Sunday, January 14, 2007

Motivation through play

You can motivate people if they can see how what you want them to do is FUN. Output and employee productivity seem to be defined by the creative capacity of the manager or leader to describe the problem or issue to be solved in terms of a puzzle or challenge for the individual to solve. In finance it may be the analysis of a balance sheet, ROI calculations, valuations…all estimates playing with a set of numbers in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is a toy, not a tool, to play. The investigative journalist is essentially satisfying their instinctive curiosity, digging through real world records and files, to uncover something previously unknown. For graphicists, it’s a matter of scientific archaeology, digging around the stacks of physics and math to see what we can use as a starting point for modeling real world behaviors. Implementing these ideas, exploring the various options, to get something that looks and feels as intended.

You’ll know when you’ve succeeded because you will see a rapid acceptance of ownership of the idea by the individual. Leadership in this sense is not so much a manager but a chief inspiration officer, delegating these challenges to the folks that are interested in actualizing themselves. The tool for this is the following algorithm:

[a] task to be accomplished
[b] motivational profile of employee (what interests them: math, public speaking, programming, proving you wrong)
[c] describe [a] in terms of [b] with a reasonable deadline to solve the problem
[d] track progress and speak in terms of [b].

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