Archives For motivation

We often talk about motivation and inspiration as if they’re they same thing. But they’re not.

What Is Motivation?

Motivation is about moving people to take action if not immediately, then within the very near future.

It heightens people’s emotions — especially their hope, desire, enthusiasm — urging them to act in a way that accomplishes a specific goal.

And it holds out the offer of a reward, a reason or a motivation for people to act.

Before a big game or during halftime, coaches motivate their teams to go out and do their best. What’s the goal? Win the game. What’s the reward? The pride of victory and of being a champion.

There’s a wonderful example of a military leader motivating his troops before battle from the movie Patton.

The speech as it’s delivered by George C. Scott is almost word for word the same speech that General Patton used to give the day before sending his troops to fight.

What does he want from his troops? To attack, never to stop, never to retreat, and most of all to kill the enemy. What reward does he offer? It’s better to kill them than to be killed by them.

So motivation involves moving people to take immediate action to accomplish a short-term goal. It does so by appealing to their emotions and by offering them some sort of reward or recompense.

By necessity, you have to keep motivating people over and over again. It doesn’t last, but as Zig Ziglar was fond of pointing out, neither does bathing, and that doesn’t stop you from bathing.

What is Inspiration?

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When not to use PowerPointIn spite of the fact that I’m the author of Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint, I don’t hate it. It doesn’t make me foam at the mouth or denounce it as the end of civilization as we know it.

(I’m not a member of the Anti-PowerPoint Party. Yes, there is such a thing, an official Swiss political party.)

Many of my clients use PowerPoint and use it well. On occasion, I even use it.

But PowerPoint is used too often and inappropriately.

PowerPoint is a tool. It’s a complicated, somewhat sophisticated tool, but it’s nothing more than a tool.

In my opinion, PowerPoint is a more-than-adequate, but less-than-perfect tool. You may think otherwise, and I won’t argue with you. But I will keep insisting that it’s a tool.

As with any tool, sometimes PowerPoint is used well. Sometimes not. And sometimes—frequently—it’s used when it shouldn’t be.

Just because you have a hammer and you know how to use it correctly doesn’t mean you should hit everything with it.

The same is true with PowerPoint. Even if you can use it well, you don’t have to use it all the time. There are times, in fact, when you’d be better off not using it.

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Courtesy of Bark at Flikr.com

How do you motivate employees who have lost their enthusiasm?

The first thing you have to do, when you’re trying to motivate employees (or anyone else for that matter), is to un-demotivate them.

Most employees start out motivated. (If you hired someone lacking motivation, you have no one to blame but yourself.) But something happens along the way. They lose that initial enthusiasm. Or they get it beaten out of them.

So your job is first to identify and address those things—the people, processes, procedures, policies, or rules—that de-motivate your employees.

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