Sunday, December 14, 2008

Money is it the 'BEST' Motivator

“You can take a horse to the pond but cannot make it drink” is an old proverb. However, the irony is that it is true of human beings as well. Have you ever wondered?
· “Why doesn't this person work?”
· “Why do I always get bad people (colleagues and superiors) to work with?”
· “Why does this colleague hate me?”
· “Why does this person want to embarrass me?”

Would you like to explore?

. Why some people behave in a particular fashion?
· What makes people work and produce extraordinary results?
· Why some people refuse to work even when they are paid better than others?
· What makes people dissatisfied at the work place?

Well, it is the individual’s motivation that propels a person to do an extraordinary act. Motivation is like an accelerator in a vehicle. A vehicle keeps moving at the pace decided by its accelerator. The moment accelerator is reduced, vehicle’s speed reduces and it may come to a standstill if there is no further acceleration. Alternatively, if brakes are applied, there will be an abrupt reduction in the speed of the vehicle and it may come to a standstill. This is true to human beings as well. As long as they are motivated they keep working and producing extraordinary results. The moment there is a drop in their acceleration (motivation), results start diminishing. Of course, applying brakes (dissatisfaction/demotivation) certainly bring them to a halt.

It is a myth that ‘MONEY’ is the best motivator. It is observed that people keep working for a company for money but do not necessarily produce any extraordinary results. On the contrary, people take initiative and produce extraordinary results because of their own motivation. It is rightly said, “Money and job satisfaction are the two wings of a bird; one is enough for survival, but to fly high both are required.

Most of us believe that it is very easy to motivate a person. However, it is true that nobody can motivate anybody. Motivation is an inner feeling, a desire, and an inclination that compels a person to act or behave in a certain manner. An individual gets either motivated or demotivated solely because of oneself. As a practicing manager we have a very limited role as far as job contents, design or working conditions are concerned. Nevertheless, we have an important role to play i.e. creating the right environment for people to feel motivated and perform.
Another important role we need to play effectively is to carry out ‘Performance Appraisal’ and provide feedback to our team members on a regular basis. Though all of us know recognition and rewards motivate a person yet on many occasion we fail to do so. Remember, “Things that get rewarded get done”. As a manager if we fail to reward the right behavior, most likely we get the wrong results.

A mistake most of us often commit is that we handle all our team members in the same manner. We forget what motivates one does not necessarily motivate the other. Different people have different needs; it is their craving for fulfilling these needs that pushes them to put in extraordinary efforts. For instance, a person in his early years of career may be more concerned for money. However, over a period instead of money, the job security matters to him more. At this stage he/she may not be as disappointed on not getting the incentive as on missing a promotion. The great ‘Chanakya’ rightly defined it as, “different strokes for different folks”.

Excerpts from the book: ‘Why My Horse Doesn’t Drink – Learn to motivate people around you

Vivek Mehrotra

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