7 Things Motivated People Don’t Do

by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

At The Culture Works, our research teams have surveyed more 850,000 people to learn what makes people the most motivated and engaged in their careers. We found that when individuals are fulfilled on the job they not only produce higher quality work and a greater output, but also generally earn higher incomes. And those most satisfied with their work are also 150 percent more likely to have a happier life overall.

As we researched this subject for our new book What Motivates Me, we found the seven things most motivated, fulfilled people don’t do:

They don’t chase the almighty buck (if that’s not what motivates them).

Motivation is not about doing what anyone else thinks is right for you, nor is it necessarily about chasing a job that pays well if money is not what floats your boat.
It’s about aligning more of your work with what drives you. People differ enormously in what makes them happy—for some, challenge, excelling and pressure are the greatest sources of happiness. For others, money and prestige. And for others, service, friendship and fun are more satisfying in a workplace. The trick is in identifying your core drivers and then aligning your work to do more of what you love and little less of what frustrates you.

They don’t wait for a manager to motivate them.

The truth is, very few leaders know what’s really motivating to their people or, even if they do, would know how to apply that information to their day-to-day work. Motivated individuals have discovered that the surest way to happier and more successful work lives is: first, understanding what drives you and then second, doing some sculpting of the nature of your jobs or tasks to better match duties with passions. That involves working with a manager, of course, but most motivated people lead this effort themselves. They take charge of their careers.

They don’t leave to chase a dream job.

There is a prevalent notion that if you’re unhappy with your work, it will take a
Herculean effort to change things, that you have to quit and find your “dream job.” For the vast majority of people, that’s just nonsense. That’s not to say motivated people never change departments or companies, and we all can appreciate that if an individual is completely miscast or miserable, it’s not good for them, their customers, or their managers. But most people don’t need to take a risky leap; instead, they need to start by making small but important sculpting changes in their work lives. Many of the happiest people we’ve spoken with didn’t find their bliss down a new path; they made course corrections on the path they were already on.

They don’t believe everyone is motivated like they are.

One of the traps most of us can fall into is believing that other people are driven by the same things we are. We’ve counseled a bevy of frustrated teams on this issue. Perhaps the majority of the team members are what we call “Builders”—people who are focused on high-minded ideals like developing others, service, teamwork and a greater purpose. And most of those team members believe anyone who is not motivated in those ways is not a “team player.” But on the team are also a handful of people we would classify as Achievers, Caregivers, Thinkers and Reward-Driven, and these are the people who feel alienated and unappreciated. Great strength comes in recognizing and appreciating diversity, but we have to understand and utilize the motivational drive of others. For instance, the Reward-Driven person can make a team more competitive. Thinkers help us be more creative. Caregivers encourage empathy and fun. Achievers make us more goal-oriented, and Builders help drive purpose and meaning. Most teams need all Identities in play to function at high levels.

They don’t focus inward.

The happiest people we found in our studies typically focus their work efforts in service of others rather than on self-gain. That may mean they achieve more or sell more or do more because they truly believe in their products or services and genuinely believe they are helping their customers by putting those goods in their hands—versus those who are simply striving to win a deal and cash a paycheck. It’s a subtle change in thinking, but it’s important. Psychologists also say most people perform at work better when they focus their energy toward serving their families instead of themselves. Thus, motives based on the pursuit of power, narcissism, or overcoming self-doubt are less rewarding and less effective than goals based on the pursuit of providing security and support for one’s loved ones or being able to give of one’s gain to a worthwhile cause.

They don’t hang out with whiners.

We all know who they are: there’s typically a group of people who complain about everything at the office. If the boss pulls out her wallet and starts handing out twenty-dollar bills, the whiners will later moan that they weren’t fifties. The most motivated people avoid this petulant bunch. Complaining with no solution is a toxic habit. Sometimes making a positive difference at work is simply a matter of how a person chooses to think. We always counsel those troubled at work to look for ways to be authentically positive; for instance, publicly acknowledging a coworker’s accomplishment on completing a project. And even if it doesn’t help change the office environment, we remind them they can always do this at home: telling their significant others or kids why they are inspiring, always using specific language, not vague platitudes.

They don’t compare themselves to others.

