How Do You Motivate Employees Through Meaning And Purpose?

Full Transcript Below

[ANNOUNCER]: Breaking down everyday workplace issues and diagnosing the hidden sickness not just the obvious symptom, our hosts James and Coby.


[COBY]: Did we lose a patient?


[JAMES]: No that’s just my lunch.


[COBY]: Hey thanks for joining us. I’m Coby, he’s James. Let’s get started with a question. How do you motivate employees through meaning and purpose?


[JAMES]: So this is one of my favorite topics to chat about and what’s great is that I recently got a question through LinkedIn, that which was basically around “How do I motivate people and how influential is a company’s purpose on motivation?” Which, thank you to the person who sent me the question, because this gives me a perfect excuse to do a podcast episode on it. And part of the reason why this is so important is because 80% percent of employees report that they want to work at an organization where they feel connected to the purpose and the people. And 70% of people say that they define purpose through work. And what’s really important to understand is that the vast majority of the time, when we’re talking about purpose at work or when people are asking about aligning purpose at work, what they’re really referring to is motivation. The crux of the question is usually; how do I leverage my company’s purpose or our mission vision and values into better or greater motivation for my employees? And this is a natural question for business owners and leaders to be asking.


[COBY]: Yeah and I think that it’s something that we definitely need to be spending some real time talking about. Because again, this is becoming more and more relevant, kind of as the future, as the future of work is kind of starts to evolve. And we realize again, like those stats those are stats from… very recent stats, that talk about how important it is to motivation. The other thing to keep in mind as well is that purpose is complex. We talked about you know difference between complex and complicated in a previous podcast. Because complex problems are things where it’ll work in one setting, but it wouldn’t necessarily work in all settings. Or what was working today, won’t necessarily work forever. So it’s really important for us to be talking about the role that purpose plays in the workplace. And the role that, you know, we need to understand that… its influence on people’s motivations. Again I love the fact that we are getting more and more questions kind of coming to us. Yeah so again please keep the questions coming. Reach out to us through LinkedIn, whether through our company page ‘Roman 3’ or to even to James through his Twitter page @JamesfromRoman3 because we do like hearing more and more questions come up from people appreciating kind of the different spin that we take on stuff. Or the different approach we have, or the analogies that we use. We actually get some kinds of questions, maybe we should consider doing an episode kind of answering some of these questions. But anyway I digress…


[JAMES]: We can do a Q&A session, thing in the in the future. I want to talk about purpose and motivation. And we are far from the only people talking about purpose at work. There are tons of speakers and authors who are trying to answer this question. And there are actually a few that I really enjoy listening to or reading their content. And two in particular that I think have a lot of value to contribute to the conversation are Simon Sinek and Daniel Pink. Now Sinek mostly talks about a company’s purpose and how important it is for them to know and articulate their ‘Why’. His approach is mostly about communicating the big picture, you’re ‘Why you do what you do’. Communicating that into the Consumer Market, because helping people to align, helping customers to align with your purpose will improve business outcomes. Pink on the other hand, mostly talks about a company’s purpose and how important it is to communicate it internally to their staff so that everyone is aligned and pulling in the same direction. And both of those perspectives are very valuable, however my biggest complaint with both of those answers is that it does very, very little to sustain motivation. And that’s usually at the heart of the question, when the question is being asked; how do I align purpose? Or how do I create motivation? We’re not talking about flash in the pan, we want to know how do I motivate people on a daily basis. And the big picture is great for inspiring motivation in people, but very, very few people that I’ve talked with, I’ve worked with, spoken to, or that we’ve engaged with through any number of the platforms that we use, very few people find their day-to-day motivation because of the company’s big picture goals. And the problem with looking at purpose and motivation solely from that perspective of the company’s ideal or big picture Mission, Vision, Value Statements, which I’ve gone off on rants about before, is that it contributes to a very small percentage of what actually motivates people, or how people sustain motivation.


