Friday, September 10, 2010

Step Five: Identify the Most Helpful Motivations to Draw on for Encouraging Perfect or Near-Perfect Group Performance

But command Joshua,
and encourage him and strengthen him;
for he shall go over before this people,
and he shall cause them to inherit
the land which you will see.

— Deuteronomy 3:28 (NKJV)

Some people will use any excuse to avoid assembling a
large number of helpful motivations to encourage
perfect or near-perfect group performance in a given
situation. To me, that reluctance means that the
person seeking to create a solution isn’t sufficiently
motivated by the opportunity to improve.

When you find yourself acting this way, it’s good to
ask yourself why you aren’t more motivated. If you
can find the reason, you may be able to reshape your
thinking by looking for more reasons to do the best
possible job. For instance, some people may
concentrate initially on the personal benefits, such as
earning more money, and feel conflicted. Without
looking at the situation more closely, these people
may be assuming that they can only have more if
someone else loses or keeps less, such as when people
are gambling against one another or competing in an
athletic contest for a prize. There are also many
situations where creating more for one person or group
also provides more for all, such as when a company sells
more of a product that produces value for customers
way above its price, which might be the case for laptop
computers that are used by adult professionals and for
services such as access to medical libraries when they
are used by physicians.

Even after such an investigation into potential benefits
reveals many more reasons why improving motivation
and performance is good for all, work may still lag on
encouraging perfect or near-perfect group performance.
I find that some people just aren’t very interested in
creating breakthroughs or thinking about improving
motivation. Others are easily distracted from any
complex task. Still other people may have higher
priorities elsewhere, such as caring for a loved one’s
serious illness.

Whenever you cannot motivate yourself sufficiently to
work on this step’s task to the utmost of your ability, you
should turn the assignment over to someone who finds
the work to be endlessly interesting, valuable, and
rewarding: That’s one of the lessons of step seven of
the 2,000 percent solution process (Identify the Right
People and Provide the Right Motivation to implement
the 2,000 percent solution). Since you probably won’t
provide much added motivation for the person who
gains the assignment, be sure to select someone who is
strongly self-motivated to do a great job and share all
that you know about why it’s a wonderful idea to
encourage groups to perform perfectly or nearly
perfectly in the situation.

Whoever is going to design the process should then
focus on identifying the most powerful forms of
motivation that will encourage perfect or near-perfect
group performance. A good starting place is to
describe what is intended to be accomplished, to list
the tasks required to make those accomplishments
more likely, and to create an inventory of all the
reasons that might motivate someone to want to do
an especially good job with the tasks. In developing
such an inventory, it’s very helpful to involve other
people, especially those whose backgrounds and
interests are different from the person who created
the description, list of tasks, and inventory. Ideally,
ask people to help with the inventory who represent
many different points within the spectrum of the
backgrounds and experiences of those who will
probably be performing the tasks.

Next, rewrite the description, tasks, and inventory of
motivations list to make the motivational reasons
clearer and to more accurately express the opportunity
to perform well. Then show the rewriting to some other
people and ask for their reactions to what you have
described and listed to see if they correctly perceive
what you are trying to express. Revise the description,
tasks, and inventory list to correct any problems that
are uncovered.

At this point, show the description, tasks, and inventory
list either to all the people you want to influence because
they will be doing the tasks or, if there are too many
people involved to contact everyone, to a large-enough
random sample of those people to be statistically
accurate. Ask each person you contact to describe how
important each of the purposes is on a scale from one to
ten for them, with ten being the most motivating
anything could be and one being not motivating at all.

Analyze the reactions to see which sources of motivation
are most powerful (have a point score near ten) and are
effective with a lot of different people who will be doing
the tasks. In making these comparisons, you want to
identify the set of motivating factors that will provide
the strongest reasons to act for the most people.
Ideally, you would like each person to have at least five
motivating factors that they rate at nine or higher. That
won’t happen in many cases so, if necessary, you’ll be
looking instead for combinations of motivating factors
that will provide each person who will be doing the
tasks with at least three reasons that they rate at
seven or higher. If you can do better than reaching
that minimum, you should.

The obvious question at this point is “what do I do if
there aren’t three reasons ranked at least seven points
or higher for each person?” Should that occur, you have
four choices:

1. Consider if selective assignments can be used to
determine who works on the tasks so that you can
employ only the most motivated people.
2. Redesign what needs to be done to include more
strong motivating influences.
3. Shift what is to be accomplished to include more
results that are highly motivating.
4. Employ some combination of the first three choices.

Once you have found which forms of motivation to
emphasize, you are ready to design the training and
tasks that will include them. That’s the subject of
Step Six.

Copyright 2010 Donald W. Mitchell All Rights Reserved.

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