The motivated people we interviewed don’t waste a lot of time comparing themselves to those who have more; instead, they regularly express gratitude for the talents, resources, and relationships they do have, not to mention their health, their friends, their own brilliance, their motivation, and their family who inspire them. Everyone is happiest when they are thankful for the gifts they have been given, and that gratitude should be offered up regularly to those around them who support them and help them thrive. Psychologists are only just beginning to understand the healing and strengthening mental power of grateful attitudes. The most successful and happy people are frequent and specific in their verbal appreciation of not only their colleagues but also family members and friends.

Post used with permission from The Culture Works. Authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton are the New York Times bestselling authors of All In and The Carrot Principle. Their latest book, What Motivates Me, is on sale now. 

How Healthy is Your Culture?

 

I believe that one of the primary, if not THE most important responsibilities of leadership is to create a CULTURE of health and vitality. We give an enormous amount of time on things that are ultimately superficial and often very little time on things that are at the core of creating a sustainable, successful organization. The culture we create through the systems we set up, either intentionally or unintentionally, will determine whether we manage by crisis, by dysfunction, or manage by pre-determined values and principles. Here are some of the diagnostic questions we should ask about our organization:

Do we address issues, or do we let them remain unspoken?

Do we respond to or address issues with honesty and with forthrightness, or are others often wondering what we “really” think?

Do we take ownership for things gone wrong, or do we make excuses or pass blame?

Do we make it safe and acceptable for people to offer their opinions, or do we label them as trouble-makers or not being “team” players?

Do we allow input and ideas to flow bottom up from those who are actually going to carry the work out?

Do we do constant, ongoing, ruthless assessment of our systems, programs and performance or only when a glitch happens?

Do we allow dysfunctional individuals to hijack our meetings, thwart our efforts and thereby rule our organizations, or do we confront unhealthy team members and hold them accountable to healthy interaction?

Lastly, and most difficult, do we confront our own toxic fears, behaviors and attitudes that are contaminating our organization, or do we give ourselves a pass because we’re the boss?

The answers to these questions will probably not help your church or organization explode with growth. But they just make help keep it from imploding one day. And for many of us, they will take care of most of what is really keeping us up at night!

Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything” is a good read for continuing this thought. Go be a thermostat for YOUR culture!

 

Post contributed by Steve Chiles, Senior Pastor at the Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Team Leader for the 2016 Leadership Network Gathering.

Bulbs Create Light

Today I find there are these six types of people in organizations with regards to how we handle light:

  1. Bulbs: create light wherever they are. The light often isn’t focused, but it is displayed in whatever arena they find themselves.
  2. Mirrors: reflect the light to places that the light hasn’t reached. They often have the ability to shine the light in places where the bulb can’t be or can’t be seen. They see places where the light is needed and reflect it there.
  3. Lenses: focus the light in ways for more intense impact. They are able to take the light and, by shining it through their own lens, they show the impact or importance of the light. They magnify the impact or intensity of the light in ways not previously seen.
  4. Prisms: refract the light into more variations through parsing. They are able to dissect the light into many different parts so the beauty can be seen and more easily understood in more places.
  5. Panes: let light pass through without substantially changing it. They are able to accept the light but don’t do much with it. Only after they are transformed through bending, do they become bulbs, mirrors, lenses or prisms.
  6. Black holes: taking all light around it and absorbing everything. Light is only meant to be consumed. It isn’t about reflecting, focusing or parsing the light. It is about absorbing it and keeping it all to themselves. These people can never have enough light and are never content with the light they receive.

Organizations desperately need people in each the first four categories: bulbs, mirrors, lenses, prisms. God has given us the light to put on a hill and let it shine. We are all responsible for what we do with the light. Due to our personal wiring, we can’t all be bulbs. Organizations need mirrors, lenses and prisms for the light to reach all of the darkness.

The fifth category (panes) are the people who are hanging around but don’t do anything with the light. We can’t be frustrated with these people but must have patience that someday they may be personally transformed into an instrument of light. We need to work with these panes that don’t transform light because one day, they will become a bulb, mirror, lens or prism depending on their calling.

The last group of people too often suck the life (and light) out of an organization for their own consumption. They care little about the light other than how will it meet their needs. Notice that each of the prior groups of people clearly steward the light they have been given for others. These people only steward the light for themselves. The organization needs to avoid these people like the plague.

Who are the bulbs around your organization? And the mirrors, lenses, prisms? Do you have panes hanging around who need to be transformed? Do you have black holes that need to be dealt with?