[COBY]: Yeah and I think the sustainability really is kind of the heart of that. Because I mean when you start a job, a new job, and you’re doing something that’s got a big impact, the things that, that big picture, ‘making a difference’, that stuff is important. It’s especially important in the inspiration side of it, but getting out of bed your first day of work, that big picture thing might be what gets you out of bed. But, you know, three months in, four months in, six months in, a year in, I doubt you’re jumping out of bed with that same enthusiasm, if that is the only thing that is sparking your motivation. If that’s the only purpose that you’re meeting, that you’re really finding, is trying to maintain that high level big picture, every day. Now we talked about the role that money has in people’s motivation, especially around talent attraction and retention.


[JAMES]: And the money can be a good motivator.


[COBY]: Yeah and we just did an episode, a couple episodes back, about money’s role in that, and the connection of money and purpose. They are really connected, but again it’s not the sustainable fix for most people. So like we talked about in that episode that, you know, when you’re using money to retain staff it gets into that diminishing returns idea, that you talked about. Because, the example we talked about before was with nurses and that, our home province is trying to incentivize nurses to stay in the province and stay in the field through  cash, retention bonuses. But the thing is that, like I said before, purpose is complex and what works in one setting won’t always work, and what works now won’t necessarily work forever. And when it comes to what gets people out of bed in the morning, it’s not always… if money is not their personal, main motivator, then it’s going to have a limited effect. Maybe the day they cashed the check, but not you know two months later, three months later, and nurses specifically they don’t get into nursing for the cash, right? They’re not walking into…


[JAMES]: Generally speaking, it’s more of a values-based career. There’s lots of values based careers and, you know, the entire not-for-profit and charity sector, are really the organizations that if big picture alignment worked, you should never have a motivation issue in a not-for-profit or a charity, right? Because people tend to get into that work because they value the big picture, the how we’re trying to change the world. But like with nursing, like with money, like with any single solution, people’s preferences change over time and motivation wanes. If you’re not actively trying to align a individual’s job and what they are doing with, how it’s contributing to the overall success. So even in those values-based companies that’s not just setting the stage and telling people what the vision is, and suddenly they’re going to be motivated, forever. There’s a lot of daily work that has to be done.


[COBY]: Yeah and this is something that again, we talk about a lot. And one of the things that we, as part of our business, are trying to provide solutions around. Because if you’re following along with us till  now in this conversation, you’re like “well okay, so you’re saying money doesn’t work, and big picture doesn’t work. So guys, what works?”, right? And the thing is too is that what works is, almost like a diversification of what your company provides, that aligns with people’s sense of meaning and purpose. Or for you as an individual, it’s about knowing what different, purpose-driven motivators exist, and trying to see if you can find that in yourself. So we’re going to talk about that a few in a minute but, as we go through for the individual listening to us talk about these different kinds of purpose motivators, we’re going to call them the Sparks of Purpose. And knowing ‘yeah that’s me’, ‘I’m connected to that’. Or if you’re a company, these are all the things that you should be trying to advocate, and communicate, and make available to people. So that they can actually find the things that will motivate them. If it’s not money, if it’s not big picture, what is it? Or if it is money, and it is the picture, and other things, making all of that available.


