If you listened to Podcast Episode 05, Being Motivational, you know the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. And if you did, here’s a little refresher because probably a lot has happened between then and now.
Extrinsic motivators are rewards we get for doing something, they come from outside of us. Pay, bonuses, ice cream, pizza, reinforcement, recognition, praise, promotions, happy hours. Intrinsic motivators are those that come from within us, the act of doing something is in itself, rewarding. For example, you love to organize, you organize, without anyone having to buy you pizza (though if they do, hey bring it on).
Examples of intrinsic motivators are mastery, doing something purposeful/meaningful, using our strengths, being autonomous, and achieving goals.
Goals are intrinsically motivating. We want to accomplish goals. Benchmarks and expectations have been proven time and time again to improve performance.
If you want more engagement and motivation starting tomorrow (or you can also start today if you want) then set effective goals. Generate energy with your team around a common challenge.
Goals help us to achieve results. If we want higher quality, we set a goal to attain higher levels of quality. If we want to increase production, reduce customer complaints, or create more employee engagement—we set goals.
If I tell you to stop whatever you are doing right now, and go run around the building you are in (office, home, Starbucks, gym = most convenient), you would do so in a certain amount of time. Let’s say that was 6 minutes. If I told you that the last person did it in 4, and you get a chance to improve your time—most of you would. The goal would increase your performance. Ah, that competitive spirit shines through!
But beware, not all goals are motivating. If I told you to run around the building in 2 minutes, you’d probably be like, “no.” If I said do it in 5 minutes and 58 seconds, you’d be like, “Um okay” (like why the random 2 second adjustment?).
Goals need to be crafted effectively. They need to be discussed collaboratively (because after all, what if you don’t WANT to run around the building, what if you think it’s a dumb goal, with no relevance to your life and work)?
I know, so let’s explore how.
Chances are, you’ve heard of SMART goals. If not, it’s an acronym for goal development in a way that makes goal more effective and meaningful.
Locke & Latham were two chaps that did research on the value and benefits of goals, and their goal setting principles are reflected in the SMART acronym.
- Clarity: need to be specific enough to drive actions
- Challenge: find the sweet spot, too easy = boredom, impossible = frustration which can lead to apathy; find the stretch goal that prompts some (not too much) stress
- Commitment: means discussion and buy-in; have a dialogue to shape goals
- Feedback: provide regular ongoing feedback on goal progress and achievement
- Task Complexity: create goals around things that are challenging and complex
We want to incorporate these principles into goal development, and of course the SMART acronym helps us to do that.
SMART goals are awesome because they help us to craft goals well, and goals give us a benchmark, something to strive for. What’s sometimes challenging about many organizational goals, is that employees understand the results they are to accomplish but lack the connection to the day to day work to achieve them.
So what I also want to highlight is the difference between Performance and Learning Goals.
Performance is about the outcomes; this is what we typically measure. They commonly answer, “Did we perform better or not?” Learning is about engaging the mind to enhance performance. It is a way to engage others in the meeting of the performance goals through understanding and action. Both are meaningful and important. Learning goals help us to reach performance goal (i.e., do more of this!).
Let’s say we are missing important project deliverables in our team. We could set the following goals:
- Lame Goal: Improve timeliness of project deliverables.
- Performance Goal: Improve timeliness on project deliverables by 5% in the next 60 days. (Which is also SMART)
- Learning Goal: Identify 2 obstacles that affect project timeframes in the next 30 days.
Performance goals are about the results we want, improving timeliness. Learning goals help us to achieve the performance goals, in this case, understanding obstacles. They move us towards the results by connecting actions and learning to the overall goal.
If your organization has performance goals, financial, sales, service, production, quality, etc. focus on learning goals in your team. Additionally, engage your team in the development of learning goals. Learning goals lend themselves to collaboration. They lend themselves to teamwork.
In this experience we are engaging employees in the attainment of the goal by learning about the causes and possible solutions to achieve the goal. We are also strengthening problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Here’s another example at a larger organizational scale.
Let’s say your company has a goal to increase revenue and there are 500 people in the organization, probably about 480 of those would be a bit confused about how they contribute to the goal. Particularly if they are in an operational role or service goal (i.e., not direct sales).
Still because we’re the leader, it’s our role to connect these dots, and engage our team in achieving the organizational goals, but how?
Here’s an example:
- Your organizational has a sales goal of increasing revenue to 10% by year end.
- Your team is responsible for service.
- Your team is like, “Yo how am I supposed to increase revenue?”
- You’re like, “Yo, not sure” (said in your head, not out loud, because yo, you’re the boss).
- Team = doesn’t contribute, you eat more donuts because you’re stressed and thinking that someone from SENIOR MANAGEMENT might ask how your team is doing on supporting the revenue goal.
- You learn about learning goals. You pivot your thinking.
- Because you know that complaints lead to dissatisfaction. They reduce customer loyalty. You want to increase it and you can in your service center.
- You engage your team in developing learning goals. Here’s what you come up with:
- Our team will reduce complaints because we know that complaints create dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction leads to customer attrition. It takes more energy and effort to win new customers than retain current ones. So, we will reduce complaints in our area.
Learning Goals (these goals are cascaded to individuals, or partners or however you’d like to distribute them….and they are sequenced):
- Identify the top two most common customer complaints by x date.
- Research two solutions for each of the complaints that would aid in the resolution of these complaints by x date.
- Determine the best way to train our team on the new process, practices by x date.
- Assess progress towards improving complaint resolution by x date.
This experience engages your team in problem solving, teamwork, and supports the larger organizational goals.
Everyone is happy and lives happily ever after.
So the big question is, what goal could you engage your team in tomorrow that would have the biggest positive impact on improving performance?