How to unlock a ‘magic moment’ of motivation

by Nicola Middlemiss07 Sep 2016

Sometimes, employees experience a wave of motivation that makes them more spurred on more than ever before – but just why does it happen?

“It is the magic of that moment when everything comes together to create a feeling that you hunger for,” says Jeff Hough, director of workforce training at Idaho State University. 

“Athletes call it being in the zone or others call it being in the flow of the moment,” he wrote in a recent column for the Herald Journal. “Regardless of what it’s called, it is a state of being that keeps you coming back for more.”

Hough points to a 2001 study by Harvard professors Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria – in their book “Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices”, the pair claim that human nature is driven by four basic influencers: acquiring, bonding, learning, and defending.

“While the drive to acquire things, like vacation time, corner offices or promotions (acquisition), works for some, others need things like team-building opportunities (bonding), or learning opportunities (challenge) or have a company reputation they are proud of and can defend,” explains Hough.

The point of the research, he says, is that there are different motivators for everyone in an organization – “While not an earth-shattering revelation, it does help identify the complexities that exist in motivating a workforce,” he writes.

According to Hough, HR professionals have the power to create highly-motivated employees – who experience that “magic moment” – by figuring out which of the four influencers drive each worker.
 
“Intelligent leaders who spend time with their employees and truly understand their needs will be able to determine what it is that truly motivates their people,” he says. “As leaders learn about individual motivators, they are able to provide more opportunities for their people to experience those [magic moments].

“When leaders and employees work together to identify those bright spots that keep the employees engaged and wanting more, real change can happen,” he continued. “When that occurs the workplace becomes the place people go because they want that feeling that keeps them coming back.”

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