[JAMES]: Yeah and the key with any of these when we’re talking about individuals, our preferences change over time. What motivates me, what motivated me 20 years ago early in my career, and what motivates me now, there are similarities but they’re not the same. And what is going to motivate me you know 15 years down the road, is likely to be very different than what it is now. So understanding the different Sparks of Purpose is going to be really important. And again, whenever you’re dealing with people, it’s not a set it and forget it mentality. So there are 8 Sparks and when we’re talking about the Spark of Purpose, we’re talking about the Spark to Provide. The ability for somebody to contribute to their own personal, or their family’s ability to live comfortably. The Spark to Accumulate, to collect wealth or Independence, or prestige, or luxury. It’s often monetary, but it’s not only monetary is as the motivator. To Be a Part of Something, is to be to affiliated with an authority, or a cause, that will provide that structure and inclusion. And then there’s the Spark of Loyalty to Others, which is to support, or encourage. To help specific a person, or specific people. We often see this one in the not-for-profit sector, right? Loyalty to a cause, or loyalty to others can be a great motivator. The Spark to Achieve, to accomplish an objective, something that they may want to be proving something to themselves, or something to others. The Spark to Stay Relevant, which is to maintain your identity and your usefulness. And To Make a Difference, which is to be a part of making things better for your community, industry, in the world. And that’s often times that big picture ‘how are we making a difference’ in our community. Or ‘what is the big change that we’re trying to see happen’. And then there’s the Spark to Improve Yourself, which is really motivation to develop and expand your knowledge, your skills, and your understanding. And those 8 Sparks set a stage, paint a picture for how an individual is going to find their motivation on a regular basis.


[COBY]: Yeah and what’s great about about these 8 Sparks is that they, like James said, they kind of can change over time. But they can also kind of evolve as your career evolves. So going back to beginning, the episode we talked about the link money has to talent attraction and retention, we talked about the spark… we talking about the need to put food on the table, and support their family. Which is part of the Spark to Provide, right? The Spark to Provide is for those who work to live. This is their motivation. Their motivation is to have a job, so they can put food on the table, pay their rent, and you know have the future provisions of sustainability, or reliability. Like maybe work towards your pension, or kind of work towards vacation time, and those are the things that it creates. But what’s good and bad about the Spark to Provide, it’s a very simple one to achieve on the business side, but it doesn’t always necessarily… It’s usually the first one people evolve from. Because the problem is, it creates loyalty to the consistency and reliability of the job. But not necessarily the job itself. And when the consistency and reliability kind of start to shake, that motivation, that Spark to Provide has, starts to loosen its hold.


[JAMES]: Yeah and what’s interesting about this one is, I remember in previous conversations when we’ve talked about the Sparks and motivation. A comment coming as, you know, essentially it was something to the effect of; you know, Spark to Provide is kind of a base level, or lower level. Which is wrong. None of these Sparks are better or worse than any other. I remember working with businesses years ago who would complain that they had a certain segment of their employees who would, you know, they would put in their 40 hours every week, but they would never take overtime. They wouldn’t take them up on overtime, they had no interest in progressing with the company. They just they came in, they did their work, they went home. And I remember talking with them and how frustrated they were with this subset of employees. Because they had these opportunities, they had overtime,  they had additional capacity that they needed to fill, and people just weren’t interested in that. But they failed to understand that the motivation for that subset was that they’re not first for some people. Work is a means to an end, right? They had enough to provide for their family, and their motivation was met. So if their motivation is met, yeah, they’re gonna spend their weekends doing what makes them happy, spending time with their family. They’ve met that, they’ve accomplished that motivating factor, and that’s not a bad thing. But if you can understand that as an employer, you can play into that, and you can save yourself and your employees a lot of headaches by not consistently berating them for not taking advantages of opportunities, they have no interest in.


