Most teams and individuals experience frustration and apathy soon after setting a goal. Organizations expel huge amounts of energy, time, money and ideas in the pursuit of goals that in a matter of weeks, lose momentum for lack of engagement within the team. I believe that we can execute smarter when we keep the brain in mind. This means we know what motivates and engages employee behaviour towards our ideas and goals. This requires that we ignite 3 major drivers of their social experience - ‘Status’, ‘Certainty’ and ‘Autonomy’.
Status - concerns the achievements we make
Certainty - concerns being able to predict the future
Autonomy - gives us a sense of control over events
This happens when we set and achieve goals that are:
1. Influenceable - heightening autonomy. This is when individuals on a team have a say in how they can impact the achievement of the goal. In other words, their behaviour has an effect on the overall goal. We heighten their autonomy, an important social need of the brain.
2. Predictable – heightening certainty means when a team knows what it takes to reach the goal. In other words, when they can anticipate that the objectives set will impact weekly results, we heighten their certainty, an important social need of the brain.
3. Measurable - heightening status. When a team knows how they are going in achieving an outcome, relative to where they are now, the goal is measurable. If they are making continual improvement or progress towards it, we heighten one’s sense of achievement or status, an important social need of the brain.
This framework sets up the ‘how’ to achieving the goal. It also overcomes 3 universal obstacles every individual on a team comes up against. These obstacles can hugely impact team engagement and individual performance:
1. Do I actually matter?
All employees have specific needs -- not simply desires but actual needs -- that they are seeking to fulfill in their workplace on a daily basis. One of these is significance. They need to feel important or valued in who they are and in what they do. No involvement = no engagement.
2. Are the activities I am engaged in linked with meaning?
The ‘why’ in any human being drives all ‘how’. Purpose must precede the goal or objectives.
3. Am I actually progressing?
Whenever a staff member experiences progress in the workplace, they feel motivated because they are producing meaningful work. A major contributor to low productivity and motivation in today’s workplace is lack of progress.
According to one of Harvard’s professors and author of the book ‘The Progress Principle’, Teresa Amabile, of all the positive events that influence an employee at work, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work.
Watch out for the Part 2 on how to create goals that your team and organization will actually accomplish.
Ben works with:
- leaders in organisations to influence behaviour (Presenteeism, Absenteeism, Under performing staff, Demotivated Teams, Constructive Feedback & Performance Reviews) so that they can double their results.
- individuals at work become aware of the skill sets and behaviors to achieve world class performance. These include both staff and leaders maximize performance at a personal and career level thereby transforming workplaces and creating excellence for both the person and the organization itself.