The matter here is an excerpt from a book “Motivation in the Real world” by Saul W. Gellerman and punched in with my own thoughts when needed. Why I am writing this post is explained in subsequent paragraphs below. It is a really good book and all need to read in full by purchasing. I wrote this based on real life experience in ABC company where I worked. This article does not speak of presence or absence of motivation in company ABC. The company the reader works for may be a great company or not so great. The intention of the article is to make readers correlate their real lives with the theory taught in this book. That is all. I have copied matter from someone else’s writing first time in this blog and I do not think  I am going to do it again; for two reasons:-
  1. I do not have time to read a book and copy matter. Rather I would spend time to express my own thoughts which I have done aplenty here as evident in this website;
  2. This I had done to discuss motivation with my own colleagues in a closed group drawing live examples from my own office, which I have removed references to from this post here. That was only a one time requiremnt,
The fact that the book is 324 pages and I have indeed copied quite a lot of matter verbatim may make some call me a plagiarist but I do not consider myself so since my matter is less than 25 pages and that too includes my own thoughts interspersed in between to explain the content of the book from my real life findings. As a Teacher one can certainly use a book to explain the theory of the book in my own way.

What is Human Resource Management?

“Human Resource Management (HRM) is the term used to describe formal systems devised for the management of people within an organization. The responsibilities of a human resource manager fall into three major areas: staffing, employee compensation and benefits, and defining/designing work. Essentially, the purpose of HRM is to maximize the productivity of an organization by optimizing the effectiveness of its employees.” Quoted from  

Why MOTIVATION needs to be understood

Somehow I am not sure how much our Management colleges teaching its students. The future HR leaders need to be taught about actually how to deal with human beings and actually how to extract the so called “Effectiveness” of the employees of an organisation where they will be managing the HR Systems after joining. Somehow I do not know whether it is even possible to teach these soft skill related knowledge, which can probably come only after experience. But yes one can certainly try. A good student who, for example, understands what MOTIVATION is really about MAY, just MAY be able to actually become a GOOD Motivator as a Manager, HR is not limited to HR managers only; anybody who has people under him or her is a HR Manager because he or she has to manage those people. And so understanding what makes a Human Click is of utmost importance to any manager in any organisation. Understanding what motivates us is very important. Here is an analysis of what Motivation is about from a BOOK I have read.  I have mixed the matter with my own experience and understanding of what MOTIVATION is in REAL Life. Hope you buy the book and read further. The featured image I am using is from some remote island beach near ECR, Chennai. To my mind this symbolises how Motivation can make anyone bloom even in a barren soil. If we are highly motivated we can change our surroundings to better state. This flower is self motivated and has converted the barren grey sand into a beauty spot.
The matter here is taken from a 324 page book “Motivation in the Real world” by Saul W. Gellerman and punched in with my own thoughts when needed to dissect the lesson from the great book and applied it to our really real world where we live daily. Motivation in the working world otherwise called “Real World” is defined in terms of its effects on productivity and is an art of helping people to focus their minds and energies on doing their work as effectively as possible. Corolllary to this –>  When motivation is missing in work people’s minds will get into other matters. Become negative for instance.

What is Bogus Motivaton?