[COBY]: Yeah and this is kind of… this is part of the self-awareness that really can be beneficial to someone that’s following along with us, right? Because this is just a different way to reframe how you understand employee motivation, and kind of the realities of the workplace. Because these 8 Sparks are preferences, and people’s preferences are not necessarily… don’t stay the same. So you can’t always rely on if someone has a Spark to Provide now, they’re always going to have that their entire career. They may not, but you also have to realize that some people are only motivated, right now specifically, to just putting in their time, collecting their paycheck, going home. Where they can actually, you know, enjoy what they want to do. And not all jobs have to be a passion project for people, right? So now again, if you are wanting to not just fill your workforce, or people, with Sparks to Provide, then this is actually going to be a great conversation for you listen to. Because we’re going to help, because by understanding the rest of the Sparks and communicating that, making them available you, may find the people who are driven by Spark to Provide as the primary, maybe their secondary is going to be one of the other ones. You may start seeing that shift in evolution, and they may become more. They may find more of their Sparks in their workplace to expand what motivates them. Because that’s just it. It’s usually not a single motivator. Like, I’m only motivated by the Spark to Provide, it’s that maybe this is my most dominant motivator in my current job today. But if more stuff’s made available, or I’m more aware of how to connect other Sparks of my motivation, then they’re going to be more inclined to maybe do that,  if they have a secondary or tertiary thing that that gets them out of bed in the morning. So make that available. So again, don’t be frustrated if you…  by thinking that any of them are better or worse. Just realize that people are complex, things change over time. What works now, will not work forever. But the more you get to know this sort of stuff, and the  nuance of the psychology of motivation, I think the more benefit you’re really going to get in implementing some really meaningful change in your workplace.


[JAMES]: Well and there’s one thing that you mentioned that I think is important to just restate. because it’s not about a single Spark of motivation, right? You’re right, there’s rarely an instance where people, are where a person, any person is only motivated by one thing. So understanding the part… a lot of what we talk about in all of our podcasts, and all of our training, is understanding the whole person, right? That people are messy, people are complex, and that anytime that you’re dealing with people, you need to you need to look at the individual as a whole person. And this is one more way for you to look at an individual as a whole person, in how they are motivated.


[COBY]: Yeah absolutely. So continuing on, kind of going back to the podcast episode about money and talent attraction and retention. So those that are motivated by money or that collection of stuff, they’re often using the Spark to Accumulate. Now as you said, the Spark to Accumulate not only about money. It can be about status, be about power, but can also be about freedom, it can be about autonomy, it’s about accumulating, and acquiring, collecting what it is that you need to to fulfill your personal goal of accomplishment. Whether that’s the highest stack of money, whether that’s the most flexible schedule,  whatever it is that’s really important to providing you the lifestyle that you want to provide yourself. It’s accumulating enough to make sure that is possible. And again, this Spark to Accumulate not a bad thing. But the one thing that we do make people aware of, and we said this in the episode about money and talent attraction, especially when you’re looking at a retention through money, is that if the accumulation is all you’re providing. The loyalty that someone has to your workplace is really actually a loyalty to that ability to accumulate. And they’re loyal, not to you as the employer and job, but to that ability to accumulate whatever it is; the flexibility, power, money, whatever it is. That’s what they’re loyal to. So it’s something to keep in mind when you’re trying to motivate people through accumulation.


[JAMES]: Well and that leads to a good concept that we talk about around purpose a lot. Is that if you are not helping people to find, or align their sense of purpose with you, they’re going to find that elsewhere. The same is true… so with the Spark to Accumulate, you may be helping them to accomplish that, but if they feel that they can accomplish that better elsewhere, and the only thing that you are competing on is money, well the moment of better opportunity comes along they’re out the door. Because they can accomplish their goals, their purpose, they can have their motivation ignited better somewhere else. And we’ve seen this happen frequently. I’m gonna, I use this story in our training and in different sessions many times. but early in my career… I am motivated by the need to achieve. that is always been a big, strong motivating factor for me. And early in my career I was in a job that I enjoyed, but provided no opportunity for growth. No opportunity for advancement, no real opportunity to do anything other than what I was doing day in and day out. And that inability to meet my Spark to Achieve is what led me to find that elsewhere. Now it happened to be that I found that through getting involved in the union. Which ultimately led me to getting becoming interested in HR and labor relations, and doing my HR and Labor Relations degree. Which ultimately led me here, so in my personal life it’s been a net benefit. But to my employer at that time, that inability to align my sense of purpose with my job, caused me to very quickly check out from the workplace. The job became what I had to do, nine to five, in order to do what actually fulfilled my sense of purpose. And it’s really important for employers to understand that if you are not helping to make that connection for your employees, of how your company and the work that you are having them do actually helps them to fulfill their sense of purpose, their Spark of motivation, then you are running the risk of having them find that elsewhere. Whether that’s completely leaving your organization, or merely treating your job as a means to an end.


