Henry Camp told a parable about his own experience in trying to motivate people, in particular his sales staff. I cannot do the story justice, so I won't. Henry is a great storyteller, and he's always given off a warm, humble-but-understanding vibe. Maybe that's his Louisville roots.
What he found has been repeated in many stories and business books over the years, but Henry learned it the hard way. People are motivated by money ... until they aren't. He's seen pretty strong evidence that even top salespeople are only motivated by income for so long. Their sales peak at some level, and then sales swing up and down, but never as high as their first peak. There are all sorts of reasons for this, one of which is that fear takes over and they spend more energy on maintaining existing customers in lieu of seeking new customers. Henry even suggested that people can become demotivated if they think they are being paid more than they are worth. Some of this conversation dovetailed with Justin Roff-Marsh's discussion of a sales machine (my comments), but not all of it.
What it comes down to is the question of how to motivate people without using money to bribe them. He described six steps or necessary conditions:
- Build trust. Listen to people and act on what you've heard. If you (the boss) are perceived as a jerk, people will leave, regardless of your true intentions. He also described some thinking he's done around the direction of enhancing anti-fragility for people and organizations - including some TOC injections like reducing WIP.
- Enjoying the job. Another element that enhances anti-fragility, find ways to help people grow in personal satisfaction. Does the job fit their personality and preferences? Are there drivers in the organization that force people to work against each other, instead of with each other? How to check: would you go out bowling with your colleagues?
- Autonomy. Align authority with responsibility. These next three are the subject of Dan Pink's writing on motivation in Drive.
- Mastery. Allow people to become experts.
- Purpose. Help people understand how they contribute to the goal.
- And finally, Pay fairly.