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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Individual Motivation Driven By Mutual Respect

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

By Malcolm Newman, KCTS Consultant

I have recently carried different types of Health Check assessments on 2 similar but very different manufacturing operations; the one striking thing they had in common was the positive motivation of their employees.

In both operations there was a spread of people who had recently joined the operations to those with 10 or more years experience within the business.

Neither business was paying any more than the market rate, conditions in the plants were relatively safe, healthy and clean; but you would not describe them as particularly good.

Yet nearly all of the people I talked to were enthusiastic about their work. They were keen to show what they did and how they did it. They certainly did not have best in class Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to help them explain what and how things worked.

The outstanding thing they shared was mutual respect.

The Management and Leadership respected people as individuals with knowledge and skills. The team members respected the Managers and Leaders for their position and responsibilities.

As I analysed there opinions and understanding of how thing worked I concluded that they listened to each other; when things were not working to plan or as expected  or they had ideas on improvements, they looked for and worked on solutions together.

There were no suggestion schemes or bonuses related to productivity as both managements considered this could be detrimental to quality and motivation. What both had was an openness to share ideas, the shifts supported each other with improvement ideas and they were not competing with each other.

Both operations went to considerable effort to communicate what was happening to the business, there were formal management presentations but most formal communication is through the immediate leaders but backed up by a visible and approachable management team who reinforced the values and policies of the organisation.

Both operations had faced challenges and knew that the external competition in their industry was tough. I think the thing that united these people and motivated them was that to survive and grow they had to do their best. What ever tasks they had to do they were aware of their customers needs and they did not intend to give the customer a bad or even slightly off specification product and they certainly did not like to see money being wasted. It all just makes common sense to them and as everyone in the team feels they are working together they enjoy getting the job done.

Thinking abut why they are so positively motivated I concluded that both operations are a great demonstration that true motivation comes from the way people are treated. Being done to by others as you would want to be treated yourself: Mutual respect.

Setting targets and personal milestones.

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Recently I participated in running a half marathon.  Before the half marathon I had been preparing, training regularly, eating the right food, drinking lots of water and generally trying to give myself the best opportunity to surpass my personal best target of 94 minutes, or 7 minutes and 10 seconds per mile.  To begin with I keep a training log, recording all my times, distance, feelings, diet, weight for training, then analysing the minutes per mile and the days between runs.  Previous to this half marathon, I had been running at a training rate of approximately 8 minutes per mile.  My personal best was achieved by running at a training rate of 7.5 minutes per mile.

To better my personal best, the evening before the race I established a ‘mental plan’.  I was busy learning my seven times table, as I set myself the target of running 7 minute miles’.  To achieve this I equipped myself with a digital watch and I was relying on mile markers around the course.  I started the race at what I believed to be a comfortable pace, unfortunately there were no mile markers until 4 miles so it was difficult to assess my initial ‘comfortable pace’.  I was surprised to discover though that at 4 miles my time was 28 minutes.  At this point I thought ‘great’, on time and I feel relatively comfortable.  I started to realise there were runners around me now who were at the same pace so I started to set myself some ‘short term’ targets of maintaining the pace by staying with them, at the same time my thoughts were also about ‘long term’ targets, and in my sights were some runners approximately 50 metres in front, who were maintaining the same pace as myself during this period of the race.  Setting these targets was important for me as they maintained my motivation and determination.  As I passed other runners this had a positive effect on my mental state.  I was almost counting the inverse – the number of people not passing me! As I achieved my targets this reinforced my positivity.  My intention was, that for the latter stages of the race, I would accelerate towards my ‘long term’ target.

My race upto 9 miles was comfortable to a degree, a little short of water, and I had some uncomfortable sores and blisters on both feet, but I was on target with 63 minutes achieved, and my mental state was one of remaining positive and determined.  Unfortunately after 9 miles my physical condition changed almost suddenly.  At the beginning of the race, I had altered my ‘mental plan’ at the last moment based on the weather conditions at the time.  I decided to wear an additional layer of clothing. This did not help with the lack of hydration as I was feeling extremely hot even on a cold, windy day at the end of February.  Anyway as I have mentioned my performance upto 9 miles was excellent, after 9 miles something happened to my legs – I lacked strength.  I felt I did not have the power to maintain the 7 minutes per mile rate, and rather than accelerate and power towards my long term targets, I had to settle for a pace for the last 4.1 miles at about 8.5 minutes per mile.  Mentally it was tough and demoralising seeing runners pass me, especially ones, in which a few miles earlier I had passed them – I tried to remain positive and determined as I did not want to stop.  I finished the race in a time of 98 minutes and 7 seconds, at a rate of 7.5 minutes per mile overall.

The one thing I enjoy about running is it allows me to think, without interruption.  Post the race I have reflected on my performance and when I began to think about my performance, and preparation, I began to make some comparison with how we perform and prepare for tasks at work, and how we feel.  What do we do when the going gets tough?  Do we change our plan and take the easy option?  Or are we persistent in following the plan? Do we try and maintain the same pace and injure ourselves, or do we adjust our objectives?

What did I personally learn?

1) I have the history and the data.  Was I realistic in setting my initial objectives?  I have to be more realistic !

2) I will not change my plan.  I wore an additional shirt.  This caused me to overheat.  Create and follow my race plan – pre, during and post.

3) Even when things become difficult try and remain positive and enjoy the small successes.

4) Don’t become arrogant – Past Success does not guarantee Future Success!

5) Continue to monitor, learn and review my performance – improve!

The next time I test my learning is on the 28th March for the Liverpool Half Marathon – lets see!



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