By Chris Gandy
While chatting with a CEO friend recently about the general state of affairs in his organisation he stated that the biggest staffing problem he was facing was “keeping my team’s shoulders to the wheel”. He went on to explain that his people seem to start projects with great enthusiasm but for most of them this seems to wane over time unless he is waving a big stick over the group.
Coincidently, that night I came across and article in the UK Daily Mail which included an interview with Arsenal Football Club’s Manager, Arsene Wenger conduct during the Club’s recent visit to Japan. It went like this…
“In a highly competitive, globalised, market, how does Arsenal find the best talent?
Arsene Wenger: One of our strengths is young people know we will give them a chance. But what we look for is their motivation to be successful.
But what is motivation? How can you tell if somebody is motivated? How can you remain motivated?
AW: Well for me, motivation is a person who has the capability to recruit the resources he needs to achieve a goal. For example, earlier today I went for a jog in Saitama, but I couldn’t find my way back. I was motivated to come back to the hotel, but I couldn’t find my way. So, I was highly motivated and slowly I found my way back.
But what does that show?
AW: It shows that motivation is essential but not enough. You also need consistency in your motivation and that is what we try to test in players as well. For me that is a very underrated quality. I could have said: “Right, I can’t find my way back to the hotel so let’s see if I can find a taxi.” But because I’m a sportsman I decided not to get a taxi and that I would find my way back no matter how long it would take me, so I continued to run. That’s what I mean in the consistency of your motivation, the stamina of your motivation.
When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation. You have many people who start diets on January 1. Some of them last until mid-January, some give up mid-June and some of them last.
We are interested in the ones that last because that makes a successful sportsman. That doesn’t necessarily mean successful sportsmen are happy people, but it means they are determined and they are ready to hurt themselves to be successful and that’s the type we are looking for. The people that are very demanding with themselves and each other for a long time. That consistent motivation is applicable to football, business, anything you do in life.”
So my CEO friend and Arsene Wenger are both looking to work with people who are persistent. Nothing strange there. Every Chief Executive wants their organisations stocked to the brim with people who have consistent motivation.
But what Arsene didn’t mention, and I don’t think my friend realised, is that when it comes to this quality it is not all about the employees or players! As leaders they can have a major influence on the level of consistent motivation displayed by their chargers. They do this via their leadership practices, the working environment they oversee and organisational culture they create and foster….and that folks will be the theme of our next post!
About the Author: Chris Gandy MAPS is the Founder and Principal of Cause and Effective (www.causeandeffective.info) a group utilising their knowledge and experience to assist cause-based organisations to achieve even greater social impacts. Chris is also a self-confessed Arsenal tragic. You can now follow us on Twitter.