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Do "motivational techniques" really help?
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Do "motivational techniques" really help?

In last week's PVT, I mentioned that:

  • A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that a bad boss or supervisor is the Number 1 Reason people quit their jobs.
  • Poorly managed work groups are on average 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable than well-managed groups.
  • Common bad boss behaviors include bullying, incompetence, harassment and discrimination, inadequate compensation, not respecting leg' al rights, privacy invasion.
  • A recent Monster Meter poll asked Monster members which TV show most closely resembled their work environments. 39% Survivor, 37% The Office, 13% CSI, 11% The Apprentice. See article at

I also talked about our Pampered Workforce.

Employees demand more money ... "management" complies ... yet, employees don't produce more. Why? Because employees feel entitled to the increase at CURRENT PRODUCTIVITY.

Thus, employees produce the same or fewer results at higher labor costs. Bottom line: Increased wages and fancy benefits programs do not increase productivity!

Employees demand more money and better benefits because of conscious-level needs that lie deep in the unconscious mind, which translates unconscious needs into consciously expressed needs. To understand the role of baseline motivation in workforce activities, we must distinguish between MOTIVATION and MORALE.

However, you can't establish a motivated group by "working on" morale. Further, you might find some unmotivated members within a "high motivation/high morale" group...

Let's continue ...

Why is "managing emotions" the most difficult part of management technology?

Until recently, "motivating people" was considered the only technology for managing emotions. It was as if you could use certain "motivational" techniques and get the desired results the same way you can "clean-up" something like Inventory Control or Order Entry or whatever.

But, little or no attention was paid to the subordinate’s unconscious mind. Classical "motivational" techniques, developed and quantified over the years, only built a foundation for enhancing positive self-perception.

But, let's start with what is likely to be in your employee's mind concerning business...

Do your employees have these typical views of "Business?"

Most people in the US have been "brainwashed" by media and public (government) schools that are negative toward business and business owners. ("Business just uses people, spoils natural resources, rewards only the rich ...yada...yada... yada... ")

This brainwashing obscures the reasons why business is important. To most people, business simply isn't important and never will be. So, we find scant employee loyalty and abundant hostility.

Recognize that you can't conquer a lifetime's worth of anti-business bias. Instead, take advantage of it by portraying business as something everyone uses for personal gain, because everyone does that anyway.

Therefore, when dealing with your manager or subordinates, emphasize THEIR self-interest. Further, there is much you can do to handle emotional relationships with your subordinates.

What is the difference between MOTIVATION and MORALE -- and what difference does it make?

With respect to motivation and morale, you have four possibilities:

1. HIGH Motivation/HIGH Morale

Most desirable. High enthusiasm, high achievement.

2. HIGH Motivation/LOW Morale

Here you'll find highly motivated people who don't feel part of a dynamic group. Maybe they feel some group members are inferior. Maybe they feel that the group is not cohesive. Maybe the group is scattered, like many sales forces, making opportunities for developing high morale impractical.

3. LOW Motivation/HIGH Morale

This is a "country club" environment where people enjoy the work climate but seldom achieve goals. The manager might be low-key, permissive, or popular, but little more. This work climate will eventually decline because it provides no real sense of achievement. Subordinates need much more than "county club treatment" to be enthusiastic achievers.

4. LOW Motivation/LOW Morale

A disaster!

Next week, I will discuss "hygiene factors" and "motivators" and how proper usage can help you and your teams be more productive. Here's a prelude:

When you apply a MOTIVATOR, it tends to "motivate people." If you withdraw or never apply the motivator, people tend to become demotivated.

When you apply HYGIENE FACTORS, even robustly, you motivate no one. But, if you don't apply them, their absence will demotivate.

So, you must apply hygiene factors - not to motivate, but to avoid demotivation. To be continued in next week's PVT ... Meanwhile ...

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Until next week,

Mike Hayden, Principal/Consultant
Your partner in streamlining business.

PS. Profitable Venture Tactics is FREE, click here to sign up.

PPS. To sign up for the FREE PVT Forum, click here.

Senior Management Services
9457 S. University Blvd. Suite 235 Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

(303) 585-1945
Fax: (952) 674-1767
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(c) 2006 Mike Hayden, All rights reserved.

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