Originally posted on October 26, 2013 @ 9:35 AM
Why do people not do as they are told? When all the rules, codes of practice and standards in safety are clear and the procedures are plain, why do people not follow them? So much of what is done on safety is punitive. For example, the new WHS Act raises the bar yet again for non-compliance in a range of ways. Why is it that so much energy is spent on the stick and so little is invested in the carrot when it comes to safety and managing risk?
Its not rocket science, if a person is not motivated to do something, it may be possible to get compliance and obedience but, not ownership and certainly not excellence. Compliance without ownership lasts as long as the cop can stay on the beat.
People know that when a child is very young and powerless it seems like the child will do anything, follow any command, later as the child learns to be independent they learn to express defiance, non-cooperation and passive aggression. It’s actually a delusion to think you can make anyone do anything against their will. Someone may comply for the moment due to coercion but action without ownership is pointless. All the evidence from war and prison camps indicate that coercion, brutality and power only work in the short term and are unsustainable.
People under oppression will fight to the death rather than surrender to an imperial power, they will break down their aggressor through guerrilla tactics, non-cooperation, passive aggression and subversion. If people are not motivated to work with you or at least tolerate you, they tend to work against you.
So what is motivation? How can people be motivated, to follow rules, manage risk and develop ownership?
- The first essential in motivating others is climate/culture/environment. Without a climate of acceptance, learning, belonging, respect and integrity there is little change that anyone will be motivated. This is developed through an understanding of self and listening to others.
- The second essential is an emphasis on learning. Organisations which don’t emphasise learning are usually not learning organisations. When you have a moment some time, look through your organisations documentation and do a search for the use of the word “learn”.
- The third essential in motivation others is being long-sighted rather than short sighted. Actions which gain compliance in the short term but resentment over the long term result from self-focused gain not sustainable well-being. Longsightedness is the result of vision, those who can imaging where we are going and communicate it well inspire others.
- The fourth essential is knowing that motivation can be both extrinsic and intrinsic. Intrinsic (internal) motivation or self motivation is most powerful and extrinsic motivation (external) depends on others and is tied to an external pay-off. If the pay-off stops, the motivation decreases.
- The fifth essential in motivation is “readiness” (state of desire). Helping people to mature and catching them at a state of readiness, is the key to development, change and learning.
- The sixth essential is organisation, meaning and purpose. People are rarely motivated by chaos and meaningless, people who feel secure and positive are easily motivated. The key here is setting desirable and achievable goals.
- The seventh essential to motivate others is diminished anxiety. People under distress (not stress) tend to operate out of their “shadow”, their least preferred capacity and skill. Looking over one’s shoulder for the policeman may motivate compliance but the anxiety associated with the strategy drives mistakes through anxiety rather than effective concentration.
- The eight essential in motivation is to meet the needs and wants of the other. Maslow discovered that fulfilling the fundamental hierarchy of need is required before people can be motivated.
- The ninth essential for motivation is positive reinforcement. There is nothing more motivational than recognition, acknowledgement, respect and trust.
- The tenth essential to motivate others is an understanding of human thinking, judgement and decision making and, people skills to act on that understanding.
The only question to ask now is, are you motivated?