Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
I arrived home today underneath an imaginary thundercloud of my own making. Although the Texas sun shown brightly, there was a cold, driving rain where I mind was. My wife grasped the situation immediately. "Hi, Hun", she whispered, "you seem a bit …um…off. Are you OK?"
My current job assignment has gotten the better of me. It takes some serious attitude adjustments (and sometimes the outside influence of alcohol) to get out of the doldrums on Friday evening. Only to be followed by the mounting sense of dread of that starts to crawl up my throat starting a little after lunch on Sunday. When the alarm wakes me on Monday to begin the new work week, I give myself a pep-talk that the Gipper would envy. But it doesn't work. I get out of bed and go do something I would rather not do because of (PHD’s pay attention here) … money.
A few years back, the general manager of our company was enamored with management seminars. It was a weekly routine for Senior and Mid-Level Mangers to attend seminars such as "The Craft of Management", "Being a ‘People’ Person", "Managing Stressful Situations" or "The Art of Motivation". Ah, yes. Motivation is now an art.
During "The Art of Motivation" seminar, the learned speaker droned on in a monotone the problem with incentives is that they lessen internal motivation because the nature of any reward is external to the employee. (Psst…Wake Up!!) Over time, these external rewards will serve erode the employee’s internal motivation. In other words, the employee will work for the bonus and not for the "satisfaction of the job". (You have to love these optimists!) "Satisfaction of the Job", indeed.
"Managers should set goals that have mutual benefit to the company and the employee. The best goals have something in it for the employee as well as the organization. And that something is usually never money."
That is when I raised my hand. The speaker acknowledged me and I posed the question, "If you won the lottery, would you continue to do this? And who in this seminar would quit their job if they won the lottery?" Nearly everyone raised their hands. I claimed the evidence showed that money was a pretty strong motivation. The speaker chuckled and continued unfazed.
"In a properly crafted incentive program, there is a chance for employees to learn and develop new skills that can be used in their future. A manager should determine what career goals each employee has and use that information to tailor an incentive program which would also be a development program. Managers should customize goal-setting by meeting with the employee and encouraging their ideas and initiative as much as possible.
"Increasingly, every manager's job is changing from controlling to coaching. Show that you are on the employee's side in reaching incentive program goals by offering encouragement and assistance . Most employees indicate they are more highly motivated by direct thanks from their managers than more formal incentives. Managers can use this statistic to steer employees to achieve incentive program goals without increasing payroll."
Just what every company wants to hear!
When I was 16, my first boss had a first and last name but everyone called him "BIG JOHN". The reasons were twofold: his name was John and he was big; tipped the scales just this side of 300 pounds but not fat. The song lyric, " you didn't give no lip to BIG JOHN" seemed to be written about him. Or, at 16, I thought so…
Anyway, BIG JOHN was a highly motivating manager of sorts. He was so huge, nobody ever wanted to see what he would do if angered, so things ran pretty smoothly under his watch. (Fear Motivation) . And, if BIG JOHN was pleased with your performance, he would pull out his wallet and hand you CASH, saying, "here, kid, you can't eat thank-you’s". (Money Motivation) (Indirect Thank-you Motivation) (Escaped Being Gutted Alive Motivation)…
The speaker’s singsong drone interrupted my daydream," By paying attention to individual employee interests and desires, a manager can help customize almost any incentive program to produce more lasting, personal results with each and every employee."
"More lasting, personal results" means no raise in pay.
I show up and do my best because there is a paycheck at the end of it all (Money Motivation) while Johnny Paycheck’s famous song "Take this job and shove it" continues to ring in my ears. With apologies to Motivational Psychologists who say it isn't so, I go to work to have the MONEY to provide for my family as well as have a home for myself when I am not working.
…My wife grasped the situation immediately. "Hi, Hun", she whispered, "you seem a bit …um…off. Are you OK?"
"Yes, Honey.... Now that I am home with you"