[COBY]: Yeah and let’s just say it, so moving on from Spark to Accumulate to Spark to Achieve. Some people really are about their personal accomplishments, and both their ability to kind of push themselves like James was. And when you’re in a job that you are trying to give people an opportunity, you want them to engage more and be more motivated, or find more areas to ignite their motivation in the workplace. If you’re not communicating or providing that to people, if you’re limiting them on their involvement, or limiting them or hiding it from them by not making it accessibly available, then they will bring that passion, that motivation, that desire for meaning and fulfillment somewhere else. Whether that’s to a different employer, like you said, in the example of Spark to Accumulate. Or if it’s going to be into their volunteer work or outside the workplace, like you said with the Spark to Achieve. Some people have kind of, you know, a very quiet impact on  their work life. But then have as massively successful, you know, influential, either volunteer work or passion projects, that is again igniting that Spark to Achieve. So that a good example of that. So moving on, some people are motivated by the desire to be to be a part of something. And this is when they kind of want to be connected to a cause or a mission that provides them like a tribe that they are accepted into. And this is what we call the Spark to Be Part of Something. And it really is kind of fundamental to the human condition and why inclusion and belonging are so important. Belonging is a really powerful motivator as long as it’s sustainable and authentic. But this is also why belonging and inclusion are not just DEI initiatives or seen as an appendix to the workplace. They are fundamental to motivation, and meaning, and purpose. Especially if someone has the Spark to Be Part of Something.


[JAMES]: Yeah because if that is how people are motivated by, ‘like I feel like I belong to this group, so I am going to work hard to help advance this group’. That’s what it kind of… that’s how it often plays out, if that’s how they find their motivation. And if you are again, not allowing for that, if you’re not creating the conditions that allows for people to feel like they belong for their authentic self, for who they are, then you’re missing out and you’re very potentially driving a wedge between your company and employees who have this Spark.


[COBY]: Yeah and the Spark to Be Part of Something is something that exists in many people. Like I said, it’s kind of a fundamental part of the human condition, right? That we have a hard time connecting, and bringing our full motivation, or finding meaning and purpose into a job where we feel like a stranger. Or where we feel like we are not accepted, or that we’re, again, are not part of the tribe. So it’s something where, like you know, it’s really really important for people who are, especially if they’re trying to make gains in the DEI space, to really understand that the Spark to Be Part of Something is a very effective and very common type of motivator, especially for purpose and motivation. And that is something that we can’t just, you know, shrug off as being a nice to have. It really needs to be fundamental by, like you said, having the conditions, having the environment, having the culture that allows for that. If that culture doesn’t exist, the Spark to Be Part of Something is never going to be ignited.


[JAMES]: Yeah and the key, again, is that it’s not… this may not be the most motivating factor for somebody, but when we’re talking about these Sparks, people will be… what motivates a person will be a combination of most or all of these things. We’re all to a degree motivated by the ability to, the Spark to Provide for ourselves and for our family. We’re all somewhat motivated by the Spark to Accumulate, to Achieve, to Be Part of Something. So it’s not an all or nothing on any one of these things, which is why you really need to understand the whole situation and understand what each of the 8 are. So that you can use these to their full effect.


