7 Principles of motivation from the world of finance

checkbookMotivation is intensely personal, innately practical, and incredibly fragile. Unlike accelerator pedals or throttle controls which can be mechanically manipulated and malfunctions repaired objectively, motivation is more an art than a science. Humans are predictably unpredictable. We do not always respond the same way to the same stimuli.

 But we are unique and there are general principles that govern everyone even if there are personal peculiarities that seem to contradict. How those principles are put into practice depends upon us as leaders and managers. The customization and personalization that must be made for the end user (the associate, employee, or staff member) requires skill and experience. The response made by our associates, employees, and staff members depends on the conditions present at the moment, those conditions that lead up to that moment, and the oft secret feelings within us.

 I do not want to sound pessimistic or fatalistic. Motivation and our ability to unlock it is a primary function of leadership. Reread my posts on this subject and a common thread is woven through them all. Effective leaders and managers know with whom they work and what trips their trigger. Therefore, motivation is as much relational as it is institutional or procedural. It certainly must never become gimmicky.

 In many ways I associate it with financial principles. By that I mean it is very much like negotiating a sale, maintaining a bank account, and managing personal finances. In explaining these principles I can honestly say, it is not the money it is the principle. The same principle that apply to building wealth financially find their parallel in building a lucrative relationship with those with whom we work…and with family and friends.

 This next set of articles will address the following seven principles borrowed from the banking and finance industry and applied with some adaptation to the challenge of motivation. Every relationship, those at work included, is a bank account. You can have one with deep reserves upon which you can draw, or you can be bouncing checks every day. The choice is yours.

 Here are the principles:

  1. The principle of good faith
    • How to build a line of credit with those who work with and for you
  2. The principle of deposits
    • You gotta put something in the account before you can take it out
  3. The principle of foreign exchange
    • Make transactions with the currency of the domain
  4. The principle of promissory notes
    • Be certain you can keep your promise, fulfill your obligations, meet expectations
  5. The principle of systems and controls
    • How to maintain accountability up and down, back and forth
  6. The principle of capitalization
    • How to absorb losses and “fund” new ventures
  7. The principle of risk management
    • How to play smart

  This all begins on Monday. See you then.