What Motivates Me: A book review by Bob Morris

What Motivates MeWhat Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work
Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
The Culture Works; HAR/PSC edition (September 2014)

How to get your passions in proper alignment with how you want to live and what you want to do

I agree with Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton that passions are engines that drive behavior, for better or worse.

Moreover, I am among those who believe that people cannot be motivated but can be inspired to motivate themselves. The challenge – and opportunity – for supervisors is to understand the personal goals, values, and concerns of those for whom they are directly responsible and then, to the extent possible and (key word) appropriate, accommodate them. Gostick and Elton have written a series of “Carrot” books in which they share what they have learned about all this.

They agree with Teresa Amabile and countless others that we should do what we love most because that is probably what we do best. Peak performers in competitive chess and athletics offer an excellent case in point. However, that is not to say that they love — on average – 10,000 hours of deep, deliberate practice that is exhausting, repetitious, and boring. They accept it as part of the “price” to be paid.

People must be self-motivated and take full responsibility for the results of their efforts. That said, others can activate and energize that motivation, sometimes with inspiration (“I share your dream and will do all I can to help make it happen”), other times with persuasion (“OK, you’ve convinced me”), and still other times with explanation or clarification (“Got it. Now I understand”). I commend Gostick and Elton on their brilliant organization of an abundance of information, insights, and counsel. Their primary purpose is to help as many people as possible to become and remain happily engaged in their work and performing at their full potential by looking deep within themselves to understand what truly motivates them.

More specifically, these world class, diehard pragmatists explain HOW TO

o Discover the drivers of self-motivation
o Get them in proper alignment and leverage them when making decisions that have impact in all or most areas of their life
o Gain the knowledge needed to achieve strategic personal as well as professional goals

NOTE: Some of the most valuable knowledge involves knowing what you thought you knew or understood but, in fact, don’t.

o Evaluate 23 motivators and five (5) identities
o Job sculpt
o Find the right combination and blend of strategies and tactics
o Do’s and don’ts when embarking on a “hero’s journey” from known to unknown to known but better

NOTE: The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. Campbell’s pattern consists of 12 stages. Other variations have fewer or more. The concept is the same.

o Make both a good living and a good life

Six additional questions are addressed in the “Book Summary” section:

o What is the link between motivation and business results
o As an individual, why is it important to know what motivates me?
o Is this a personality test?
o So what does motivate me?
o If I discover I’m passionate about something, what do I do about it? What if I can’t change my role or my company?
o If I’m a manager, why is it important to know what motivates my team members?

In my opinion, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance to supervisors of having the knowledge to which the last question refers. It is true that direct reports tend to care much more about how much their supervisors care than how much they know. That in a proverbial nutshell is why it is imperative fore them to know what specifically what their direct reports care about most.

I also want to commend them on “Toolkit: Identify Reference Guide” (Pages 139-141) in which they present a wealth of in valuable material It is important to note that Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton include with each copy of this book a sealed packet which contains a unique passcode to “The Motivator’s Assessment.” The “Toolkit” and self-diagnostic, all by themselves, are worth far more than the cost of the book…for some business, perhaps 100% more and for others as much as 1000% more.

If there is another single source that offers more and better business information, insights, and counsel than What Motivates Me does, I would very much like to know about it.

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