[COBY]: Now, others are motivated by being loyal or being connected to other people. Now many people who maybe don’t like the tasks of their job, but they like the people that they work with. And this is pretty common in a lot of industries, you know, where the job itself is not the greatest, but it’s the people that you work with that’s what makes it meaningful, and get you out of bed in the morning. And this is the Spark of Loyalty to Others. When we get up every day ready to pitch in, and we don’t want to let other people down. There’s a dutifulness that we have for those that we work with, that “I go to work for my co-workers, I go to work for the compassion and respect that I have for my boss, or my team, or whatever”. And if you have a strong employee experience, where employees feel heard, and respected, and accepted, then this is the kind of environment that really can allow for the Spark of Loyalty to Others to exist. It can be a bit harder to create this type of loyalty, but again, if you have that employee experience, where people feel, again, accepted and that they are respected, it really does make it a lot easier to sustain the spark, if it already exists. Because, so again, sometimes jobs are not fun, but the people there can make it, you know, can make the day worthwhile. And that’s something that I think many people don’t necessarily give the full thought to. Or businesses especially, don’t consider being an influential motivator that they have control over. When actually they probably have the most influence over whether or not the Spark of Loyalty to Others can exist, because of the culture.


[JAMES]: Exactly. And a strong charismatic leader can Inspire this, right? And we’ve seen it, not only in the workplace, we see this regularly where a charismatic personality just draws people to them, and builds this sense of loyalty of ‘I really connect with this person, I don’t want to let them down.’ ‘I will do, you know, I will follow them to another job’. We’ve seen this happen where really strong charismatic personalities can actually create these conditions, almost by accident. But it’s really hard to facilitate this, or to create it from the ground up. But if you’re… I like how you tie that to employee experience, because if you are creating that experience where people can connect to each other and build that sense of “well I need to do my part because if I don’t, if I don’t do this then I’m gonna let… then Coby’s not gonna be able to do his part”, right? That sense of dutifulness and loyalty to each other can be a really great experience to have in a workplace.


[COBY]: Yeah and again and I think part of the recipe to make that happen for the culture is, again, to make employees feel heard, respected, and accepted, right? I mean if you as a leader or as an organization is trying to make that happen, that will not on its own create the Spark of Loyalty to Others, but those will be the conditions that will allow it to blossom. If there, you know, if the people have a high motivation… if that’s a highly motivating part for people. Or if you kind of have that trustworthy, charismatic leadership that does inspire that sense of loyalty. Then it’s going to really empower that. So moving on, again, other people will value the desire to kind of stay connected and be useful. So we call this the Spark to Stay Relevant. Now sometimes this can look like the desire to not retire, or to not accept jobs that move yourself out of the day-to-day work. Where you’re managing others instead of doing the work yourself, if you are really attached to the work and you have high mastery of skills. You don’t want to be sitting in an office by yourself. You want to be relevant and showing off the mastery that you’ve developed in time. This is usually for people that have some pride in their skills, or pride in their knowledge, or pride in their contacts, and they want to keep using it. And they often feel that if they give up something, or if something changes, or really just nothing changes they really just want to make sure that they are utilized, and that they’re appreciated for what they have developed over a longer career, or just  really a skill set that they’re very proud of. They want to be able to use it consistently and ongoing.


[JAMES]: You’re right and we do see this often in more experienced, in a more experienced workforce. But the need to stay relevant can also be… we’re seeing huge numbers of layoffs as people prepare for a recession, right? We’ve talked about this and we will continue to talk about this a lot because of how damaging it can be to your workplace culture. But that’s a rant for another time. But if people are in a role where they have, where they’re not using their skill sets, the skill sets that they have developed, the expertise that they’ve developed. You have an opportunity to tap into that desire to stay relevant. The desire to continue to expand their knowledge set. And if they’re, again, if they’re not going to do it with you, if you’re not providing that opportunity for people to use their expertise, then they will find that other places. And in a marketplace, in the Labor Market environment that we’re in right now, where you have high number of highly skilled people re-entering the workforce. The unfortunate reality is that many of these people are going to be underutilized for a while. So how do you motivate people who are highly skilled, but maybe there’s a skill mismatch in terms of what they are required to do right now, and what they’re actually capable of.


