Boot-strap Motivation

Most companies have it all wrong. They don’t have to motivate their employees. They have to stop demotivating them.” (Sirota,  Mischkind, and Meltzer)

A study of Fortune 1000 companies found that 85% of employees are excited about starting a new job. Within 6 months however the realities of the job set in and morale declines steadily for years thereafter. The report places the blame squarely at the feet of management. After all who else in an organization declares the direction, procedures and vision for the organization and mandates following. Here is the essence of the problem – visionless management.

Changing the Tide
Can anything be done to stem the tide of discontent? Does the underling have any role in declaring their future? How can management become partners in success instead of redirecting paths and momentum?

The first solution is easy – change jobs. If 85% are excited with change – then simply change. Leave the politics, back-biting, the-way-it-is attitude behind. Your former organization will wallow in discontent until it either fails or is led out of the doldrums by vision, excitement and support.

Jumping jobs is not a good long term path and possibly even in today’s economy will prevent productive movement. SO if you decide to stay in place what can be done. Can you seize your destiny and benefit your organization as you improve everyone’s situation? The answer is a resounding yes – but it takes work.

Steps You Can Take

I considered this for a while and came up with a list of things you can do even if management will not make improvements. This is a considered list, but not exhaustive. If you have recommendations or suggestion please comment below.

Bootstrap Motivation

1) Understand Your Role
a) What are expectations of you
b) who do you report to
c) what is the vision (even yours) for your position

2) Build Relationships
a) who else do you know that does what you do
b) who is your model
c) what can you do to help someone else

3) Self-Improve
a) what opportunities are there for professional learning
b) develop a professional project as part of your job
– implement your project
– test your project
– document your hypothesis, experiment and results
c) dress your part

It is unlikely many people go to a job they enjoy every single day. Office dynamics, deadlines, quotas and bosses who don’t share your view of the world all contribute to the demotivation cited in the study. None of these however are insurmountable you can decide to improve and in the process enjoy the work you do every day.

Why Your Employees are Losing Motivation
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