The Seven Principles of Motivation

Written up in Simon’s new book STAND OUT! Personal Branding Strategies for Business Professionals, this is Nido Qubein’s “Seven Principles of Motivation.”

1) We can’t motivate people

“How do I motivate my team to do the things I want them to do?” The answer is: “You don’t!” We can’t motivate people. They are already motivated. But you can determine what motivates them and use this knowledge to channel their energy toward your organization’s goals.

2) All people are motivated
Some people are like water in a faucet. They have the motivation; all you have to provide is the opportunity. The water is already motivated to flow, but it doesn’t have the opportunity until you open the tap. Others are like mountain streams, which flow swiftly but follow their own channels. People, too, may move energetically, but toward their own goals. We should make it worth their while to channel their motivation toward the results management is seeking.

3) People do things for their own reason, not yours or mine
When asking people to do something we need to illustrate what’s in it for them. It could be through rewards and recognition, or appealing to their sense of pride and achievement.

4) The best way to get people to pay attention to you is to pay attention to them
That means listening to others, not just hearing them. Listening is active; hearing is passive. If you listen to individuals long enough, they’ll tell you what their concerns and problems are. It’s amazing what you’ll learn.

5) Pride is a powerful motivator
Everybody is proud of something. If you know what makes your people proud, you can use that insight to channel their motivation.

6) You can’t change people; you can only change their behaviors
To change behavior, you must change feelings and beliefs. You must connect with people, not just communicate with them. This requires more than training. It requires education. When you train people, you just try to teach them a task; when you educate people, you deal with them at a deeper level relative to behavior, feelings and beliefs. (The word education comes from the Latin word educo, which means to change from within).

7) We all judge ourselves by our motives; but we judge others by their actions
Put another way; we’re inclined to excuse behavior in ourselves that we find unacceptable in others. When our employees are late for work, it’s because they’re irresponsible and have no interest in their jobs. When we’re late for work, it’s because we were attending to necessary details that had to be taken care of. When team members engage in undesirable behavior, we shouldn’t try to assess motives or change them. Just deal with the behavior. We can’t change the motives of our employees, but through positive or negative reinforcement you can affect their actions.

Have a great, motivated day!