You can’t fix anyone
“Dennis, can you come for a day and just fix our people?” This is the tragic question I get asked frequently. Truthfully I can’t fix anyone and neither can you. In fact, I barely can get our dog, Allie, to go to the bathroom outdoors. If I can’t control my dog, why would I try to control another person? Trying to control others is one of the core barriers in building a high-trust, high-performance culture. Unfortunately it’s a tragic mistake many leaders make.
You need to motivate not fix
The underlying issue is motivation. As leaders we want a high-performance team so we spend our time trying to motivate them either by a reward or a reprimand. It’s the classic carrot and stick model of leadership that doesn’t work in today’s business environment. When we use this method we’re treating our team like children. We tell our kids, “If you’re good in the store, I’ll buy you a candy bar.” We tell our sales team, “If you hit this goal, I’ll buy you something.” Not much difference.
Different people are motivated different ways
To create a high-trust, high-performance team we need to motivate people how they want to be motivated, not how we like to be motivated. One mistake I see is that when a leader is motivated by money, they create financial incentives as motivation. Then they wonder why some people are not excited about this program. Different people are encouraged different ways. People do things for their own reasons, not ours.
How to discover someone’s motivation
Motivation is birthed out of motive. A person’s motive is their reason for why they do what they do. To create a high-trust, high-performance team, one of your main roles as a coach is to discover your team’s personal reasons for why they do what they do. Motivation is personal, not a company program. To discover their motivation continue to ask, “Why?” When you discover a person’s why, you’ve tapped into their essence. You’ve uncovered the secret to motivating them.
What can you do today, to discover someone’s motivation?