A few weeks ago I was in a coffee discussion with a retired friend of mine who was a VP of Finance with a major hospital group, a well educated and successful MBA executive. When we found ourselves on the topic of workplace motivation, he said almost jokingly, “I brought donuts every Monday and Friday and that kept them motivated.” Was he right? Are donuts motivating?
Somehow I can’t relate eating a donut to being motivated to do my best at my job. By now some of you are saying, “Hey dummy, it’s the act of appreciation by the boss that motivates not the donuts.” And you are right. But what if donuts are provided when you know that you are not performing at your best? Is it still an act of appreciation? Are the donuts still a motivation tool? If not, what then?
Getting donuts because your boss appreciates your work is an extrinsic motivating tool. And at times this form of motivation is needed but to be consistent, intrinsic motivation is necessary. This form of motivation comes from knowing the purpose of your job and being able to compare your visualization of that purpose to actual results. More often than not that precognition of results is exceeded by actual results. And that is your best motivation tool.
“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage that we move on to better things.”
Theodore Roosevelt, (1858-1919, 26th American President
Copyright © 2011 Anthony R. Dziedzic, all rights reserved