A Key To Over Performance – If Done Right

Motivation – Results because they want to achieve them

Motivation can be tricky and daunting. I often see organizations very focused on extrinsic motivation, and allowing intrinsic motivation takes a backseat. Before we dive in to what I mean, here is a quick illustration to differentiate the two types of motivation:

motivation types

Intrinsic motivation is critical to being a transformational leader, and the differentiator in motivating employees to overachievement. The art of motivation can be figured out, as long as you understand one thing: there is not and will never be a single formula to motivate employees on a mass scale. Motivation is like a tailor-made suit, designed with only the individual in mind, but first you have to know their measurements to get the perfect fit. To think otherwise is simply a missed opportunity to take your staff from good to great and achieving to over achieving. Dwight D. Eisenhower said it best:

quote-Dwight-D.-Eisenhower-leadership-is-the-art-of-getting-someone-490Sales is a great example of where intrinsic motivation can often be forgotten. “Sales people are motivated by money! Show them the money, and they’ll do it.” Sure, money does in fact incentivize sales folks – but it’s not an rule of thumb. Let me just debunk that myth with a quick story.

I was leading the creation of sales campaign – with the goal to build up a solid pipeline during what was historically a very slow quarter for our business. I pulled together an amazing team to collaborate and ensure this was the most successful campaign yet. We evaluated all of the lessons learned from past campaigns that didn’t yield the results we were hoping for and addressed them. As the team and started to build a solid plan, with enough time to prepare the execution {for once}, we knew if it just had an achievable target for the reps backed by a killer incentive we would crush it. We solicited a ton of feedback from the reps, created a simple go to market message for a focused audience, and even sweetened the deal by incorporating a lucrative incentive for our clients. The sales incentive was standard quota attainment paid via commission, a heafy heafy SPIF on top of that, and of course a healthy competition for bragging rights. {For the non-sales folks, a SPIF is basically a sales bonus usually a fixed amount based on a predefined goal – it’s not intended to replace commission}. Listen folks, when I say heafty, I mean it. Between commission potential and the bonus the rep had the opportunity to take home an extra $10K +  for closing a single deal with 90 days to do it, minimum. When you think about an average deal size and sales cycle within this prospect list, it was MORE than achievable. Wow, we were finally going to crush this one. Nope.

Making the assumption that all the reps were incentivized enough at that moment in time by cash and by competition, landed me in one of the easiest traps to fall into; assuming one motivation formula fits all. What I could have done was specifically tailored motivational ‘options’ that encompassed both extrinsic and intrinsic drivers that the reps could choose from so that they were passionate about the result. For example, some of them were looking to transition to management or expand their experience outside of sales, while others were looking for flexibility, and some to get in the field and travel to shows more, others just simply wanting a deeper connection of their impact to the business. A lot of these folks were on their way or already on the ultimate sales leaderboard of presidents club and making money, they weren’t inspired by just my little white board local office competition or the bonus. The worst part is, I KNEW ALL OF THIS…but I just missed the opportunity. It wasn’t intentional, it was simply an after thought. Wouldn’t it have been cool if I had offered a variety of things like working from home, a management development plan, a lead role in planning a sales event or cross functional project, or a front seat to the biggest trade show or conference of the year? Would it have been more work for me to create? Sure, but I can guarantee you, that kind of approach alone to customize drivers would not have gone unnoticed, and naturally would have also created even more enjoyment to preserver in support of my elaborate effort.

Don’t just ask, dig deep and pay attention!

To understand what motivates people, you must first understand where they are in their career, life or circumstance, what their goals are, and what is driving them and sometimes that means a balance of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. THESE THINGS CAN AND DO CHANGE. For example, if someone has mentioned their spouse just lost their job, their motivators at that time could be money and stability. If someone has expressed their hunger for transitioning their career or field of expertise, or starting their own thing, motivators could be knowledge and purpose. There are some opinions out there that suggesting finding this out is simple, and that you just ask them. I don’t agree with that, it certainly doesn’t hurt however, often times people do not realize what their true motivators are until they are presented with something that brings them true excitement or inspiration. I cannot count the number of times someone has told me one thing motivates them the most, only to see that not be the case.  Someone once told me their #1 motivator was having autonomy and trust from a great leader to make an impact {that’s really 3 things}, only to see when they had that, they were actually more motivated by title and status. In fact, I have even awarded role changes or promotions to folks {justified of course based on achievement and skill} that they insisted on a desire for a change and opportunity to expand their experience across the business; only to have them realize shortly there after that mastery of their original craft and more money is what really inspired them. Guiding people to their purpose to identify their drivers is not easy, but you have to dig deeper, and you have to pay attention. Your employees will appreciate this. Here are few questions you can try:

motivational questions

To sum it up folks, do not miss opportunities to motivate your employees to exceed their ceiling and over perform – not just because they have to, but because they want to. Understanding the factors behind someone’s drive and tailoring methods to achieve all types of motivation is the key.

#chickboss

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