Motivation is harder in today’s business climate.

Not because people are under more pressure (people will always be under pressure – that’s not new), but rather because the pressure is different and it is eliciting fears and uncertainty within people that they haven’t experienced in a long time (if at all).

Just over a year ago, many professional industries had a steady in flow of work. Now, that work flow has slowed down and, in some cases, stopped.

In response, professionals are now required to be proactive with their existing clients, become involved in lead generation, attend networking functions, upgrade their sales/rapport building skills, and get back on the phone.

Since the market is tighter, clients are more frequently responding with ‘no’, ‘not right now’ or ‘we are waiting to see what will happen first’ before spending their evaporating budgets.

Less work, less leads, and (a lot) more rejection are now a daily pressure…and many people are not prepared to handle it. The main symptom is an increase in personal frustration and a reduction in motivation. Not only does this measurably impact productivity and profitability of the organisation, but it also impairs the morale and
motivation of the culture.

To spark motivation to achieve something, people need to feel

that their efforts are bringing them closer to their targets.

The traditional approach of setting a target and providing incentives to reach it, won’t be enough in today’s climate. This was fine when the goals were attainable. Now, the effort (and resilience) required to reach those targets is exponentially bigger, making them feel unreachable and, thus, people are giving up on ever being able to reach them.

For people to feel motivated, they need to feel a sense of accomplishment even when they aren’t achieving the outcome they want. Therefore, the focus needs to shift from only ‘rewarding outcome’ to include ‘rewarding effort’.

People need to feel a sense of accomplishment for the consistent effort they put in regardless of the outcome. For example, if you need to contact 50 clients with enthusiasm, your 47th call needs to emanate the same enthusiasm as your first call did – even if you have faced 46 replies of ‘no’. This only is achieved if you are feeling a sense of accomplishment just for making the calls – regardless of the outcome.

Here are 2 ideas on rewarding effort:

1. Reward goal-focused activity

Set an activity goal. Whether it is making calls, contacting clients, etc., if the activity brings you closer to your target, it can be measured and rewarded. Ensure that people feel a sense of ‘moving forward’ based on the activity they are generating.

2. Reward attitude and ambition

Negativity can spread like a virus through your work place. It is easy to become part of the doom and gloom and form a culture based on self pity and whinging. We need to reward those who are prepared to break away from the negativity and stay committed to their vision and sense of purpose (targets).

a. Encourage each person to write a one paragraph mission and vision statement for themselves.

b. Reward positive attitude, helpfulness and motivation with awards and small gift incentives.

People who can build their resilience to hearing ‘no’, handling rejections and stay self-motivated and focused, in tough economic times, are going to become your company’s greatest asset over the next 6-12 months.

About the Author:

Michael Licenblat B.Sc.(Psych) is a Resilience Expert who helps people in business bounce back fast from pressure, stress and burnout in their work and life. He is a professional speaker, coach and author of three books.

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