at.
After many years, this type of transactional work can be tiring, stagnant and even demotivating.
As I progressed along my career, I generally had less and less transactional work and I could work on projects with real, tangible, measurable results.
This on the flip side was rewarding, fun, and highly motivating.
Given this, I came to realize the value and impact results at work can have on an individual.
I realize to some this might represent reinforcing a performative culture that comes with unrealistic expectations, stress, and pressure.
Yet, what I am proposing is setting your own target for your own professional development.
For example, by consistently achieving results, you would have a benchmark that demonstrates your competence.
If you have the skills and abilities, showcase them through your results and this may garner opportunities for advancement.
Naturally, someone who achieves tangible and measurable results would be an asset to any organization and more likely to have a higher level of job security.
One big element that emerged for me when I started in a new role in a new organization, by having results early on, my reputation was enhanced.
My reputation garnered me opportunities to work on special projects and this in turn helped me learn and grow.
I was able to improve upon the toolkit I had and add substantially to it by doing things I had never done before.
As I added to my toolkit, I knew I would be able to take it with me wherever I went.
This was invaluable to me.
This naturally led to a higher level of job satisfaction and gave me a sense of purpose and heightened level of self motivation.
Additionally, my results were not only my gains, but they also positively impacted others as well.
This led to better working relationships and helped foster a positive work environment and even contributed to a culture of continuous improvement.
I also came to realize the value of cross-functional teamwork and learned to navigate through unique challenges to develop my situational leadership abilities.
My results also became my performance goals and objectives and as they were achieved, my evaluations reflected high scoring which linked to pay increases.
These were my successes to be added to my CV, and success always feels good.
This is in sharp contrasts to doing just transactional work that never seems to have an end, no final results and no measure of success.
This is the reason I always suggest to people no matter what kind of work someone is doing, try and find ways for them to have results.
One way to achieve this is by encouraging them to work on projects that have a clear start and end with clearly defined results.
Lastly, achieving results was fun for me and I always strive to have more fun at work, and I think many would benefit from this as well.
If you ask me again what we might need to help motivate people, once again, I will say, we need results.