What turns you on? What excites you? What are your core motivations? What about your peers, family or customers? What motivates them?
Understanding our motivation allows us to be more successful in life and work. Consider Janet’s challenge. After 2 years of success in her role in a financial services role, she was bored ready to move on. She was very negative about her current role.
Janet shared stories about the things she had been able to do in the role that were rewarding. In the first year, she had projects that required her to go in and fix serious problems that were losing money. She would go into a team, identify the issues, present a program for change and implement it. In every case her approach proved to provide miracle transformations. However, as she fixed each issue, she was then given the project to ‘manage’ over time. At the end of two years, she had turned around 5 significant projects that she now was expected to manage. For Janet, managing a project that ran smoothly was not rewarding, and she began to resent the work.
In reviewing her stories, she learned that what she valued is:
- Service and dedication
- Financial security
We then implemented a strategy. Janet renegotiated her role with her director and vice president. She presented her accomplishments to the leadership and identified new roles she could do. Janet became the financial services division ‘firefighter’ in an official capacity. This shift enabled her to re-gain her motivation for her work without having to leave the organization.
The key to understanding motivation is to understand values. Values play a key role in establishing and maintaining our sense of identity, our needs and how we meet them. In everyday life, we do not spend much time thinking about, or being aware of our values. We usually take them for granted until they are violated.
As with Janet’s story, when we are experiencing low motivation at work, we need to stop and take stock. It is important to reflect upon our values and how much we are able to fulfill them in our work. Negotiating a realignment of our work and our values may be what it takes to help regain our motivation!
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Photo courtesy of Tim & Annette