People want to be the best that they can be. Everyone has room to grow.
But so often I see people stuck in reactive patterns; blaming, lack of ownership, going round in circles, sticking band aid solutions in the wrong places, and ultimately feeling ineffective.
How do we help people to break free? How can we leverage talents, so people are stronger, clearer, more effective, more creative and let go of old patterns that are hindering progress?
The key lies in understanding the difference between motivation and inspiration. And if you’ve attended a workshop with me recently, then you will have heard this before.
When I’m working across the social-impact sector, helping organisations become more impactful and sustainable, I’m often asked about how to motivate others. How do we create motivation for change? Motivation to do more? Motivation to collaborate, to think creatively, to deliver better results?
The answer is, we can’t.
But what we can do is create conditions which inspire people. When people are inspired, they are intrinsically connected to a mission. They are aligned, on fire, can see endless possibilities and want to do more. Motivation is a push and will always feel hard, inspiration is a pull; a magnet that draws people effortlessly.
Sounds easy? It’s not. But it’s entirely possible and actually pretty simple.
- Create a compelling vision – talk about the future, all the time. What you’re aiming for, what this feels like, looks like, sounds like. The more people can feel and resonate with a future experience, the more they will engage and want to be part of it.
- Give people the opportunity to imagine the future – hand over the power, listen, and allow people a space to contribute in an genuine way. Make co-design routine, part of an organisations systems and processes, not a one-off tick-box exercise. Sell the outcome then let people design their own way forwards.
- Know the unique strengths and values of your team and reframe challenges in language that resonates with each individual. Some people are driven by improving efficiencies, some by enhancing client experience, some by self- development. Get to know everyone’s individual story, have authentic conversations, be empathetic, and talk to them in a language that is meaningful for them.
- Make decisions and take action quickly, people lose their spark if things take too long.
- Try new things and show imperfections. Research conducted by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen (The Innovators DNA) shows that the most progressive and successful organisations are those that continuously experiment. Allow people to have a go and implement new ideas. Embrace mistakes and let go of expectations of perfection.
- Encourage collaboration across boundaries. People learn from difference. New ideas, fresh perspectives will trigger interest, curiosity and a thirst for more.