A Lesson in Motivation

An inspiring article on NPR’s Morning Edition described how a small-time community orchestra has been energized by the prospect of doing the debut performance of a famous composer’s latest work. It also contained critical insights for business leaders wanting to get the best out of employees and teams:

  • Find people with internal motivation--who are willing to work even if they are not rewarded with fame or fortune.
  • Present a team of such people with an objective they all recognize as important and beyond the reach of any one of them individually.
  • Convince them that there is a chance, however remote, of this particular set of people collaborating to achieve this objective. Small modifications to the objective may be required.
  • Have a plan which includes the participation of every member of the team.
  • Have contingency plans, because you cannot anticipate every outcome.
  • Ensure the cooperation of every participant, according to their abilities and desires, in achieving the goal.
  • Invest, personally, in the group's execution.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

I don’t think this is easy in business. Indeed, in music and even in sports, there are standard structures for collaboration, traditions passed from generation to generation, and even specialized languages to support getting the best out of teams. In business, especially entrepreneurial, high-technology business, such support seems to be lacking or undergoing constant change.

Tags: Business, Philosophy

Updated at: 19 October 2005 10:10 AM

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