[Read, understand and try to recognise these around you in your organisation, if you are already working or in your life in general.] Following 4 are grossly misused as motivation when they are not. The first three are much too unrealistic. The 4th one is very complicated.
  1. Pumping up enthusiasm (like a coach of a football team does.)
  2. Making People happy or less likely to complain
  3. A few easily memorized formulae that allegedly make people either more reasonable or less ornery.
  4. Plain old Bribery
 Why the above are bogus?  It is momentary. The rapid return to normality is where the problem lies. When the inspirational speech of the motivator – the person motivating you was there, you get charged up, but it is not sustained after he leaves. Analysis of Each
  1. Pumping up Enthusiasm:
This is what I saw in my own organisation when our bosses and management talked to us cheering us, reminding we are fortune 500 and so should feel pumped up. The gullible do feel pumped up at such efforts and then later on when we face the realities we feel let down. Most did not even understand what the rank in Fortune 500 really meant.
  1. Making people happy.
Why this is a bogus motivation? This is called Santa Claus approach of motivation since it is equated with paternalism, generosity, and benevolence. Employers sometimes give a lot of things to employees that they like in hopes of getting a quid pro quo. “If we shower you with goodies, perhaps you will do a bit of work for us”. Companies strive to convince their employees that they have joined a big, happy family in which we all have lots of fun together. Do you find some similarity in your organisation? I did find this in mine. We have lots of fun too. We have ABC day, which is supposed to be birthday of Company ABC, where we sing and dance on office time inside office. We get free food, free gifts from Blankets to Silver Coins to Umbrellas. We keep saying we are a big company, we are one. Sounds familiar? Those who are still students will soon experience these when they join some company. In any organisation, e.g. ABC, this also translates into being a good boss. A good Boss talks nicely, talks sweetly and they want to get good name from their subordinates expecting them to listen to him/ her and work well. But that does not happen if the subordinate is not interested in working or not capable. The problem with this is the day the company takes away something that they allowed you to do so long, the negative effect is more because the employees feel their rights have been taken away. Now there is NOTHING wrong in making people happy. But the fact remains is a Manager’s job (or the organisation’s job) is to make people more productive and not happy. So in this message we will only talk about Motivation. But I do not discard the happiness part. That is also a part of our needs. Hope you get the difference between happiness and Motivation to work and produce results.
  1. Motivational Cookbooks or ready-made formulae.
Why this is bogus is because nothing works all the time. There is NO single fix all solution to all sorts of problems. People are too varied and complicated for that!
  1. Motivating with Bribery
Why money does not work? The 4th Bogus Motivation is defining motivation as a purely economic transaction. We assume that the EFFORT (on part of the employee) is for SALE and can be BOUGHT if the PRICE is RIGHT. If that were true, and you wanted to motivate extra effort, all you would have to do is cross someone’s palm with silver. Motivation would be a simple matter of haggling over the price, striking a bargain, and then making sure that the bargain was kept. Now this is where Economics and Psychology gets all tangled up with each other. So let’s try to get them disentangled. Economic Theory assumes that people act RATIONALLY in their own self interest. Of course, most Economists know enough about Psychology to realize that this is a proposition that “Aren’t necessarily so”. But trying to factor Human Rationality in all its varied forms into an already complicated theory would make it too horrendously convoluted. Instead, Economists assume the effects of Irrationality will come out in the wash; my irrationality will be cancelled by your irrationality. If that were true, economists could safely ignore both of us. But the premise is not true.  Most people are NOT irrational about money, but their logic is subtler than the logic of Economists. Of course most people would not mind receiving more money, as long as they do not have to pay much for it in time, effort, risk or foregone pleasures. That’s why Lotteries and other forms of cheap entertainment are so popular. But there is a limit to how much people are willing to give up, just to make more money. [If this is not true then I would have seen mass exodus from ABC company where I worked to Pvt Sector where they pay more]. This is also more true if the extra money comes in relatively small amounts. To motivate people with MONEY you HAVE to offer them a VERY good DEAL. [In my company ABC, I have found that all the small amounts we get in different forms and heads actually demotivate us and distract us. Because we feel like beggars getting small alms when we should get more (!!) and we also needed to constantly remember to claim each differently at different times. It actually causes irritation instead of motivation. And think deeply small amounts do not really motivate us anymore does it? It never did.]. Lots of extra money for a small increase in effort should do the trick. But that, of course, would be uneconomical for the motivator. And there you have the paradox.  The great Irony in trying to use money as a Motivator is that it is by far the most expensive and inefficient of all motivators. It takes a lot of money to buy a little effort. Money is a wonderful communicator, a great attention – getter, and an excellent recruiter. And, alas, it’s an all-too-effective CORRUPTER. But a Great Motivator it is not, and that is chiefly because of its cost. For the moment just remember that money ALONE is not going to buy the organization a lot of motivation. We will discuss at some more efficient ways of motivating with money later. I have seen how newcomers joined my ABC Company after being told of the salaries– because they were attracted by the figures. But later they found the money was not so great. My ABC company could not afford to pay that huge amount of money to get that little motivation since it was a PSU. So all of the new entrants started feeling let down. Even many people at higher levels, who could consider themselves as “well paid” since their needs were in fact taken care of by the perks and pay combined, they too felt demotivated many times. What if ABC had they doubled or tripled their pay? I am sure they would have felt happy and started to produce a little more. But only till some time. Again they would have gone back to their ways and felt dejected. How many employees really enjoy waking up every day with the thought of going to office making them happy? Why not? The issue here is not the new entrants finding that the pay after all is not so much as it appeared when it was presented in a PPT to them or old timers to feel disenchanted by lack of money (nobody lacks money when they are employed, we only feel we lack money if our expenses are more than our earnings) but the issue here is lack of actual motivation to deliver and be productive. People talk of money all the time because as we said here Money is an attention getter so all our attention is on money and gets back to money when we are demotivated because falsely we assume that if we get more pay we will be motivated. But friends look inside your hearts. Is it really more and more money you are seeking in your organisations? Or something else that would make you really like to love your Company as the greatest working place in India?] What is that something else? When all is said and done, doing something because you like to do it is the best motivator of them all. However we have still not come to the conclusion of this article. Let us continue further and we will come back to above statement later. Some definitions before we proceed further:

