Category: Best Practice

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive, Daniel PinkI’ve been trying to finish the book, “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink, which gives great insights about the things that motivate employees and team members. It argues against the use of the “carrot and stick” as an approach to identifying employee motivation – that employees are driven by avoiding negative consequences of their actions as well as motivated by rewards (e.g. raise) to work more, if not work better.

I’m unsure about the accuracy of this assumption, as that may actually depend on the context. If you’re earning minimum wage and do not have a lot of social safety net, what other factors are there to motivate you to work harder?

And so what jumped out at me is the assertion that employers have to take out the debate over salary first, and perhaps foremost, before asking what will motivate employees to work harder and contribute more to the growth of the business. That means employers should ensure that they are paying their workers what is actually owed them–that employees are paid a decent  amount on which they can live decently.

It doesn’t make sense that employees are asked to buy into the company culture, its brand and everything that it’s supposed to stand for if they can’t live decently on their wages. And once that is dealt with, then employers and leaders can start asking themselves what will motivate members of their teams to work harder and work better.

The author asserts that when questions around pay is addressed, what motivates employees are the following:

  • Autonomy – the desire to be self-directed, where one works harder because one is engaged as opposed to because one has to comply
  • Mastery – the desire to be better at one does and acquire more skills that complement what’s already there
  • Purpose – the desire to do something that has meaning and importance to the employee. I think this is where buy-in into culture, values, and purpose is categorised.

The following video is a great summary of the book and is a great guide for managers and leaders:

How to Use Business Intelligence Intelligently

Research firm Gartner Inc. has predicted that in two years, more than thirty-five percent of the world’s top 5000 companies will make significant decision errors about business and market growth. On the flip-side of the coin, internal decision-making will encounter roadblocks as the results of incorrect or incomplete information because employees often get bogged down when it comes to reporting the minutiae of their day-to-day work. In fact, it is not surprising to find that among the largest global corporations, there are some people that stick to age-old data gathering, reporting and analysis by spreadsheets. The challenge is in how to wean organizations from the old ways of dealing with business intelligence.

When business intelligence is not smart enough to survive in today’s environment, it is time to rethink Business Intelligence strategies – here are some tips.

Capability Model of the People for the People by the People

Many organizations’ practices have matured over time particularly in the area of software engineering. However, practitioners observed that workers must appreciate their roles and responsibilities in the larger organization. This is where P-CMM comes in. Human resources and workforce managers used to hire workers on the strength of technical knowledge alone; but in order to harness the technical knowledge of workers into tangible products (for example: a piece of software), managers have realized that staff development within the company must be compatible with internal process improvements.

In a nutshell, it means helping workers help top managers steer project processes according to current and target capability levels and project directions, as well as providing a framework for optimizing employee competencies for greater measurable value. For human resources and worker development practitioners, P-CMM serves as a framework for developing employees from mere knowledge workers to knowledge managers.

To do so, it is important to always revisit P-CMM’s five-level capability architecture. Most organizations with little to no established internal processes, aside perhaps from those related to administrative matters, manage employee development in mostly ad-hoc fashion where workers are designated to positions and projects without much consideration for the impact on the long-term vision of the company.

Read the rest on ExecutiveBrief: Why is People Capability Maturity Model Necessary?

The 7 Essentials of Highly Successful Project Initiations

Seasoned project managers know that successful projects most often start with successful beginnings. In fact, before actual project implementation, the mix of the project, people, tools, and approaches could either spell success… or disaster. Thus, it is important to set and manage the expectations of all project stakeholders because how they will perform their roles and responsibilities, or achieve desired outcomes and other motivational factors depend on what they know about the venture.

Project Initiation is that critical stage of the project where information about the nature of the project, why the project exists, who is involved, and how the project will be delivered must be laid down. Meri Williams, author of “The Principles of Project Management” (2008) cites seven best practices for a successful project initiation. Let us pick up and expand upon her seven best practices:

On ExecutiveBrief: The 7 Essentials of Highly Successful Project Initiations
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