The cost of unmotivated people can add up.

The cost of unmotivated people can add up.

What is the cost of unmotivated people making poor decisions, with bad attitudes, sloppy about managing the resources in your business, on your projects?

A lot.

According to Michael Mankins, co-author of “Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power,” one “inspired” employee can produce over 2x as much as a “satisfied” person on the job.

Wow. The 80-20 rule is alive and well. The implications are huge. I believe you want as many “inspired” people on your side as possible and as few unmotivated people as possible.

What are building blocks of productivity?

Old school declares the answer is “time.”

“Time is money” has been relentlessly repeated over the last 40 years as the industrial engineering, lean engineering, six sigma and all the other efficiency approaches settled into counting hours and time blocks.

Heck, I couldn’t help myself from going down the path of time blocking. It is absolutely useful, to a certain point. However, you can easily run into issues when time-based metrics are the sole focus. Here’s a short list that we all know will cause time and schedules to fall apart.

  • Things break down.
  • People get sick, tired, distracted.
  • Accidents happen.
  • Materials are late or incorrect.
  • Power goes down.
  • Computers and software don’t perform as you need them to. They reboot, update, freeze, passwords are forgotten and lost, the steps to run an application are skipped or forgotten.

The new building blocks are based on people, leadership, talents, skills. Time will flow regardless if you “manage” it well or not. Developing a crack team is under your control despite the flow of time.

Enter people into the equation

First a quick tutorial on our perception, decision making, behavior flow. See references below for in-depth description and analysis.

In a nutshell people’s reaction process happens instantly, automatically, sometimes subconsciously, all day with each and with every one of us.

  1. An experience happens and we match it to our internal knowledge base and concepts accumulated over a lifetime that explain the experience from those closest to us including today. This is where our beliefs, attitudes and perceptions fall into play.
  2. We measure it against our values and motivators and make a decision about motivation. Our big “why,” what  motivates us to actions comes into play at this step.
  3. We act based on behavior preferences and our level of emotional intelligence (a nice way to say how mature we behave).

Then we quickly throw in some rationalizations to justify our behavior for good measure.

People love to be engaged

People love to be engaged, to be needed, to feel like they contribute, to have their contribution recognized, to be part of something bigger, that the organization or project is going somewhere meaningful.

What happens when people experience these things?

  • They make decisions they think will help the situation.
  • People look to make improvements and look to fix what’s broken.
  • They generally like doing their job.

Imagine you have a team of people looking out for the success of your business or project continually. The large and small decisions start to stack up in your favor.

Some do not want change

Many unmotivated people also do not like change, move out of their comfort zone,  make decisions, take risks, take initiative, put themselves “out there.”

Not everyone is a natural born decision maker or initiative taker. There is a significant portion of population who like their world highly predictable with known outcomes. They relish in conformity and repeated processes. Changes disrupt their world.

You want change, but you’ve got a group that doesn’t want change with some unmotivated people in the mix. Manage and coach these people to align them with your strategy.

Others may feel de-motivated

Something in their environment offends them. They are mis-aligned. As a result, their attention is not fully on the job at hand, they certainly won’t take changes or take initiative. They may complain or even sport a “bad attitude.”

This can happen when one or more of their values are compromised in their job. It can happen many ways.

  • The company culture simply does not align with their values.
  • Any one of the engagement themes could be thwarted for them.
  • Their boss runs roughshod over their values.
  • Company values are played out in actions or behaviors from supervisors or management.

Now, imagine all the big decisions have to come to you. The big and small issues are brought to you to solve. No one wants to take initiative.

So, what do you do about unmotivated people?

Just like a sports coach on first day of practice. The coach will go through some variation of this process. As a business owner or professional, this process is part of your job.

First and foremost know yourself well.  Know what you want and why. Know your SWOT for yourself and your business or project. This will guide your decisions. It will align decisions with direction. It will align your statements with your actions.
Second, have a game plan. Also known as a business plan.
Third, know the roles you want filled. Know them well. Understand what talents and skills are required. Understand what will make a person successful in the role. Define the roles. Define the skills, attitudes, beliefs required to be successful. These roles are job descriptions, however they are more thought out than your typical job description and often shorter in length.
Fourth, You find out each player’s strengths, weaknesses, talents, blind spots, and attitudes. Then you learn their values and behavior preferences. You get to know them.
Fifth, get people in the right roles. In sports you can simply move people around. Sometimes in business you can do this but not often. So let people know what is happening and start slowly. Start with the obvious one and move through the roster.
Sixth, revisit it often. People change and so do roles and the business or project requirements.
Seventh, ties it all together–communication.  You must communicate what you want and why often. Communicate clearly every opportunity you get. Set the expectations for the decision making process. The communication process gives each person a guide to engage themselves in the company or project. One and done does NOT cut it here.

Failing to do your job as a leader can cost you

So failing to do a major portion of your job as a business owner or project lead you will incur costs in productivity that can stack up fast in wasted time, materials, effort, or poor decisions and disengagement. All costing you money  and success eventually.

This process takes work, skills and often different approaches to accomplish. During the process it is often helpful to have someone to talk it through with you. A person who understands the issues and guides you through the process.

Now what?

Give me a call or email me and let’s take 30 minutes and talk about what’s on your mind.

The first 30 minutes is always complimentary.

phil@PhilBride.com  or 503-753-9971