Motives and Motivators

If we see you persistently seeking certain results, we assume that you want those results and we call your desire for them a MOTIVE. If for example, you are, what is commonly called, a workaholic, you have a motive to immerse yourself in work. No one has to create or arouse that motive, it is already in you. In additional to INTERNAL MOTIVES, there are also external forces that can influence your actions. Anything that is not part of you, but can affect your Behaviour, is a MOTIVATOR. Some motivators are inanimate like Money and sometimes they are people but people are rarely good motivators. [How many managers in your organisations confuse themselves into thinking they are GREAT Motivators for others? Or have you seen such a person really? Wait till you understand what Motivation really is before you answer this question]. So we will shortly see the Motives inside people and the Motivators outside people. And then touch on the hardest people to motivate and finally talk of Motivation in the real world. For those interested in knowing fully I encourage them to buy the book and read it fully. Here I will just pick up excerpts like I have been doing so far as I cannot obviously reproduce the whole book here. But friends, believe me, you will read this book and realize that you already know these but you never realized that you knew these. That is why you have never been able to actually pinpoint what is wrong with your organisation or why most are Unhappy if you are working in such an organisation. Contrary also holds true. If you are working in a really good company which motivates you a lot then reading this book will make you understand why so. The chapters in the Book discuss the following and I will pick up the relevant portions here to demonstrate what is wrong with us and maybe we can change all this. Survivor’s Motives: Two Motives that drive practically all of us. Comfort Motives: Three main motives that are like “what is left to want” after the survivor’s motives are taken care of. External Motivators- 7 nos. Communications: A vehicle for most attempts to motivate. This is notoriously easy to mismanage. Most Important but least understood aspect of Motivation: Leadership. Effect of Jobs on Motivation: Too many jobs just bore people to distraction, because the work can be done with little thought or even with none at all. But certain kinds of jobs can motivate certain kinds of people. The trick is to give people jobs that stretch their talents. In your company do you see that happening? Yes then you are lucky. This can be happening by chance but should actually be happening some conscious planning on part of Human Resource Development HRD or HR Managers when they plan their postings. Money: some more discussions on Money and how to use it effectively. Performance Appraisal: Yes this will also be discussed here. This is also a Motivation tool but easily mishandled. It usually gets an unenthusiastic reception from managers, because they consider it much too easy to Mishandle and probably they are right and that Performance Appraisals should be used with GREAT Discretion if at all. Then there are chapters on People’s own motives making it difficult for them to motivate others, Conflicts that erupt between members of the same organisation, Bad Boss, Managerial misconduct or ethics, Motivation Systems, a case study of IBM with one of the most successful Motivation systems, and lastly how to stay motivated by yourself when you go through your worst times. I may or may not touch all the latter chapters here. But in next few replies here I will summarise the earlier ones. Some facts of Work Life:- After passing out from colleges you must have noticed that some pull away from the pack and advance faster than anybody else into better paying jobs that offer more promising futures. And some have not kept up with the rest. Setting asides these two extremes, the great majority of the class will be bunched pretty close together and would be performing more or less as expected. Because so much of the class fits between the leaders and the laggards we will call this ‘mass in the middle’. What happens also is that some leaders may fall behind and join the masses, a few laggards may improve and cross the mass to become leaders too. Some cross overs happen like this. But all in all, the bell Curve shape remains. And this Bell Curve is what is permanent in any Organisaton. [Incidentally my ABC company’s Performance Management System or PMS too works on this Bell Curve Principal. And there were quite a lot of flaws in it last when I saw it but it is not for me to comment here.] Why does this bell curve shape define our careers? Brains and Schools do not matter: Get rid of this assumption that it does. Intelligence too does not matter. [I saw it in my ABC company too] What matters most is Focus and Persistence. So if you are applying your brains, school education and intelligence to remain focused and persistence, then yes, you are using those qualities of yours usefully. Otherwise they are of no use. Truth is, that Motivation is a bit of a Mystery. Since we cannot really look into a person’s head to know what is going on there and since even if people are most candid they cannot really explain convincingly and clearly why they did something, So when we see repeatedly someone doing something that lead to a certain result, we draw the common-sense conclusion that this result is what the person really wants. I can explain this excellently with my own example. I have been writing about my office work in my office groups and forums since 2003 with some objectives in my mind, and also had been sending mails to many earlier to make people aware of what is what. People started saying good things about me –of course some also said bad things. Anyway, right or wrong I did do these acts. So one of my close batch mates confided in another batch mate – “He likes to get recognized through his writings”. He attributed my motive to my inner desire for recognition. Yes that can be a motive for some. But I knew why I did what I did. Certainly it is not for getting recognized or to become a leader of some Group.  And I saw this as an excellent proof of how people conclude wrongly about people’s real motives. But yes for most people this may be true. And this is what we defined as a ‘MOTIVE’ earlier when we differentiated between MOTIVE and MOTIVATORS. Motive is something that is internal to each of us. We may or may not be aware of our own motives. So how can others be aware of the same? Now the above leads for us to the next point. That it is a psychologist’s way of saying that most people, most of the time, probably get what they want. Not necessarily what they deserve or what’s good for them, but what they want. This is a very great statement made. It also leads us to say that people who fail also probably want to fail inside their minds.

