Successful Meetings - March 2008 - (Page 22)

Management Matters > By Dr. Tom McDonald Got Motivation? Memo to business leaders: You can’t motivate anyone to do anything, ever, so don’t even try. What you can—and must—do is to make your business as meaningful as possible both inside and out. Then step aside and watch your people work like never before. This is more than a challenge to the motivation industry to go beyond its current agenda of performance improvement; it’s a suggestion that we redefine the nature of business itself and zero in on what really gets people to engage themselves fully at work. Here’s what I mean. For far too long, the de facto purpose of business has been to make a profit for owners, be they an individual or a group of shareholders. The people who did the work were counted not as assets but as overhead. They had to be “managed and motivated,” otherwise they would slack off whenever they could. If they performed well, management might give them a bonus, especially if they were in sales, to reward that good behavior. Some call this the “widget” system of business—produce your quota of widgets, and you can keep your job; produce or sell more widgets than anticipated, and you’ll get a goodie sometime in the future. The great behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner and his conditioned pigeons would be happy indeed! All this has changed with the information revolution. Now it is no longer the presence and production of people that business needs, but the engagement of their minds and hearts. If they are a part of a job that makes sense and contributes something of value, they will enthusiastically give their all to get results. Be advised, though, that they will also want (and deserve) to be seen as an integral part of the business, have a say in just about everything, and share in all the profits. Business, to this new breed of engaged worker, is a “value” proposition, where everyone has an opportunity for self-fulfillment as he or she creates value for society. As Charles Handy puts it, “The purpose of business . . . is not to make a profit, full stop. It is to make a profit so that the business can do something more or better. That ‘something’ becomes the real justification for the business.” And, I might add, the main motivation why people come to work and give their all. According to the Corporate Leadership Council, success in business is all about this kind of engagement. Effective leaders give their people lots of opportunities to achieve things of importance, let each of their workers know how important they are, and help them believe in the worth and credibility of their organization. When workers commit to something or someone in their business, surprise of surprises, this influences what they do. The numbers? Increased commitment can lead to a 57-percent improvement in discretionary effort, i.e., their willingness to go beyond what their duty is. Greater effort produces on average a 20-percent individual performance improvement! Got motivation? So what does this mean practically? It means that business leaders must transcend our external performance model and devise a more internal human model of work behavior. Now their number-one goal is to set a meaningful mission for the business by answering questions like what value does this business contribute to the community? Remember that these are not profit targets, but value targets. Goal number two is to then create a fulfilling business environment where workers can participate, accomplish the business mission, and share in the profits. A quick look at Fortune’s annual “100 Best Places to Work in America” will show you how the wisest among us are already going about this transformation. The conclusion? All of us want to have a meaningful life, especially at work. This includes being a part of a communitywith-a-purpose that makes something valuable for society. If leaders would spend more time creating this value environment inside and outside their companies, they would see just how motivated people can be when given half a chance to be a part of something great. Dr. Tom McDonald, a Ph.D. in psychology, speaks on “People Skills” needed for “Business Results.” Reach him in San Diego at (858) 523-0883,, or visit MARCH 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS ILLUSTRATION: MIKE MORAN 22

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - March 2008

Successful Meetings - March 2008
Editor's Note
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Management Matters
Mouth for Sale
Meetings Law
Tools of the Trade
On Site
Quick Tip
Critical Conditions
A Family Affair
Conference Centers We Love
CSM of the Year
Places & Spaces
Luxury Las Vegas
New York CIty
New Orleans
Oahu & Big Island
Florida Keys

Successful Meetings - March 2008