[COBY]: Yeah and that’s an excellent example. Because one thing we talk about in some of our other programs is about strengths-based teams and letting people get better at what they’re already good at. And that’s something that the Spark  to Stay Relevant is really meaningful when someone’s got these skill sets that they could bring to the table, and they’re not appreciated, or recognized, or able to kind of do the stuff that they’re really good at. Then that can be something where, you’re right, they may look either to go elsewhere and use those skills or find a passion project outside of work to use the skills. When really, you could potentially, as an employer, be massively benefiting from this existing skill set. So moving on, then there’s those that are really motivated by the big picture, like what we talked about with Sinek and Pink, that the changing the world motivation or having this massive impact on the world. And we call this the Spark to Make a Difference. And it really can be a powerful motivator at inspiring work. But like you said, it really isn’t easy to sustain by itself.


[JAMES]: If you have… if you are in an environment that is very values based. like if you’re in a not for profit that is dedicated to reducing the impact of poverty in your community. That’s a huge values-based organization, and there will be a lot of people who will connect with your purpose. You can’t just rely on “we’re trying to do a good thing” as the entirety of how you motivate people. You have to take a conscious effort of saying how does what I do on a daily basis help the organization to accomplish this goal. Because without that direct link, you are going to suffer all of the same problems of motivation waning. People over time that are inspired by “I’m I get to make a difference in my community, I have the chance, the opportunity to do something good for my community”. If you are not making a very clear direct link between their daily actions and how that works out, and how they are actually making that difference, you’re wasting potential.


[COBY]: Yeah and because, like if no matter how altruistic the organization’s goal might be, and how big of an impact you’re actually having. At the microcosm level, the individual maybe is just be filling out paperwork all day. And if they just feel like a cog in the machine and they don’t know how their paperwork is essential to the person down the hall, you know, turning that paperwork into reports to government to get more funding to do… If their role in the big difference you’re trying to make is not evident to them, then like you said, motivation is going to wane. And you’re going to start to see that they maybe feel the big picture is a sales pitch, but it’s not actually you know doing anything, or they feel like they, you know, maybe we’re misled, even though they may actually be meaningful. But people want to know, and part of what a company can do is make that clear. Because usually a lot of, almost all these Sparks exist in almost all workplaces. It’s just a matter of the organization trying to be intentional in identifying them and communicating them to people. So people can find what motivates them and then connect to the Sparks that they prefer, or that are highest ranking for them. And then almost like be able to really dig into the company giving them that sense of meaning and purpose that will inspire their motivation. So then the last spark is the Spark to Improve Yourself. And this is about self-development, pushing yourself, not pushing yourself to achieve or pushing yourself to accumulate, but just about learning, and bettering yourself, and self-development. These are people that want to be better tomorrow, than they were today. And a lot of that can be a very powerful motivator especially. This is why things like professional development and everything that can be so important. Because some people just have this natural desire to improve themselves. Maybe not for an end goal, maybe for an end goal, but the opportunity to be, again, be better than they were yesterday, is something that can be a very powerful thing for some people.


[JAMES]: You’re right. Many of these things, like you’re already probably doing something along the lines of professional development in your organization. Many, many companies provide for some level of professional development. In order to really capitalize on the motivating factor of it, you have to understand why somebody… Like it’s not just about providing general, generic options to everybody. It’s about making sure that you’re tailoring the professional development opportunities, or the ability to grow, to improve, to learn, that you’re tailoring it towards the individual so that it is actually meaningful for them. And it’s not just a “Oh I can take the same half day workshop that everybody else takes, great. That does nothing for me”.


