Define Motivation

Understanding the inner drivers that are required to get people moving to take action


How we define motivation and how we understand and work with the different types of motivation is an integral aspect of leading and managing people through change.

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    Motivation is the activation of goal-oriented behaviour


Enough focused action will in turn lead eventually to the successful achievement of a goal – which is exactly what we need to ensure a successful change management initiative.

Clearly, understanding the psychology motivation and drivers that underlie the differing types of motivation is an essential aspect of activating the necessary goal-oriented behaviour.




Leadership and motivation

The emotional dimension of leadership is one of the 3 key elements of what is involved in successfully leading and managing change.

The style of leadership that is needed in a major change management initiative is a leadership that understands how to define motivation factors in ways that connect with people and that directly addresses what is important to them.







Culture and motivation

Another aspect of how we define motivation is to understand the underlying [and often unconscious] psychological processes that determine individual and attitudes.

In an organisational environment "collective attitude" will be to a very large extent shaped and defined by organisational cultures.




Motivational drivers


There are many internal structures, systems and processes that determine what does or doesn't motivate people into action - both individually and collectively:

  • Needs - are the pre-programmed drivers that evolution has given us at the basic level for food, shelter and safety, then at higher levels [the needs hierarchy] e.g. social needs, self esteem needs, "self realisation" needs.

    There is a growing perspective within the field of neurological sciences that we are "hardwired for survival and self transcendence".

    A stimulated need leads to the inner tension that drives us into action.

    There are a number of theories and models that attempt to define motivation.

  • Beliefs - 'assumed truths' on which our understanding of the world is anchored. Beliefs are instrumental in creating our actions and experience of life. Once a belief is formed, we will tend to persevere with that belief and defend it.

  • Values - are those things that we think are important, and therefore focus on and spend time on. Values organise our beliefs.

    Values generate the emotion that drives us into action. At the group level values are the social rules that we live by that enable groups to function.

  • Emotions - are the fundamental internal systems that kick us into action via emotional arousal - often towards a goal.

    Our emotions thus cause us to want and not want, and when we have what we wanted, we then have emotions about owning it.

  • Extrinsic Motivation - is when we are driven by external situational factors such as money.

    Extrinsic motivation drives us to do things for tangible rewards or pressures, rather than for the fun of it e.g. loyalty cards, discounts, air miles, bonuses and commissions.

  • Intrinsic Motivation - is when we are driven by internal factors to do things just for the fun of it [e.g.hobbies], or for ultruistic reasons because I believe it is a good or right thing to do.

  • Goals - A goal can be described as an intended outcome that requires action that satisfies needs.

  • Motivating gaps - These are technically described as "Cognitive Dissonance" and arise where the gap between two conflicting thoughts lead us to seek ways of reducing this.

An example of this is when we think about what we want and about what we actually have and we feel a discomfort or a tension.




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Gaps are also the driver for disagreement between people. Where our internal drivers are different from others, then we will disagree with them and this gives rise to what we may call "disagreement gaps".

Other gaps can arise over values and beliefs and goals gap.




Further Resources


Books on Motivation


Motivation in the workplace - People are motivated when they are inspired

Motivation Theories - Getting people to take action

Maslow's hierarchy of needs - A paradigm shift

ERG Theory - Practical application to leading change

Herzberg Motivation Theory - Satisfied and motivated

Acquired Needs Theory - Goal seeking achievers

Process theories of motivation - Personal needs drive behaviour

Employee motivation techniques - How to achieve peak performance

Myers Briggs Personality Types - Why so important

Inspirational motivation - How to inspire your people in tough times

Managing Personal Change - Resources HERE

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practitioners masterclass,change management training,change managers,change management



practitioners masterclass,change management training,change managers,change management



practitioners masterclass,change management training,change managers,change management


practitioners masterclass,change management training,change managers,change management


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