I remember being inspired by a Maths teacher who once told me, “If you start loving the mental stimulation and excitement you get when solving a problem, mathematics is easy.” He did not try to inspire me by the grades I must achieve, but by something more deeper. That did not change the fact that I still needed to score well but now, scoring well was a by-product of chasing the stimulation and excitement.
The practice of business is driven by hard stuff. We need more revenues, better margins, higher utilization, more leads, strategic diversification, differentiation, operational efficiency, lower attrition, strategic focus, branding et al. For a business, these are crucial but..
…but on their own, they often fail to really inspire people.
That is because people’s needs are different than a businesses’ need. People often look for being a part of a larger vision. They want to be valued when they deliver value. They want to be respected for who they are. They need to constantly see the meaning of their work. They want to be understood. They look for learning and growth. They need a conducive space to perform. They need independence. They want to be cared for before they care for the work. They need love, belongingness, trust, honor, honesty and purpose. All extra-ordinary human accomplishments have their roots in some of these virtues.
In business as well, we need more intrinsic motivation. We need to address precisely those things that inspire human beings. We need to create an environment where people can thrive.
We need to humanize our leadership approaches and communication to build a system where intrinsic motivation is more likely to happen.
Hard stuff then, is the by-product of doing the right things for right reasons.