Motivating Others

This week’s Pearl of Leadership Wisdom is on…
Motivating Others
“The triumph of hope over experience”Samuel Johnson
I am often asked; “how do I motivate my team.” “How do I bring others with me?”

Well it’s really easy, this is how you do it –

Share your vision. Describe a shiny, sunlit future where all is sweetness and light. Outline the part the person in front of you must play…they will swell with an abundance of motivation because they cannot fail to see the compelling future you have so beautifully painted. Group hug. The End

Thank you for reading this week’s Pearl of Leadership Wisdom. See you next week.


You cannot motivate people. You cannot motivate people where it matters.

Different situations –

Every day motivation – you work, you get paid. Seeking pleasure. Avoiding pain. Not really about motivating others.

Motivation others for superior performance…

You can drive performance – a football team at half-time for instance. They might be having a bad game but they’ve been training four times a week since they were eight years old. They ARE motivated. The manager might re-focus them at half-time. But the motivation is within the players.

A motive is a reason for action.

But where motivating others would be really useful – for example in turning ingrained poor performance into sustained, superior performance; it isn’t effective.

Kiss enough frogs…

You cannot motivate a frog to become a prince…

“Sit down Kermit. I am extremely disappointed that, despite our repeated conversations around how it would be better for both you and this organisation if you were to become a prince, I cannot help but notice that you are still a bloody frog. What’s wrong with you?”

…unless the frog is driven to want to be a prince and therefore doesn’t really need external motivation.

The frogs that can turn into princes either have done so already or work tirelessly every day on their cunning plan to do so.

You can harness…

…their intrinsic motivation, but if it doesn’t already exist within them you will struggle to create it.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with being a frog. We need frogs. They have a role.

You can make a difference…

You can demotivate frogs. Oh yes. This is easy. Treat all the frogs the same, regardless of their potential. That’s a good way to demotivate those with prince-potential. Or even better – promote a frog with no prince-potential so he’s in charge of frogs with prince-potential – that’s the quickest way I know to jettison any excess motivation you might have in your organisation. Try it (…if you haven’t already.)

Motivation comes from within. It cannot be instilled. You can help someone to realise that they have huge potential, and you can work on their confidence, and their skills, but these are different issues.

Because motivation is…

…about attitude. The frog-princes know it. They feel it. They are intrinsically motivated. The good frogs who don’t want to become princes are also intrinsically motivated, but not to become princes, and that’s fine. I’m not having a go at good frogs.

All aboard…

Get the right frogs on the bus. You need some that have become princes, some with potential, and also lots of simply good frogs who are happy to be well-adjusted frogs. What you don’t need are the frogs who bitch, moan and whine about the colour of the bus, how much the princes get paid, how their own prince-potential has been cruelly overlooked by every manager they’ve ever had…yada yada yada.

Kick them out…

Sell them to the French. You cannot rehabilitate them. You cannot motivate them. They are toxic frogs and they do not improve with age. They fester. They have faulty thinking and they got it a long time ago. You will not make the difference. You are not a social worker. Spend your time on the princes and the good frogs.

Ask yourself…

Are your princes and frogs on the bus? Are all the rubbish frogs on the pavement? If not, sort it out. But avoid at all costs the desire to rehabilitate. 100% of all the motivation any frog will ever have is already within that frog. Then close the bus door, start the engine, eyes front and drive.


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