Susan Fowler is changing the way we look at motivating people. To sum up her philosophy in two words: "You can't." Instead, you have to help them learn to motivate themselves. In Fowler's new book, "Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…And What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging" she states that we need to "Stop trying to motivate people. They are already, but generally in superficial, short-term ways."
One of the flawed beliefs leaders have is that people have a "switch" for motivation and it is either turned "on" or "off." “One of the primary reasons motivating people doesn’t work is our naïve assumption that motivation is something a person has or doesn’t have. This leads to the erroneous conclusion that the more motivation a person has, the more likely she will achieve her goals and be successful. When it comes to motivation, assuming that more is better is too simplistic and even unwise. As with friends, it isn’t how many friends you have; it is the quality and types of friendships that matter,” she writes.
Her Optimal Motivation process shows leaders how to move people away from dependence on external rewards and discover how their jobs can meet deeper psychological needs - for autonomy, relatedness, and competence - that science tells us result in meaningful and sustainable motivation.
She concludes the profound—but easy—read by re-thinking five beliefs which she asserts erodes workplace motivation:
|It’s not personal; it’s just business.||If it is business, it’s personal.|
|The purpose of business is to make money.||The purpose of business is to serve—both your people and your customers. Profit is the by-product of doing both of those well.|
|Leaders are in a position of power.||Leaders are in a position of creating a workplace where people are more likely to be self-motivated and succeed.|
|The only thing that really matters is results.||What really matters is not just the results people achieve buy why and how people achieve them.|
|If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter.||If you cannot measure it, it’s probably really, really important.|