How do you get people to move mountains for you?
I have spent the last few months pondering this very question. You’ve probably been known to volunteer hours of your time and skills helping build something you believe in. And you’ve probably also been known to feel uninspired to work on paid projects - if you felt undervalued.
What’s at the core of this motivation?
I’ve been thinking about people (especially millennials) in the workplace – what makes someone satisfied and pushes them to do their very best work? What inspires an employee to use their talents to build an organization? What drives volunteers to work tirelessly for a cause?
What I came up through my research and thinking back over my own experiences may surprise you. Most people are not motivated most by money. People – particularly millennial workers (including myself) – are instead motivated by:
- a feeling that they’re contributing to something bigger; something that is growing and has the potential to go all the way
- an understanding that their contributions whether small or large truly matter to the organization’s outcomes
- a feeling that their contributions are appreciated and recognized by those in charge
If you are currently working to build a productive army of workers in a large organization, your small business or movement, you have to keep this in mind.
Sidebar – Millennials are the largest growing sector of our workforce comprising 80 million people, followed closely by Baby Boomers who comprise 76 million workers in the U.S.
Millenials have been labeled egotistical, spoiled, lazy, entitled, and ungrateful. And in some cases, that is true. But millennials can also be creative, innovative, hard-working and passionate.
I am considered a millennial as I was born in 1981. I haven’t always completely identified with millennials because I’ve owned a business and worked for myself for so long. However I have at some point I became obsessed with optimal performance – how can we do more together?
The bottom line is this: everyone just wants to matter. Young people especially want to know that their contributions matter, and that you understand how their talents are helping you to grow your business or your movement. People want to know that you know that you couldn’t achieve your own goals without them.
Because if you want to move mountains (I know I do!), more than likely you are going to need others to help you. And if you are able to crack open the power of people – especially millennial workers – you can potentially unleash a passionate and skilled person who is willing work their ass off for you – if you just know what to do.
How do you do it? Here are a few ways:
Show people that they matter. At the end of the day, all people (and millennials are no exception) want to matter. They want to know that their contributions make a difference to the larger organization or team. Knowing that you matter is validating and boosts morale. So be demonstrative with your praise and expressive with your gratitude.
Just be nice. Don’t bark orders or insult when you don’t get what you want. Be nice. Be courteous. Even if you are extremely powerful, don’t talk to those on your team like they are idiots just because they are young and/or they make mistakes. Now to be clear, I’m not advocating pampering. Not at all. But please don’t treat your people like “the help”.
Thank publicly. Author and Master Coach John C. Maxwell says that you can create compounded goodwill when you publicly thank people for the contributions they are making to your work. It’s great to pull someone aside and tell them you appreciate them. But it’s better when you recognize your people in front of others. If you can, make an effort to thank your team members in person, in front of their peers. It goes a really long way.
Ask them what they think. It’s one thing to ask a person to do something for you – another thing entirely to ask them which course of action you should take. While I’m all about learning from others, I find myself more motivated when my expertise is honored and I’m included on strategic thinking from the beginning. Don’t loop me in just to execute what you thought up. I have ideas that I want to share, too.
Provide Access. Especially if you can’t pay someone, provide access to your own network and the opportunities that come your way. If you have the opportunity to lunch with a VIP, invite one of your team members along so that they can also meet new people and grow their network. If you don’t feel comfortable providing access to your network, give your team members access to you. Offer your time, offer your expertise as a mentor, offer perks that come your way (pro game tickets, invitations to events, etc).
Sometimes, people just need a small token to keep them excited invigorated for the day-to-day work.
Share the Wealth. If many opportunities come your way – more than you can handle – recommend your mentees for those opportunities if you think they can handle it. For example, if you attract a speaking opportunity to do a conference keynote, can you suggest your mentee to be a panelist for the event, too? If you can’t pay a team member to do your social media, can you – for example – suggest them for freelance social media consulting on another paying project that comes across your desk? Whatever you have, be generous and share the wealth.
You’ll reap the return investment tenfold.
What motivates you to work your ass off? Please share in the comments below. Thank you.