Achievers’ Motives

If you have a strong achievement Motive, these would be some of your attributes: You have learnt, mainly through trial and error, just where the limits of your Controllable accomplishments lie. And that’s where you set your goals. Not so high that you’d need some luck nor so low that it becomes to easy to achieve, as there is no satisfaction in an easy win. You will also have become an achievement addict. Another characteristic: You will want to know how well you are doing. Do we not all want to know? No!! Not all of us want to know;that is why not all of us are achievers. Why the Bell Curve Forms It is a direct result of the relative scarcity of self-motivation. Those at the higher end have plenty and those at the lagging end have none. Among these laggards there will be 3 types of people
  1. Some will simply be in over their heads and should really be reassigned to do something else;
  2. Some of them would be marginal performers whose records have not been searchingly assessed, mostly because it would embarrass management to do so.
  3. Some will be whose own motivation is rather marginal and who have not been effectively motivated by management.
In times of severe financial crisis management reluctantly comes to grips with the difficulties that these people present. In the absence of such pressure, it is easier to overlook or tolerate the problems they create than it is to address them. [Since ABC was a PSU, such financial management was absent and so we carred on these laggards and did nothing to improve the situation. Thus, creating a situation, for more laggards being created. ] However the laggards call for an administrative, not a motivational cure most of the time. The leaders do not need any motivation. The mass in the middle is the single largest group, and this is the group that an Organisation deals with most of the time, and so to improve the performance of an Organisation this group needs most attention motivation wise.

The mass in the Middle:

