Typically managers provide answers, such as;
They are important ingredients of success, but are they really the high-octane fuel required to accelerate sustained growth and long term performance improvement?
The key to building a high performing machine goes beyond efficient processes, systems and strategies. That is because a high performing machine will only go as fast as the people who drive it.
As one of our consultants puts it; ‘the ultimate speed-o-meter’ is inside the person’s head’. He of course is referring to the person’s level of passion, motivation, resilience and sense of purpose.
When it comes to accelerating performance Racing Driver Ross Bently famously said ‘you gotta work on the nut behind the wheel before you start fixing bolts on the car.’ Going beyond ordinary levels of performance requires tapping into people’s passions, priorities and sense of purpose. It starts with the head and the heart.
Fueling performance (or ‘fuelling’ as it is spelt outside the USA) requires igniting passions. That is key to accelerating, as well as sustaining growth.
Fueling success requires igniting the passions of the men and women of the extended and marketing team. So the question is:
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is ‘totally fired-up’ and 1 is ‘the complete opposite to being fired-up’ where is your team? Your answer will go a long way to explaining the behaviors and performance of your team.
More interestingly if the level of passion and sense of purpose of your team is presently at a 5 out of 10, what would be the impact on performance and behavior of getting your team fired up to a level of at least 7 out of 10?
To understand the performance and behavior of a person or team requires looking beyond personalities, processes and skills.
To understand performance you have to look to the underlying drivers of behavior – the passions, priorities and purpose of the individual person and the collective team.
Your team’s passion and sense of purpose is the high-octane fuel for sustained success. Yet, this ultimate source of propulsion goes un-tapped within so many organizations. That is because a large proportion of the management community has a dangerously skewed view of what motivates performance.
What is required to motivate people to perform at the highest levels? That is a question that many managers struggle to answer. The reason is that they fall victim to a number of common false assumptions regarding what motivates a team to high performance.
When it comes to getting the most from their teams, managers often think it is all about money. They think that the purpose of the team is to reach target and that its passion is to earn commissions.
Clearly the purpose of the organization is to meet target, but is that really enough to drive superior performance? Here is what leadership guru Peter Senge would say:
targets are not enough to generate passionate commitment among your team. Something more is going to be needed. But what is it?
If managers are asked to look beyond the target in terms of what motivates their people, many will offer up their mission statement as the purpose and the strategy as the passion.
However look at the data and these are just two more false assumptions about what motivate people to achieve high levels of performance.
Most people don’t get fired up by the company’s vision or mission statement:
Only one in 4 people is fired up by the vision for the future of their organization. Of the other 3 people, two have a vision that doesn’t fire them up and the remaining one person has no clear vision at all.
There can be little doubt why most people aren’t fired-up by their organizations vision, or mission – they weren’t involved in its creation!
It is what we call the ‘Moses Model’ where the leader goes off to discover the strategy, or mission, writes it in stone and then proclaims it to the masses. The problem is that people cannot simply be handed a mission or a vision – there needs to be engagement, ownership and buy-in if it is going to ignite their passions.
Managers cannot give their team a passion, or sense of purpose – that is clear. But if the lack of engagement, collaboration and discussion is the reason why teams are not fired-up by their corporate vision, then the answer to firing-up them up is clear. It is to engage, collaborate and discuss what matters to the team – to help the team to discover its values, vision and purpose through a process of listening, awarenss building and real dialogue. What are you and your leadership team doing to motivate and fire-up your team?