We asked the industry experts...

How to motivate and engage people

Paul Hunter, Strategic Management Institute Managing Director

Paul Hunter
Managing Director of the Strategic Management Institute

Motivation and engagement are energised by a common sense of purpose and direction. Purpose is defined as the reason an organisation exists, it is permanent, definitive, and closed to debate. Direction is defined by strategy. Strategy is dynamic, it provides a mechanism for engagement through ‘open’ and forthright conversations – the primary source of cooperation and motivation.

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Flooris Van Der Walt
Author, Executive, Mindset Transformational Coach

If a leader is not motivated her/himself, then it is very difficult to motivate others. I believe leaders have to look at their level of energy and keep it high, while they connect, listen and then act on the communal issues. This communal understanding of “we are all in it for the better of all” defines the engagement because “I am involved in creating a better situation for all”. People are normally motivated when they are engaged because they realize that they have something to offer and it makes a difference.

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Erik Hiep
Managing Director (The Next Level), Author, Associate Professor at IE Business School

Engage through Simplicity & Energy. High energy is key for success in business and winning in the marketplace. When on high energy, your quality of thinking goes up. You are more creative, more productive, and smarter. The key here is also not to complicate life; keep things as simple as possible. Leadership is about creating simplicity. Simple ideas, concepts, and strategies are easier to understand & implement. This increases the probability that you and your teams will achieve the objectives.

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Kriti Jain, Expert on Leadership Decision Making, Diversity & Inclusion, Organizational Change

Kriti Jain
Leadership Decision Making Expert, D&I, Organizational Change

Managers must trust workers enough to give them the freedom to decide ‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘how’ they do their work. The leader’s role is to provide the ‘why’.

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Matt Marsh, Business Breakthrough Specialist. Consultant, Coach, Author & Visiting Professor

Matt Marsh
Business Breakthrough Specialist, Consultant, Coach, Author, Visiting Professor

Talk to them, listen, and find out the contexts and complexities that they face on a day-to-day and aspirational basis. Give them the conditions and permissions where they can experiment and grow.

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Sergey Gorbatov ,Professor of HR & Organisational Behaviour at IE Business School

Sergey Gorbatov
Professor of HR & Organisational Behaviour at IE Business School

A great deal of motivation comes from having a meaningful goal and getting regular quality feedback on advancing towards it. Simple management tools (such as goal setting and feedback) are often understated. Compelling vision and mission guide and empower. But it's the daily little boosts that deliver execution.

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Adam Kingl
Author, Educator, Keynote Speaker, Advisor

In seeking answers on what are the factors that attract high-flying Gen Ys to a given company, I surveyed corporate high potentials over five years, attempting to uncover what the most important employer benefits might be and if these are different from what many organisations expect that they might need to emphasise. The factors from which people chose were: Benefits package, CEO’s reputation, Corporate social responsibility, Development opportunities, Openness to innovation, Organizational culture, Performance based bonus, Share price performance, Work-life balance. The answers represent a dramatic shift from previous expectations - not a single one of the top three most popular answers was a financial benefit.

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Mark Fritz - Leadership expert, mentor and keynote speaker.

Mark Fritz
Leadership Expert, Mentor, Keynote Speaker

Your people are motivated by three key factors other than the Money:

1) Relevance: Your people want to know their work makes a difference, that it has meaning. The most effective way to make people’s work relevant is through making their work visible to others. Visibility drives relevance, accountability and pride.

2) Power: Your people want to have choice, and feel their work is theirs. If people are just told what to do, they have no choice, and don’t feel powerful. When people feel powerless, they take less action. Ask versus tell.

3) Ego: Your people want to be recognized for their achievements, and also for what they are good at. Recognize and reinforce the achievements, but also the important behaviors you see where they are showcasing their strengths.

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Nick Basannavar, Social & Cultural Historian, Head of Consulting, Included

Nick Basannavar
Social & Cultural Historian, Head of Consulting at Included

We lean on the concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to engage people on the topic of diversity and inclusion. Intrinsic motivation refers to behaviour or action that is inspired by innate interest, passion, or curiosity. In other words, people take action because they like doing it. In a diversity and inclusion context, this might be a leader who is inspired by their own or colleagues’ personal stories or struggle, or who takes an inherent satisfaction from building an inclusive team, or who has been on a journey to reframe and connect inclusion to their professional skill set and passion.

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is inspired by external factors. These could be rewards such as recognition or awards, remuneration, or promotion. In a D&I context, it could also be external drivers that encourage action, such as representation targets or aspirations, or change pressures from legislation or regulation.

Everyone is different, and people are engaged by different means. However, the ability to draw on the combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators has been proven to be a potent driver for change.

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