 How does someone wind up performing pretty much the same as everyone else?  How does someone wind up performing pretty much the same as everyone else? … The mass in the middle is the most important for any company to target and design its motivational systems. So let us see now how this mass forms and operates.  Job performance is not so much a matter of your abilities as of how hard you are accustomed to working your abilities. So the key question is how does that “custom” form? It’s a partly learned and partly an adaptation by the Individual and the company to each other. First- the “learned” aspect. In your first few months on a new assignment, you learn more than just methods and routines. You also learn the job’s gain-to-pain ratio. On the gain side, you’ll discover whatever rewards come with success. That’s more than just keeping your job and receiving your pay. It also includes having your ego massaged. You’ll also feel capable and confident because of your successes. On the pain side, there’s the toll that the job exacts from you, in terms of pressure, exertion, and fear of failure. You tend to set your effort level at the point where gain and pain are in rough balance. You learn not to pursue opportunities for success beyond the point where they seem to be outweighed by the risk of failure. [This is what we loosely described in my company ABC company, as happening in most of our discussions on work. There we talked of ABC method, .. Apna kaam [own work], Boss’s work, and ONLY then Company’s work. Or when we notice that rarely people will go out of the way to act on or resolve something which is not in their routine work. Ask anything extra from a peer, rarely you get a response. They know that they need to do only that is required to get their desired results at the end of the day.  The desired results for most employees is salary or a promotion at the end of the year or just maintenance of status quo in their work lives- not getting transferred, not disturbing any hornet’s nests etc. That is why the first few months and therefore the first few years are the most important for both the individual and the organization. Coaching by seasoned “Old Hands” can be very helpful at this stage (the first few months) [We had also introduced Mentoring at my company, but as it happens in all things introduce -We always introduce Good systems in the wrong manner. I am sure the mentoring system also was not that successful. Otherwise why would newcomers still feel disenchanted? After a few months, however, the habits are set. This is where MUTUAL Adaptation of company and individual enters into the picture. The company tends to set standards at levels that most employees cannot meet and the employees tend to set their levels in comfort zones. Ultimately, the company tolerates these levels of performance and the employees tolerate the rewards and pressures they experience at those levels. What we get is a standoff. Even though greater rewards could be had if the employees were to toil a bit harder, they won’t because it does not seem worth it. They are comfortable with what they can get without straining themselves. Therefore it would take a much greater reward to make any added strain seem worth enduring. The mass in the middle of the bell curve fills up with the majority of any group because the critically early months on the job are left to chance. That’s why we get a Performance Distribution that is a Bell Curve. Mathematically speaking, a bell shaped curve simply depicts an Unmanaged, Uncontrolled Chance Distribution. Most organizations have left the development of employee’s motivation to chance. Maybe yours is not? In some companies this phenomenon of more and more getting into the mass in the middle continues beyond the first few months of our jobs. Due to no concerted effort by Management to Motivate People and leaving everything to chance or self motivation, which is rare in most people, more and more people get drawn into this mass. The book talks of putting that extra effort to earn extra reward not seeming worth it by those in the mass. But in some companies those rewards are not even existing. So there is no question of working harder since there is no reward available for doling out to the extra performers. The only reward in most organisations is Promotion. And we all know how our ratings get moderated and how at the end most get promoted sooner or later. So why bother to stress ourselves more? The absence of any real motivators, the external forces in an organisation,  are actually the cause of all the disenchantment. Survivor’s Motives: Three motives that drive practically all of us. The mass in the middle, or for that matter even the laggards, have other priorities. Their relative lack of success does not make them inferior; it just makes them different. They have to be motivated externally [MOTIVATORS] if they are to be more productive because their own MOTIVES point them towards the other ends. The Mass is the largest group and most of the work is being done by them in any organization. So an organization HAS to take care of them. An organization has to know what motivates them and gear up its systems to that end. There are six common motives that tend to be stronger than the Achievement motive and are the likeliest candidates for what the mass want. Three of these are concerned with the Economic Survival and three are concerned with Comfort. Survival motives include Security, Dependency and Conformity. To understand how motives work we should always keep in mind that human nature is irrational. The security motivated person conjures, out of thin air, a benevolent entity (or person) that is powerful enough and committed enough, to protect him against this cold, scary world out there. In the case of Security motive the ‘Company’ is that Protective entity or, more generally, any unfailing source of cash. In the case of Dependency Motive, the protector is anyone who relieves you of making any decisions. [Do we not see how so many of us even at top wants someone else to take the decisions? This is due to their inner motive of Dependency.] In case of the Conformity Motive, the protector is a group of people to whom you can attach yourself. [So we have Unions formally or informally many smaller groups in our work place which we create and recreate as required.] Such notions of safety are pure fiction, of course, but that doesn’t stop people who are driven by these motives from taking these inventions for granted. One caveat before we proceed to analyse further, virtually everyone has these motives in varying degrees.

The security Motive

Cash flow is indispensable for survival. The security motive is all about ensuring a steady source of cash. That is why salaries, pensions, even union agreements have been invented. They are devices to ensure that you won’t suddenly be cut off from a steady source of cash.

The dependency Motive

People with these motives always shun decisions and rely on others to tell them what to do. [As we said earlier everyone of us have traces of these six motives so rest assured we have this one too even if we feel at the outset that we are taking decisions most of the times in our work. But in reality it is not so, we are always depending on our bosses to support verbally or in writing – in case of written approvals for work being done. For now let us not worry of such situations where we are not empowered to take decisions at our levels. That is an organizational need. But even in such cases do we not feel relieved that there is someone to approve a notesheet?] Dependency Motivated boss will promote dependency motivated subordinates. In time the company’s management team becomes a vast pool of EXPERT DECISION AVOIDERS.

