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spike bullet September, 1996 - Motivating Employees

Motivating People to Change - Using Incentive Programs
Understanding Personality Needs - Allowing Personality to Work
Understanding Perspective - Another Personality Factor to Consider
Resources on the Internet

spike bullet Motivating People to Change - Through Incentive Programs

Developing highly effective incentive programs requires understanding the nature of individual motivation. According to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephen Covey), people tend to be motivated by the following factors: by spouse/partner, family, money, work, possessions, pleasure, friends, enemies, church, self, or principles.

Examples of Motivators:

  1. Employees motivated by "spouse/partner" value extra money they can spend on their partner, time off to spend with them, or incentives such as dinners or vacations, 4-day weeks.
  2. Employees motivated by "family" value family events, company picnics or time with their family.
  3. Employees motivated by "money" value cash incentives, commissions, bonuses or pay raises.
  4. Employees motivated by "work" value doing a good job and receiving recognition.
  5. Employees motivated by "possessions" value status symbols (corner office, fancy desk, public awards, special parking place).
  6. Employees motivated by "pleasure" value "fun" incentives (tickets to Disneyland or local entertainment).
  7. Employees motivated by "friends" value social incentives (parties, theater tickets, picnics, pot-luck events, other get-togethers).
  8. Employees motivated by "enemies" value the challenges associated with competition and winning (Blue team vs. Gold team, our company against their company, becoming #1).
  9. Employees motivated by "church" value money if it supports their church and/or family activities. They will be motivated by incentives that fit with their beliefs or their faith.
  10. Employees motivated by "self" value incentives that give them freedom of expression and self-development (allowing them to be part of the team creating a change program, finding ways to improve processes, allowing them to express their own creativity).
  11. Employees motivated by "principles" value opportunities to use their talents and abilities in a meaningful way (seeing the results of their work improve working conditions for them and others, working with company-sponsored community programs, creating new jobs in a plant or office's new location)

In order to encourage maximum employee participation, companies should consider developing incentives that satisfy several motivations, rather than a single incentive program directed to only one area.

The opposite of positive incentive is negative incentive. For example, if a team composed of many people with a need for self-development/freedom is headed by a manager with a deep need to control employees, the team will not function at its optimum capacity.

When management takes the time to understand the motivating factor of employees and bases rewards on appropriate factors, everyone works more productively.

spike bullet Motivating People to Change - Allowing Personality to Work

Our Personality Game describes 7 basic personality types and their purpose in life:

  1. Artisan (Creative) Artisans create moods, environments, things, buildings, paintings, ideas.
  2. Sage (Communicator) Sages love knowledge, which they share with large groups of people. Sages love to appear on stage and receive applause. Sages are light-hearted and fun to be around, sharing their love of life with as many people as possible.
  3. Server (Caretaker) Servers work behind the scenes, taking care of everyone and everything. Servers make excellent facilitators. Servers tend to shy away from publicity, and may try to avoid attention.
  4. Priest / Priestess (Inspirational Leader) Found in all walks of life, Priests are inspiring, uplifting and motivating personalities. Priests challenge people to be the best they can be, and can often see beyond the obvious. Priests tend to be concerned about the larger aspects of society, rather than focusing on details.
  5. Warrior (Active Defender and Protector) Warriors are solid folks (both men and women) that defend and protect society. Warriors are productive, organized people who like to get things done. Warriors like to make laws and enforce laws; they love to plan and enforce plans. Warriors are very loyal to people and to ideals, sometimes following their "leader" without question. Warriors like to work with physical things like machines and technology, rather than people issues.
  6. King / Queen (Born Leaders) Kings are born leaders, usually handling very large-scale efforts throughout their life with power and authority.
  7. Scholar (Information Keepers) Scholars are the information gatherers of society. Scholars truly thirst for knowledge and love to try everything just to see what it's like, but tend to be low-key people.

Recognizing the basic personality attributes of the 7 types and allowing them to work in areas where they can be most effective helps create motivated and self-empowered employees.

Examples: allow natural leaders to lead, allow natural helpers to help, allow natural teachers and preachers to communicate and inspire, allow creative people to create.  Provide guidance to those that need direction.

spike bullet Perspective - Another Personality Factor to Consider.

"Reality is a state of mind. People don't see life as it is . . . they see life as they are."

Different people have different perspectives about their place in an organization and their overall place in life. Using the following groupings, managers can adjust their expectations based on understanding the employee's perspective.

  • Rule-Based / Structured Perspective. People at this perspective view life through the limits of rules - needing someone to tell them what to do, similar to the viewpoint of children.  Life is very simplistic and follows a rather rigid pattern.  At this perspective, following the rules is most important, to the point of aggressively defending what is "right."  People at the Learning Level want everyone to follow the same rules, and do not tolerate ambiguity or "free spirits" very well.  The motto of this level is "do it my way or else!."
  • Managing employees with this Perspective: provide them with clear direction, assistance in working with others and adapting to changing situations.  They are most resistant to new situations, sudden changes and unpredictability. Managers who recognize their needs and work with them will find they can adapt, albeit more slowly, and become productive members of the new endeavors.  They do need extra support and guidance to get there.
  • Striving /Competing Perspective. People at this perspective view life as competition with others - as if striking out to conquer the world.  At this perspective, the focus is on making money, becoming a success, attending the "popular" schools, having the most beautiful body, car or career typical "Yuppie" culture focus and being "politically correct."  The motto of this Level is "I want to get mine first."
  • In a "team-based" working corporate culture, people at this perspective may need guidance to learn to work better with other.  They may need to find a way to "compete" in healthy ways (rather than destroying their enemy).  Employees at this perspective have tremendous energy and can accomplish a great deal in the right situations.  Their inherent drive can be very effective when properly channeled.
  • Relating / Partnership Perspective. People at this perspective view life as cooperative - with a focus on partnership, teamwork and relationship with others.  This level focuses on cooperation and trust becoming more important than the individual's needs.  The shift in the entire country's perspective to this level accounts for the focus on more partnership in business and international affairs.  Notice that the Presidential team falls in this level, helping make the shift to more concern about people working together.  The motto of this Level is "let's work it out together."
  • Managing employees at this perspective requires a recognition of their human needs and the needs of their team members.  They cam become so focused on the human needs that they forget the organization's needs.  Employees at this perspective will tend to talk and communicate more than the prior levels, again this is part of their focus on human aspects.  They have a high sense of ethics and expect more trust and integrity in their dealings with management and company leadership.  They may be vocal champions of employee rights and fair treatment of all employees.
  • Teaching / Philosophical Perspective. People at this perspective view life with more wisdom, tolerance and acceptance - seeking to teach others and seeing life as a broader vision of possibility without the intense drive for "success."  The motto of this Level is "live and let live."
  • Employees at this perspective place a higher value on larger issues, such as the overall corporate strategy and vision.  Allowing them opportunities to teach and coach other employees is a very effective use of their perspective.  They often will be referred to as "the corporate guru" or "wise one" by their co-workers.  Because they see the larger picture, they may be misunderstand by people who only see what is right in front of them.  They also can accomplish a great deal in a short amount of time, again because they understand the grand scheme of things.  People at this perspective also require a great deal of freedom to manage their work and environment.  They will often resist people who try to control them.  They have little tolerance for overly bureaucratic rules.

World Wide Web graphic Internet Resources - Motivating Employees

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Page updated: February 27, 2010      

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