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April 2013

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 Why Extrinsic Motivation Doesn't Produce Lasting Results

Extrinsic motivation is the motivation we experience that has its source from outside factors. Some examples might include the performance measures on a job description; the yap yap fire up speech from a motivational speaker; a child being sent to the naughty corner in order to improve behaviour. Not right or wrong in themselves but they are essentially external measures, used to exert pressure to improve performance. 

Intrinsic motivation on the other hand is that which is internally derived. It’s all about tapping into the person we are dealing with (or ourselves for that matter), finding their core drivers and gearing our approach around these. While extrinsic factors have their merits (and work to some extent), the intrinsic produces a more thorough, long term result in the people we work with.  

Case Study

A salesperson was running under budget with no real focus, direction or motivation. Management pulled her in, addressed the issue, giving her three months to begin performing and to reach budget. They committed to doing everything possible to assisting the employee in raising performance with the employee feeling they had the full support for the shift required. 

I met with the salesperson and the extrinsic measures had been effective. With cage rattled they had made some significant changes to their approach and were grateful for the support of management. 

Approaching the conversation from the understanding that the new motivation the employee was experiencing needed to last a lot longer than ninety days, I went through the following process which might be helpful as you work with your employees. (You will notice the advanced method I used in doing this!!! - I simply ask 'WHY'?and then question to a void).
    • Me:"Why is your job important to you?" 
    • Salesperson (SP): "I want to pay my mortgage out"
    • Me: "Why is that important?"
    • SP: "It's the source of conflict in my marriage"
    • Me: "Why?"
    • SP: "Well, my family is really important to me"
    • Me: "Why?"
    • SP: "I want my kids to have what I didn't have"
    • Me: "Why is that important?"
    • SP: "Well, I did sport as a kid but I want my kids to have the opportunity to advance academically - thus I need the money"
  • Once reaching this point, I could see what the intrinsic motivation was providing for her children's education. This was her highest value in life, the motivator for everything she did and if we know anything about values - we live life in direct proportion to what we value.
  • One of the interesting side notes was that money was a very low value for her but family the highest (keep that in mind as you read on)
  • I then asked her to do the following:
    • To write down on a card how much money she would make from reaching budget 
    • To then write down the amount of money to be earned if she blew past her budget at another three levels above - (I was resetting the benchmark here)
    • Against the monetary figures to then write down how she would use these monthly amounts to bless her family
  • The exciting thing about this case study was she 'got it' as we talked. I could see the lights go on
In summary...
  • Her employer used external motivation factors which certainly had an immediate effect
  • To gain a longer term effect that would last after the ninety day period, I then found out what her highest life value was which was her children
  • I then ascertained the priority/value of money for her - very low
  • I then went through a process of showing her that her personal earning from reaching budget and beyond was connected to her highest value - family.
  • When a low value is connected to our highest value it increases the intrinsic motivation 
Creating an intrinsic motivation platform, where people see today’s work for you in light of tomorrows future for them, will create higher levels of performance and see them stay around a lot longer than those who simply employ the external process of raising performance. 

If you need a hand with the low tide of motivation within any of your employees just let me know. 

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Life On the Plateau of Small Thinking

There are many  forces that prevent us from progression, the major enemy being Small Thinking. Whether you are in a small, medium or large sized business; on the tools, at the desk or on the 50th floor, the power of what we think will either keep us located exactly where we find ourselves now or will propel us up new mountains.

Here are some observations:
  • We become our most central thoughts
  • We were born to progress, not to retreat
  • The unseen realm of thoughts eventually manifests itself in the seen 
  • What we embrace with our mind actualises over time
  • Where we are now is exactly the place our thoughts have brought us
  • Small Thinking simply keeps us small – personally and in our businesses
Enlarged Thinking requires:
  • Vision. We need to take time to see the next mountain to climb
  • Clarity. That vision needs to be very clear in our mind 
    • What does the journey look like?
    • What obstacles will be experienced?
    • What are the milestones along the way to know we are progressing – to know we are on the right path?
    • What does reaching the top mean in terms of results?
  • Action. Intention keeps us stationary, action gets us moving
  • Fear and Failure. Two friends that keep us company on the journey. Fear means we’re trying something new and failure is simply part of the success equation. Risk is what grows us
  • Discernment. Trust your instinct. Listen to your own ‘voice’. Be discerning in the other voices you listen to. Find someone else who has travelled a similar path before you and hang on to their coat tails if you can
  • Investment. If you don’t invest, your growth returns will be negligible 
  • Reward. At each milestone juncture and when you reach the top, reward yourself and your team
To climb the mountain in front of us or to stay on the plateau is a decision we must make. If you don’t act, you’ve inadvertently made a decision to stay where you are. If you act, it’s onwards and upwards. 

Good luck!
The Cellar Notes
Morning Drinks

OK. I’m not promoting starting drinking at ten o’clock in the morning but there is one drink that fits the category of a great morning drink especially at this time of year. Its called Calvados.

It is a wonderful French apple brandy made from specially grown and selected apples. The apples are pressed into a juice, worked through a process and then aged for a minimum of two years. Obviously the longer maturation period, the smoother it becomes. 

Either straight up, mixed with Champagne or poured over apple sorbet as a palate cleanser between courses, Calvados is worth trying. Great in summer or winter and any time of day or night. 
On The Lighter Side

Whilst in the US late last year, I treated myself to a relaxation massage – the first one I had ever had in my life. Since then I've had a number of them.

I recently stayed at a five star hotel that had a spa as part of the complex. It was very professional in all respects and my first experience of the male version of the paper G-String. (interesting!!!) I enjoyed a wonderful two hour massage from a Brazilian female masseuse.

Half way through I was asked to roll over onto my back so she could do the front of me. As things progressed, the woman started telling me stories of various requests she had had (and rejected) from male customers. ( I realised my naivety when she couldn't believe I didn't know what a ‘happy ending’ was). As the conversation progressed fear started to grow in me. I realised that if I didn't change the topic and change it quickly, the prospect of a ‘male reaction’ to the discussion (and lying face up for that matter) was becoming an embarrassing realisation.

Fortunately, I quickly steered the topic in another direction, fear eroded and ended ‘very happily’ –for both the masseuse and I. 

In This Issue:
Ray Hodge is the Director of Ignite Business Consulting. He speaks and consults to businesses & organisations, a notable event being the Department of the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet.

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