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Welcome to the first CaroliNews of the year! I hope you had a great start in 2018 and that you are still inspired to achieve your dearest goals of the year. Remember: we still have 11 months to go :-).

I continue my challenge to write every month about a word following the alphabet. We discovered the letters A to L in 2017, so it’s time for the letter ”M” this month!

There is such a great selection of inspiring words starting with ”M”, like mathematics ;-), message, miracle, magnet, measurability, magic, money… don’t worry, I’ll stick to one word. You may even have guessed from reading the title what it would be… yes, MOTIVATION!!!

If we zoom in, we can even see the words MOTIVE and A(C)TION in it. The latin roots of MOTIVE come from the word ”movere” (to move). Since the early 1500s, it has evolved to mean ”that which inwardly moves a person to behave a certain way”. And this behavior is transformed into action.

Did you know that the last Gallup survey (from 2013) on this topic revealed that on average only 13% of employees are engaged at work worldwide? The rest (87%!) is whether not engaged or actively disengaged. Of course, there are differences from one country to another but the overall low percentage of engaged employees appears to be signs of wasted time and resources, of lost business opportunities, of bad work climate, etc. And I’m convinced that all these things could be turned around with an ”inspired leadership” :-).

Let’s have a closer look at your own MOTIVATION with an exercise. I suggest you do it with a colleague, a friend or your spouse. One person is A and the other one is B. If you do it alone, make sure you write down your answers.

1. A asks B: ”Why is it important for you to go to work everyday?” (I assume that you go to work everyday here. You can adapt the question here if it is not the case but it needs to start with ”why is it important for you to…?”).
2. B answers – Answer 1
3. A asks B: ”Why is it important for you to (here you use Answer 1)?”
4. B answers – Answer 2
5. A asks B: ”Why is it important for you to (here you use Answer 2)?”
6…. and so on until the question has been asked and answered 5 times overall.

Maybe it feels a bit annoying to answer these ”why” questions over and over again (I’m sure your kids would love this game). Still, what you will find in the end is your core MOTIVATION. The real reason behind why you get up early every morning to go to work.

Have you noticed something else? How have you expressed your answers? Was it of the type:

X) It’s important for me to go to work everyday because I don’t want to lose my job, because I couldn’t pay my bills, because I don’t want to end up with large debts, etc.
Y) It’s important for me to go to work everyday because I meet new challenges, because I want to obtain a promotion, because I learn a lot, because I feel alive, because it bring be joy… ?

Have you noticed that patterns X and Y are different? X is motivated by avoiding pain or preventing problems… while Y’s basic MOTIVATION is focused on achieving joy or reaching a goal. These patterns (X: ”away from” and Y: ”towards”) represent the basic motivations that we as human beings have. Which pattern describes you best from this exercise? Note that in the end X and Y may arrive at the same destination at the same time but the intention of the ”movement” is different.

There are also outer factors that can determine the level of motivation at work. Here are some examples:

* You are empowered by your manager to use and develop your skills and competencies
* There is clarity at work: e.g. in the communication, in the allocation of tasks, in the goals set
* You obtain constructive feedback from your manager and colleagues, so you are being seen, recognized and appreciated – BIG POINT HERE!
* There is a climate of respect and trust (e.g. employees are involved in decisions). These values are lived on a daily basis and they don’t need to be written in the glossy corporate brochure ;-).

These examples seem quite straightforward, still they must be missing in so many workplaces if we trust the statistics mentioned above…

As always, I appreciate when you let me know your thoughts about the topic of the month. This time, I am particularly curious: on average, what is your motivation level at work (let’s say on a scale from 0 to 10)? What is that one element that can increase your score with one point?

Inspiringly yours,