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The other day I came across a blog post  which talked about eight deadly ways to kill employee motivation’. It’s a subject very close to my heart, and at Space2BE we work hard with our clients to make sure that teams are performing to their full abilities. The dynamics of people is an interesting phenomenon – people who are individually brilliant don’t necessarily form a brilliant team when they’re put together.

As the blog post pointed out, there are several things that are almost guaranteed to kill an employee’s motivation – and just one demotivated team member can have a terrible effect on the performance of a team. Often the problems are things that are easily addressed if ‘nipped in the bud’ rather than left to fester.

People, of course, can demotivate others – whether they are other team members or a poor leader. There are however, other, less obvious things that can quickly demotivate. The leadership writer and scholar Warren Bennis says that all great organisations are built around a shared dream – in other words, a collection of people perform at their best when they have a common vision, one they believe strongly in. How many organisations can honestly say that they have that? And I don’t mean, by the way, a vision statement; I mean a common purpose – ‘what are we here for?’

In some organisations the ‘vision’ is easily recognisable. In others, it has to be created.  I love the story that Martin Glenn, the CEO of United Biscuits, tells of his time as the leader of Birds Eye, the largest frozen foods supplier in Europe. It’s difficult to get excited about frozen food, but Glenn realised that an (invented) ‘common enemy’ could be a strong motivator for the staff. So he chose chilled food – because the frozen food sector was much smaller and considered to be far less important than the chilled food sector. He reasoned that being the underdog was more fun than being the biggest at something else. His vision appealed to a basic human emotion; where would you rather be?

At the root of encouraging the best performance is understanding what makes people tick and finding ways to engage the heart as well as the mind.   If you need help to do this, give us a call at Space2BE.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.’ Confucius