Don Khouri Blog

How Business Leaders Can Motivate their Teams to Get More Done

Posted by Don Khouri on Tue, Oct 16, 2012


What makes our team members want to pursue their motivation, technology leader, productivitygoals?  When are they really motivated to achieve them, and when do they seem to be going along because it is required to do so?  There are three needs that must be fulfilled for individuals to want to pursue their goals -- competence, connected, and autonomy.

Competence.  We need to feel that we are good at what we are doing, and that we are adding value to a greater cause.  This is why it is so important to reward our team members in some way, acknowledge their contribution, and provide specifics on what they are doing well.  It is also critical to ensure that they understand what they are doing is tied to the organization mission.

Connected.  We need to feel connected to others, to care for others, and to have others care for us.  When working with technology teams, there is value in making sure this exists in some way through team building events, and social events.  When the members of the team are confident their teammates care about quality and care about the others, they are more likely to work toward the goals.

Autonomy.  Our business team members want to feel that they have some choice in what they are doing.  The days of dictatorial leadership are long gone.  The complexity of our work requires technology leaders to engage their teams in determining their own goals that align with the organizational goals.

When these three needs are met, our team members (and business leaders themselves for that matter) will be more committed to working towards, and achieving the goal. 

There are two types of motivation -- intrinsic and extrinsic.  Intrinsic motivation happens when we are interested in the activity, and we would do it independent of external factors.  Extrinsic motivation happens when we perform an activity because of some external driver like money or punishment. 

Studies have shown that intrinsic need satisfaction on the job will predict both performance ratings and psychological well-being of employees.  Those managers that support autonomy will facilitate satisfaction of all three intrinsic needs. 

When job satisfaction results from attainment of basic need satisfaction, it results in effective performance but when satisfaction results from attainment of desired outcomes that do not satisfy the basic needs, there is not effective performance.

Don's Coaching Questions

  • What is motivating your team members to perform effectively?
  • What is motiving you?
  • What steps can you take to validate your answers to the last 2 questions?

Source:  Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000).  The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior.  Psychological Inquiry, 11 (4), 227-268

Tags: productivity, leadership, motivation, multi-tasking, small business

Three Easy Steps to Overcome Procrastination

Posted by Don Khouri on Wed, Oct 03, 2012
Procrastination has been a hot topic recently with a few clients, and I wanted to offer some tips on overcoming it.  First let's take a look at the reasons people procrastinate.

Reasons People Procrastinateprocrastination, productivity, technology, tomorrow

Lack of Commitment.  It may be that you are no longer committed to the task.  At one point it was important, and now it is no longer important.  You may not have even realized that this is the case, so it stays on your to-do list or in your head, and your stress level increases each time you come across it.

Lack of Clarity.  The second reason is that you haven't decided what you are going to do about it.  For example, let's look at putting an estate plan in place.  On your list, you have something called 'Estate Plan'.  It is important to you.  You are still committed to doing it for all the right reasons (minimizes taxes, family is protected, etc.).  The only trouble is you can't do anything about Estate Plan as is.  Part of the problem is you're too smart.  When you look at something on your list that is too big and too difficult to do, you process that in your head for a few seconds, and move on to the next item. 

Overwhelm.  The third reason people procrastinate is because they are overwhelmed by too much to do.  Some will be frozen by this sense of overwhelm, and as a result they end up doing nothing.  As David Allen says, "there is always more to do than you can do." 
Finally, people procrastinate because they are not focused.  It is very easy to get distracted today with all of the information, interruptions, and details coming at us. 

Overcoming Procrastination

The next time you come across something that you are putting off, something that every time you look at it you skip right over, try the following actions:

  1. Decide if you are still committed to doing it.  If you are go to step 2.  If you are not, then take it off the list.  Perhaps you are not committed to it right now but may be at some point in the future.  In that case, move it to a parking lot list or someday list that you can come back to at a later time.  Sometimes, it is more important to decide what not to do, that it is what to do.
  2. Now, decide what to do.  Going back to the estate planning example, you are not going to write yourself.  So you may need to hire an attorney to do it for you.  How are you going to do that?  Perhaps you are going to get a recommendation from a friend.  Great, how are you going to do that?  Well, perhaps email Sue regarding estate planning attorney.  Fantastic, that is something you can do.  Now, you've decided what you are going to do about it, i.e. email Sue.  By distilling the project into a clear action item, you can begin to make progress.
  3. Stay focused on that item.  Think about the times when you are most productive, lose track of time, and cranking on all cylinders.  It is when you are focused on one thing at a time.
It is that simple.  We just make it more complicated by skipping over these steps unconsciously.  When we do, things pile up and it becomes more difficult to catch-up. Follow these steps and be more productive.

Don's Coaching Questions:

  • What are you procrastinating about right now?
  • How committed are you to completing it?
  • What do you need to do to move this item forward?

Tags: productivity, leadership