The Conformity Motive

This is seen in the attempt to resemble others in appearance, action, and professional beliefs. [That is why we see most people in an organisaion behave the same way. It is same in every organization.] It is one of the most common and powerful of all forces affecting human behaviour. The underlying aim of conformity is to seek safety in the acceptance of one’s peers. It is as if the crowd could somehow protect you from misfortune. An example of this in Indians behaviour of how they behave in Singapore, they will never spit and follow all rules, but when in India they will break them all on roads,. So too in absenteeism. In offices where absenteeism is more a new person coming in also tends to take more leave from his earlier office where absenteeism was less. This has been observed in studies. So Absenteeism is an effect of conformity. When attitude surveys are used with large group of employees, they usually analyse the results along demographic lines, to see whether people in any particular group express attitudes that are different from those of other groups.  And they have found it to be true. It has been found that the great divide along which people’s attitude tend to be divided most of all is AGE. We have said that there are six common motives that tend to be stronger than the Achievement motive and are the likeliest candidates for what the mass want. Three of these are concerned with the Economic Survival and three are concerned with Comfort So let us now see the Comfort Motives. Survival Motives are devices used by the mass in the middle to fend off their worst nightmares and the comfort motives are devices for avoiding nuisances. The main ones are the Pursuit of Fairness, Friends and “Rank & Respect”. Survival Motives pack more of a motivational wallop than comfort motives. You will put up with annoyance, if you have to, but you won’t quietly tolerate a threat to your livelihood. But it is a mistake to ignore comfort motives because of a quirk in human psychology that was first described by Abraham Maslow, a psychologist. He noted that if a motive is well taken care of it simply becomes dormant. But another one appears and takes centre-stage. So human nature never runs out of motives (remember motives are internal to us and Motivators are external). So the best way to motivate a person is to find a way to statisfy the motive that currently predominates. But that “motive of the moment” is a moving target. It won’t be the same from everyone, nor will it stay the same for any particular individual. So even if Comfort Motives are secondary [in theory] you have to be prepared for them too.

