Improve Commitment by Understanding the Personal Nature of Motivation

by Terry Petra

Decreasing turnover and increasing profits are a result of attracting, hiring, training, and retaining a productive staff that can effectively work together. However, an important factor that contributes to this is your understanding of the nature of personal motivation. This understanding is critical to achieving a realistic picture of your personal operating/management style, and it is equally important in determining “who” to hire, and “how” to train and manage them once they are on board with your firm.

Personal motivation is just that, it is personal. Therefore, in order to understand it, you must understand the person. As a starting point consider the findings of a longitudinal study by the National Science Foundation. This study concluded that:

The key to having employees who are both satisfied and productive is motivation, that is, arousing and maintaining the will to work effectively, having employees who are effective not because they are coerced but because they are committed.

Not only does this study underscore the importance individual commitment plays in personal motivation, likewise, my work with thousands of consultants over the last 30 years draws the same conclusion. This is particularly true for consistent top producers.

Short-term motivation (and therefore improved performance) can be generated through contests, awards, and incentives. However, in most instances these short-term performance improvements do not last because they typically fail to address the issue of long-term commitment. Consequently, if your understanding of personal motivation is limited to offering rewards and incentives, long-term performance improvement may be difficult to achieve.

Conversely, interfacing with your staff on a level that addresses their individual commitment positions you to effectively create an environment in which personal motivation can take hold. Therefore, the key is identifying that which fosters commitment – the deep-seated commitment that motivates an individual to achieve regardless of the difficultly.

Motivation Drivers

True commitment, the commitment that serves as a basis for personal motivation, stems from one or more of the following sources.

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