Motivational factors VS Type of work


Dear friends, in our previous articles we’ve discussed, that all people are different in motivational factors. There are few groups of pretty different motivational factors; and every person has his/her own dominants – one or two. Three is a maximum. All other motivators don’t matter at all for this person.

Today we’d like to talk about the fact, that type of a person’s motivator should correspond to a type of work performed by this person within his/her project.

Let’s draw a scheme for such a “spherical cow” – spherical project, spherical team.

The horizontal axis represents time, vertical represents a number of resources required for this project.

Motivational factors:

How many resources does a project need in the very beginning? It is clear that I do not expect a specific answer, like, “We need two people.” It very much depends on a project. But usually you don’t need many people. There should be people creating a prototype, a core, proving that the idea has a right to exist, this project has some future. So, these few people start working.

If the prototype “has worked”, if the idea is worth developing, the number of people begins to grow. That is, people in the early stage design a “skeleton”, and after that all other need to build up some “meat” on it.

And here we have a little more people to build it up with some specifics. And this is the time, whet “meat” starts to build up, later at the peak we are in a certain stable position, but in the very end we may not need so many people. It depends on how much support does the project require.

If we begin to capture markets, we may have added many people to our support team. Anyway, those would be a bit different people. That is, here the situation can develop in very different ways.

If we consider the different stages of the project — in fact, there are three: beginning, active work and support stage — what people do we need in different stages? What adjectives could characterize them?

If you think on this subject, most likely, you’d begin to formulate the following answers: in the beginning stage you need fast, creative, vigorous, lively minded people to check the ideas fast, to abandon false solutions and to invent new ones.

On the active work stage, when the “skeleton” is ready, probably you need people that are more methodical. Not explosive, not mad, but more calm and deliberate, reaching the goal steady and unavoidably as a panzer to create the best product.

On the support stage, you really don’t need someone proposing to redevelop it all from the ground. Here you need cool-headed and methodical people, who really enjoy scheduled work, for whom peace is one of the main motivators.

Type of work

The idea is that everything depends on your type of work.

Let’s say you hire a new person, you have a banking system, which is used in the entire financial market in your country since 1993. If we look at the structure, most likely, it’s a bunch of crutches wrapped with duct tape, historically developed architectural solutions. And your task is to strengthen this bunch of crutches. Let’s say, you hire a student with burning eyes, with a desire to change something in this world, to do something big — new Facebook, new Google… well, at least Twitter. You give him a screwdriver and say: “The crutch #3 is yours, buddy. Your task is strengthening it: tighten the screws every 2 centimeters. Don’t get confused.” The student will start to do it, but after some time he will come to you with a brilliant idea: “Hey, let’s change everything here, let’s rewrite everything from scratch.” It is not because he is stupid, not because he does not understand what business needs. This person simply has an inner need to do something big. His motivational factors are Achievements and Challenges. And the work assigned to him does not give him this opportunity. So eventually, he’d leave such job.

Second example. On the contrary, you have some start-up-like project or activity — very lively and dynamic. At nine P.M. you could get a call from a client with a brilliant idea: “Let’s put a button on the main page, it’ll bring us gazillion of text messages…” And you need people to get it done at nine P.M., and to get it done with joy. If you have an employee in your team, whose grandchildren wait for him every evening, who plans to close the laptop at six P.M. and take his grandson to a chess class or pick up his granddaughter from ballet, read them a book, etc. and you call him at nine P.M. to explain the client’s brilliant idea… Maybe this guy won’t refuse — once or twice. But after a while he’d start to look for a quieter job.

Type of a person should correspond to a type of work performed by this person.

Note, that we don’t mention the competence of the person and his skills. We are not talking about what he can do — we’re talking about what he wants to do.

Very often managers, guiding customer support or other entities performing routine work, come to our trainings and seminars. They say: “All those tips on hiring — not only from you, but also from other business coaches, — about necessity to hire superstars, result-oriented people, it’s all good. But I have a routine work, such people won’t come to work for me.”

And here we must clearly understand that the focus on results and technical intelligence are human qualities. It’s about an ability of a person, what he or she potentially can do. A willingness or unwillingness to engage in work that you personally seem routine — it’s about a desire. Ability and desire are two different things. Sometimes they are orthogonal.

Here’s a simple example. During my work in Intel my office neighbor was Valera — one of the smartest people I know. This is one of the founders of the very well-known open-source project. Valera knows several languages, he has a lucid mind. He comes home from work and starts to work on his open-source project, he has a bunch of different hardware at home. He goes to different conferences, he speaks in different European countries and so on. But he worked in the support team for seven years. I wondered: why? The man’s head is functioning remarkably, he creates things, that only a few people can create, but he worked in the support team. Why? Because he needed job to complete Safety and Balance motivators. Work gives him stability, financial “cushion” and ability to do what he likes — his open-source project.

It is clear that there is a minimal level of tasks intelligence. It is also clear that you won’t get such a person to click a mouse or fill in any forms of reports. But if you have some kind of intellectual routine work, such people could be extremely effective.

Friends! In this article we wanted to emphasize, that the type of your work, the type of team activities has to be heavily tied to the motivational factors of the team members — this way their resignation won’t be a surprise to you. Otherwise, people who are in this phase, will leave. If you are leading a team or you have a good relationships with those, who lead, you can at least sit and draw, estimate and start thinking what to do with people, what places to put them on, where these people would go. Where would you go yourself, if you realize your motivators and understand, that the project is moving in the wrong direction.

But the type of activity must comply with the motivational factors of the people, who are involved in this activity.

Friends! In the next article we would like to pick The Motivation to pieces from our point of view — what is motivation for different people. We’ll watch an excerpt from a very cool movie and use it to analyze The Motivation from our point of view.

We wish you all good luck and do not forget to put all of this into practice.

Alexander Orlov

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