I can easily refute that belief with two questions:
1. Do you love your partner/spouse, mother, father, or children?
2. If yes (no one has answered no yet), then tell me precisely how much. And when you answer, please pick an amount and a unit of measure. So your answer would be something like, “I love my children 12 gallons,” or “I love my husband six kilometers.”
Naturally, that’s absurd. The love you feel matters a great deal and yet seems impossible to measure.
Employee motivation is a bit like that. It matters a great deal to the well-being of your employees and the financial success of the company. And yet it seems impossible to measure.
But that’s the thing—it is remarkably easy to measure. Here’s how.
- Using yourself as a test case, the first thing you will want to do is upgrade how you think about measurement. Most often you’re thinking in terms of numbers. Instead, think first in terms of categories. Then you can think of numbers.
- Specifically, think in terms of these six categories—or types—of motivation.
- Inherent – You do something because it is fun for you personally
- Integrated – You do something because the purpose and deep meaning of it serves others and is in harmony with your own deep sense of purpose
- Aligned – You do something because it is compatible with your goals and values
- Imposed – You do something because you want to avoid a hassle, drama, or feeling guilty
- External – You do something to gain something outside the task and yourself such as money, status, or reputation
- Disinterested – You do not do something because it just does not matter to you.
- Create a table featuring the six categories above and tally your thoughts, feelings, and what the running dialogue in your head is saying about what type of motivation you experience on each specific situation, task, or goal.
- What pattern do you notice? Most coaching clients with whom I have used this simple technique notice a pattern pretty quickly. In fact, for everything on their to-do list, they usually realize they are experiencing one or two types of motivation. In time, one of them will become the most clear.
- BAM! You just measured your motivation by discerning what type you are experiencing. And, the tally you came up with reveals how intensely you feel one type over the others.
Now you may ask does measuring your motivation using that simple technique even matter?
It absolutely does, because the type of motivation you experience has a big influence on how you go about your daily work—and your probability of success.
More specifically, research reveals that your motivation type has a lot to do with how much creative, out of the box thinking you bring to your work. It greatly influences how persistent you are in the face of tough challenges. It not only explains, it determines how enthusiastic, frustrated, or bored you feel about the minutia of your work. And over time, the type of motivation you experience has a lot to do with the decisions you make to stay with the company or leave for somewhere better.
In future posts in this series, I’ll share with you equally simple techniques for shifting from one type of motivation to the one you want to experience. That’s remarkably straightforward, too.
You probably already have a sense of which type of motivation would most help you succeed.
The first step is to measure what type of motivation you’re experiencing on each task, goal, or situation on your list.
So, start tallying! After all, motivation matters—and now you can measure it!
About the author:
The Motivation Guy (also known as Dr. David Facer) is one of the principal authors—together with Susan Fowler and Drea Zigarmi—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ new Optimal Motivation process and workshop.