Articles Tagged with motivation

Week nine of Ilfracombe courteous town initiative

In week nine of the Ilfracombe courteous town initiative we focus on courtesy and motivation.

When the mornings are darker and the evenings are longer, when perhaps business is slowing or maybe getting even busier before Christmas, people can feel down. Appreciation of what they’re doing, a please or thanks can be a great motivator.

Now is the time to show thanks.

cost + cost + cost = cost

The 21st Century corporate world is a world of costs: recruiting is a cost; training is a cost; motivation is a cost; salary is a cost; stress is a cost; sickness is a cost; absence is a cost; employee turnover is a cost; external consultancy to remedy everything is a cost.

Where is the value?

With so many large companies focusing entirely on balance sheets and taking their eyes off their most important tool – their people – it is no surprise that service is worse than ever and companies have to work harder and spend more money not only to attract new customers, but to retain existing ones.

With stress estimated by some surveys to cost UK business some £1.25 billion per year and overall absenteeism costing £11.5 bn, it does not require a highly paid consultant to deduce that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that many UK businesses treat employees.

Over the past 20 years, the growth in expensive ‘motivation programmes’, ‘team-building exercises’ and every shade of fashionable scheme has not always improved matters and has sometimes made things worse.

With the billions of pounds spent on these activities, why is the UK workforce over-stressed, bullied and less productive than its foreign counter-parts?

Why is it that whenever you deal with a representative of a large company, it is a 50/50 gamble that something will go wrong?

Is it because in the rush to cut costs and outsource every possible activity, many directors and senior management have outsourced their personal responsibility to inspire and lead their employees?

Can any business rely solely on programmes conceived and run by external consultancies to act as an effective substitute for good leadership?

please and thanks promotes the benefits to business of courtesy. We say courtesy is free. We do not say courtesy is easy. We believe it is by far the most effective way of creating a contented and productive workforce.

We promote courtesy to inspire improvements in working life and business performance.

Which companies have the courage and the determination to use it?

Why do I want a job?

So many young people are disillusioned with the concept of ‘work’ and ‘careers’. And, when you think about it, it’s no surprise.

Clear career paths no longer exist; few jobs offer any personal satisfaction; few employers take an interest in their staff; the pressure and boredom just aren’t worth it.

Many of those who do have jobs hate them. So many young people live either for the weekend when they find release in drinking to excess or for holidays when they can get away from daily dreariness.

But why do so many people hate their jobs?

After all, there have always been boring jobs. Repetition is a factor in most work, but previously many people still took a pride in what they did.

Is it because of immature management?

By this we do not mean young managers, but the style of management that focuses exclusively on the exciting, ra-ra elements of motivation at the expense of the more serious responsibilities of managing people.

Anyone turning up at work on a cold and dreary morning wants to feel that they are doing something worthwhile; that they are valued; that they are part of a group of people with whom they can get on well; that the next eight hours of their day are going to be tolerable, if not enjoyable.

The reality is that many people dread the eight hours of work in front of them; they need to shut out the boredom by listening to their personal stereos; to forget tedium by surfing the internet; to pass the time by gossiping with colleagues or friends; to escape the drudgery by going outside for a cigarette; to do anything, but work.

Immature management relies heavily on brought-in programmes and processes to improve or change the culture, rather than examining the day-to-day interaction between employees.

But overlaying these generic processes on an existing company structure is bound to fail, because the inflexibility inherent in any process guarantees failure. Such processes may be acceptable for companies satisfied with average success, but for those seeking higher levels of performance, culture change has to start with the individual.

Mature management acknowledges the value of each individual, their need for recognition and respect, their need for job satisfaction. It recognises the dangers of commoditising staff through over-emphasis on the value of teams, which can be highly damaging both for individuals and the company as a whole.

A mature manager knows all the people working for them; takes a genuine interest in everyone; shows courtesy to everyone; demonstrates how each individual is valued by the company; spends time managing people, not processes.

Is it surprising that a company that does not practise a mature management style suffers from low morale, high staff turnover, poor productivity?

Like any aspect of courtesy, mature management adds no extra cost and requires only effort and commitment.

If mature management were more widespread, then perhaps younger people would feel more enthusiastic towards work and businesses would enjoy access to a larger pool of readily available, motivated jobseekers. Staff would be more productive and happier to do their jobs, rather than waiting to get out of the door and escape from their employers at the earliest opportunity.

And if companies genuinely want to play a responsible role in the wider community, then there is nothing more worthwhile than creating a more optimistic outlook for young people at the start of their working lives.

After all, why shouldn’t anyone want a job?