[COBY]: So all of these 8 Sparks are actually part of a program that we have called Igniting Motivation: The 8 Sparks of Purpose. And it can be  a valuable program to help organizations that are looking to, kind of, provide a bit of a self-assessment. So we have a psychometric that can help people identify their preferences, and then allow for organizations to get some support, resources, and tools to help articulate and communicate how a lot of these things, that are already present in their workplace, can be made even easier to communicate to employees. So that way they can understand their own Sparks, and then find how they can have them ignited inside the workplace. So again if you’re someone that would like more information about that, please feel free to reach out to us. But again, I think the fundamental key is to let people really see that, hopefully from our description, that they can find their Sparks. That’s something that we said around Achieve, or Accumulate, Stay Relevant, that it may resonate with them. Because ideally, we want you know the more introspection that someone has about what motivates them and discover their Sparks, that of motivation through purpose, can provide opportunities to communicate these Sparks to their employer. “This is going to be how you’re going to get the best work out of me”. But also for the organizations, maybe be more intentional in identifying these areas these opportunities. So that way, because again, even if you don’t know language around Spark to Accumulate or Spark to Make a Difference, you know what they look like, and what people feel about them. So finding ways is to make those more accessible can be a powerful way to motivate employees through meaning and purpose.


[JAMES]: Yeah, and I said at the beginning that this is one of my favorite topics to talk about, for a whole bunch of reasons. But primarily because I have seen firsthand in my own life, in my own career, how fundamentally different… how much of a change it can make in somebody’s approach to work when you find that sense of purpose. Going back to that job that I had in my early 20s that I enjoyed the work, I used to tell people “I love the work, I hate my job”. Because I enjoyed what I did, I enjoyed much of the work, but it gave me nothing. No opportunities, no advancement, nothing that I needed in order to succeed. But once I found that, once I was able to actually connect my sense of motivation and purpose in another arena, everything else changed for me. My outlook, my career path, my mental health, my  mentality towards work. It can make a substantial difference for people from an individual standpoint. But also I’m thinking, what a waste from my previous employer, who if I’m being slightly modest, I am a wonderful person to have in an organization. I’m slightly biased. I left that organization as soon as I possibly could, because it was not fulfilling my purpose. And that’s what we really want to help people to understand. Is that if you really want to gain the benefits of having a highly motivated workforce, then you have to not look at this as a one-size-fits all. It’s not a ‘put our value statement on the wall when you walk in and that’s good enough’. That’s a garbage tactic. It’s not going to help you any. You have to actually look at the individual, what does the individual need, and look at it from the perspective of; how can I provide for the Sparks of Purpose?


[COBY]: Yeah and that’s a really good point. All right, so I think I’ll do a little wrap. So again, people are complex and motivated by different things. And they’re not always motivated by those same things forever. So if you’re trying to motivate through purpose, then you have to know if  you’re providing opportunities for people to connect their jobs to where they find meaning. And we break down where they find meaning into what we call the 8 Sparks or Purpose. The Spark to Provide, the Spark to Accumulate, the Spark to Be Part of Something, the Spark of Loyalty to Others, the Spark to Achieve, the Spark to Stay Relevant, the Spark to Make a Difference, and the Spark to Improve Yourself. Because if you are not providing people opportunities to ignite their motivation, through their Sparks in their jobs, they will look for it elsewhere. Sometimes that’ll be another company to work for, or it’ll be putting all their passions and effort into things outside their current job. For ourselves as individuals, knowing what motivates us is very important. And knowing, maybe identifying, these Sparks in yourself can maybe make your career path, or how you connect to your job, or to the job market, a lot more meaningful. And for organizations, communicating opportunities for people to find their Sparks can leverage the power of purpose. It requires intention and it requires a little bit of introspection. But it can be, again, a very important way to motivate employees through meaning and purpose. So that about does it for us. So for a full archive of our podcasts and access to the video version hosted on our YouTube channel visit our website at Thanks for joining us.


[ANNOUNCER]: For more information on topics like these don’t forget to visit us at Side effects of this podcast may include improved retention, high productivity, increased market share, employees breaking out in spontaneous dance, dry mouth, aversion to the sound of James’s voice, desire to find a better podcast…

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