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¿Why are my people unmotivated?

By: Joaquin y Viera

Often, we hear talk about motivation in staff and how it generates greater productivity. Leaders in organizations are always looking for motivation and commitment in their staff, as if these factors should already be present; in other cases, they make an effort and create motivational development programs.

On many occasions, our clients within various organizations come to us with a common complaint, their staff is unmotivated, resulting in no commitment to the organization. They think that certain things like summer working hours, bonuses or the simple fact of having a job in the organization will suffice for people to be grateful and motivated. They don’t realize that commitment and motivation are factors far beyond bonuses and early leaving times and that there are other fundamental elements required which will eventually build the commitment and motivation required.

Definitely in the last few years there has been a turnaround in valuing, recognizing people and human capital. At Jacobs&Jacobs we believe that it’s absolutely necessary and paramount to do so. Organizations are created by people and sustained by them, so by valuing people, involving them and making them part of it, we are assuring the organizations existence. It becomes a natural process in which people who help maintain the organization alive have their own place as co-creators or sustainers.

With this in mind, for us, motivation and commitment take a different twist and even complement each other. We believe that commitment and motivation are the result of a connection and identification process between people and the organization, where they identify each other, observe each other, recognize and define that they share different things which in a way makes them compatible. This can be expressed in an implicit or explicit manner, for example, when the organization and people share a similar purpose, values, goals, etc.

It’s clear that one can (and happens a lot) have a stable job, be good at it, perform adequately and not necessarily have that kind of connection with the organization. But we are talking about giving that extra mile, to commit completely with your organization and think beyond results or tasks. This is not an easy undertaking as it requires effort from the people but most of all from the organization and their leaders principally to accomplish two things: 1- Discover and expose the essence of the organization (purpose and values). 2- Promote a leadership style that generates confidence and liberty allowing staff to empower themselves, learn and develop their own potential.

If these lines have made sense to you, we invite you to read the 5 dysfunctions of working teams by Patrick Lencioni.

Should you wish to explore further your particular organizational case, write to us so we can ascertain the best way of assisting you.


Joaquin & Viera