Comfort Motives-1: Fairness Motive

If you ask people what is fair and what is not, the replies will vary. Roughly people use an Input-Ouput formula. That is, if the value of what they had contributed to an arrangement was roughly balanced by the value of what they got from it, they would consider that arrangement fair. Here’s where the plot thickens. There are all kinds of contributions, and all kinds of rewards. Human minds actually do not follow neat little formulae but to explain what happens in a simple way here. The Fairness Equation—what YOU contribute There are at least 4 ways in which people think about what they contribute to an arrangement from which they benefit (for eg employment):-
  1. Your entire history comes to work everyday– Your education, your previous work experience, talents and gifts that you were born with are all stored inside your head and are available to your employer.
  2. Your second contribution is your JOBEvery job is a certain fraction of the total responsibility for running the company. You would properly expect your share of the total rewards to be proportional to your share of the total responsibility for generating those rewards.
  3. Your third contribution is your PERFORMANCE—how well do you actually meet the demands of your JOB? There’s also a quite a range here. Remember that the definition of Fairness is inside YOUR mind. So how well you are performing and whether you are getting a fair return for that is also in YOUR mind. A complication is that Performance Appraisals are nearly always someone else’s Subjective Opinion.
  4. 4th contribution is your willingness to put up with inconveniences, pressures, hazards and whatever other nonsense is built into your job.
The Fairness Equation- Your Rewards
  • Two types: Financial and Non Financial
    • Financial rewards come in many varieties.
    • So does non financial ones.
  • We club them into these two groups because all elements of one group have same effect as the other.
  • Non Financial Rewards have to be considered because in the real world money never operates alone. It is always mixed in with other motivators.
Calculating Your Fairness Balance Question—How do you actually determine whether the two sides of the equation are equal? [One side has the Contribution, other side has Rewards] After all only one of the elements [your pay package] can be defined objectively. As for the rest, opinions will differ as to how valuable your background or talent or gifts really are, or how important your responsibilities really are, how your performance matches up to expectations, and so on. Just stop here and consider another facet of human nature. When a question is sufficiently important, the lack of a logical basis for answering it, or a lack of objective information (or even no information at all) deters no one. Logic and facts are just no match for a compelling human need. That’s why you have to be willing to accept a certain amount of flakiness if you really want to understand human behaviour. The truth is, most people are logical and realistic only when it suits their purpose. If people want an answer badly, and have no logical way to get it they will concoct an illogical way. Coming back to the question “How do you actually determine the balance of your equation?” since there is no logical way to measure your contribution and rewards, you adopt the illogical way of comparing your equation with others. Since you probably don’t know the elements in that person’s equation with any accuracy, you guess at them. You want the “price” that you are paid for your contribution to be no less than the price others are paid for theirs. For example if you estimate that your contribution is 10% less than his, then you would accept not less than 10% less rewards than he gets and vice versa. So the Practical (Not Logical) definition of Fairness is your belief that no one has a better deal than you have. Aggravating the “Unfairness Issue” Suppose you find someone who you think has a better deal than you then? Suppose the difference is more than negligible. Your immediate inference is your contribution has been devalued. That’s very bad news. That is going to Motivate you (not demotivate!!) into doing something. The special sensitivity in each of us to being compared unfavourably to others is about to become inflamed. The “Unfairness Issue” which always lurks somewhere inside your head, is about to become highly aggravated. Your Overriding Motive is now to restore Fairness. There are only 3 ways to do that!
  1. Demand a better deal from your employer. But it does not work in large organistions tied up by policies etc;
  2. You can resign, walk away from an unappreciative employer. This is also not possible always.
  3. So you are left only with the 3rd option à which is the most commonly used. You shrink the value of your contributions until they match the value of your rewards. That solves YOUR problem, because FAIRNESS has been restored. But it creates a new set of problems for your EMPLOYER, because your Productivity is cut.
How do most employers deal with this? How do most employers deal with employees who withhold effort, who will put a lid on how much they produce or (worse) how much they let others produce? You will be amazed to find that most Tolerate it!! They seek productivity increase through capital investments, that is, through better and better widgets, rather than through better use of people. Here they miss the point that Japanese did not miss, which is why Japanese compete so effectively against others. The point is that the actual productivity of a piece of capital equipment depends mostly on the care, or lack of care that humans give to is. When equipment fails, “human error” is the most common diagnosis. This is a polite term. Some of the time, it really amounts to humans not giving a damn, or humans not paying attention, or humans figuring “If the boss does not complain, why should I worry?” (Boss here may be Organisation) And that’s why an Organisation cannot afford to let people Conclude that they have not got a FAIR DEAL. Comfort Motive-2: The Friendship Motive Most of us like to be liked. Some do it with passion. [One of my bosses was one of them. He kept feeling sad and yet called everyone ‘Brother’ & thought work would get done that way and yet he saw it did not happen like that and yet he never changed. So the point is that what the book says is true; we all want to be good and liked!!] So we spend a lot of time ingratiating ourselves, doing favours (and doing it with Companies money is easy right? Like giving somebody a scanner or a printer even when Policy says we cannot give individual one, unless really required. How many bosses really study this “requirement”? Well I am deviating from the topic here but this is an example of the hidden friendship motive inside us). In most cases this habit is ok. But the exception is a leadership role. The motivational purpose of a leader is to provide whatever his subordinates need to make them productive. For most people, that does not include being flattered or spoilt. People with a Strong Friendship Motive do not mind to be manipulated. But that puts a lot of other people’s Fairness equations out of kilter. Those who are not in the habit of requesting favours will quickly realize that requesters get whatever they want. So they too will line up for their share of favours because in their minds fairness is at stake. Soon the boss will have to give away the store. Productivity and discipline become Victims. People with strong friendship Motives make wonderful followers, they want so much to please you and so they will actually search ways to be helpful. Comfort Motive-3: Rank and Respect Motive I will save time by not speaking much on this from the book since this is easy to understand. This is one motive why some of our workmen wanted to be officers, even when they know they will have to tolerate a lot more pressures and inconveniences after becoming officers. For most this is the most important status symbol- their title. In fact to convey their ranks people move in sofa sets into their chambers the moment they get a chance. Because sofa sets is proof of their rank to the outside world. The Motivators outside People- 7 nos considered here 
  1. Communication
  2. Careers
  3. Management of other people’s careers
  4. Leadership
  5. Effect of Jobs on Motivation
  6. Money
  7. The Performance Appraisal.
The Motivators outside People-1: Communication  If you want to change the behaviour of other people you need to remember three ideas.
  1. You have to spell out what you want them to do.
  2. You also have to reassure those people that if they’re willing to try, they really can do what you have asked them to do.
  3. Finally the crucial part of the motivation process is to convince them that it’s very much in their interest to try.
So you have to Communicate. Communication is very hard to get right. Most people are not good at it. You don’t have to be eloquent to communicate but you need ai different skill and you need to know how communication really works. The skill is knowing how to listen. And the knowledge you need is which methods of communicating work well, even if they are used clumsily and which do not even if used expertly. Some points to be remembered since I will not copy the whole book here wrt to Communication in Motivation.
  1. Getting attention à Knowing what your audience already believes is the key to making them accept what you want them to believe.
  2. Keeping attention.–> Communication can only happen in a two way channel. People who sit for too long at the end of a one-way channel will sooner or later turn it off. [In some organisations only one way communication happens. TOP management needs to open two way channels and really mean it.
  3. Changing Minds.
  4. Listen First, Talk Laterà Every attempt to communicate is an intrusion. So the key to opening another person’s mind to your message is knowing what he is concerned about.
  5. The art of Listening Hard.–> means listening for meanings and meanings do not lie in dictionary definitions of words. Meanings are in the intentions of the persons who utter those words.
  6. Methods Matter, Mastery doesn’t
  7. Frequent, Face to Face Dialogue –> oh no no, not the type where the dialogue is censored and stage managed.

