Curatorview [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Other Motivations/2

Posted in Thoughts.Coaching by Curatorview on December 22, 2008


This is a further article in the “Motivations’ series published by Mark McGuiness; you can find it here.

Manager: “I just don’t understand it. I’ve tried everything, but he still doesn’t get it. He just carries on doing the opposite of what he’s supposed to do.”

Coach: “Well I’ve heard a lot about why you want him to do it, and a lot of reasons why he ’should’ do it. But the question I haven’t heard the answer to is ‘What’s in it for him?’”

(Long silence.)

Manager: “That’s a very good question.”

The basic problem is one of empathy. It is partly down to the situation – because the manager sees the big picture clearly and is under so much pressure to deliver results, it’s easy to forget that others may not have the same understanding or urgency. But it’s also down to a fundamental blindspot of human beings – it’s so easy for each of us to assume that everyone has the same values and priorities that we do.

Because we all have different personal motivations – otherwise known as values. Or rather, we may well share many of the same values, but may not rank them in quite the same way. Recognising and respecting other people’s values is often the key to happiness in relationships. And it’s critical to success if your job involves managing or influencing people.

Each person – continues Mark –  has made a fundamental decision about what is most important in life, and acts accordingly. And the weird thing is, other people have made different decisions to you. This is why they don’t always ‘get it’, no matter how many times you tell them. Once you realise this, a lot of the apparent weirdness about other people disappears. It becomes a lot easier to get on with them.

Get to know people
Look at them (without staring). Listen to them (without interrupting). Notice what brings them alive – when they become enthusiastic, animated, productive. What does this tell you about their personal values? And what about the times when they shut down, withdraw, give you lip service or start complaining? What does that tell you about their motivation?

Assume that everything they do and say makes complete sense
This frees you to look at them as they are, instead of as you think they should be. And once you do that, you can start to notice all kinds of things you didn’t see before.

Don’t stick labels on them
We’ve all been there. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t find yourself labelling people, especially when problems arise. It’s easy to see others as ‘difficult’, ‘lazy’, ‘obstructive’ and so on. The trouble is, this makes life more difficult for you. If someone is just plain ‘difficult’ then there’s nothing you can do to influence them, short of rebuilding their personality. But if you take the label off and ask yourself ‘what are they motivated by?’ Then you have an opportunity to use their personal motivations to influence them.

Trade in their currency
Think of personal values the same way as monetary currency. Why bother praising somebody who just wants to work on an interesting challenge? A pay rise won’t compensate someone for having their ideas blocked at every turn.
Try ‘trading in their currency’ by speaking to their personal values.

Treat people the way you’ve always treated them and they will respond the way they’ve always responded. If you get stuck, ask yourself ‘What does this person least expect me to do?’. Try doing something new – and notice the results. Be creative.

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