The Motivators outside People-2: Careers

 Here we will discuss the most important career in the world- yours. The main point here is that you cannot afford to let your career merely happen to you. On the contrary you have to actively manage it. Managing your career Face the fact as truthà There is an inherent conflict of interest between you and your employer. There are only two exceptions to this rule. First, if your company is in a rapid growth phase of its own, its growth may more or less be synchronized with yours, so there will be no conflict. But if you joined late (like in my company where we are not really growing in that sense or speed) this rule applies to you. Second exception is if, IF, your company is managing the career motivation of its employees intelligently. Why this conflict? Because to the company you are an investment. It has paid for your recruitment, training you, for the equipment that you use, the supplies that you use and the people who help you. Plus the salary etc that they pay to you. And depending on your nature of job, the company may need to wait months or years to reach the break even point where the investment on you begins to pay back. What is the point of an investment? To get back more than had to be put into it in the first place.  All they need to do is to keep you as long as possible after you repay the initial investment. That’s what makes an investment profitable. So a non growing company’s motive fits very well with those of employees who are content to stay put. And there are many people who aspire only to years and years of non stop employment by the same employer. Hence if you are a careerist, your motives are in conflict with the non growing companies. Once you have learnt everything that is to be learnt in such a company and since it is not growing it does not also have anything new to teach, you reach sudden job death. Syndrome. Some points to be remembered about managing your own career.
  1. Play hardball with your career. You cannot leave your career interests in the hands of those people in administration who will quite properly put the company’s interests first. Look at how your company treat people who are 10, 15, 20 yrs older? Are they actually allowed to use all the experience and knowledge they have accumulated or have been simply moved aside where they have very little to do? Then you will know how the company will treat you later. Ask yourself why will the company treat you any differently?
  2. Company loyalty is an old concept whose time has passed. The real issue today is whether your interests and your company’s interests coincide.
  3. Managing your career has 4 steps
    1. Preparation Stage–  everything you do before you join your first job.
    2. Ascent — A big company is the best place to start your career but not a great place to rest it. A big company equips you with the 4-Cs
      1. Competence
      2. Confidence
      3. Connections
      4. Credentials
  4. Peak Upwardly mobile people usually have at least two companies on their resumes by the time they hit 40s.
  5. Windup – The game is not over till it is over. When you finally retire, then you will be asking how do you measure the success, or lack of it, in your own career? Surely not by how much money you made. Where you finish monetarily has a lot to do with when you started. Because of inflation alone, you probably did much more than your father did and for the same reason your kids will make much more than you did. Neither does it make sense measure a career by how high you managed to rise in the Organisational Pyramid. Because it narrows drastically at the top, a lot of outstanding people are caught in the corporate traffic jam just below the summit. Probably most of them are capable of handling the top job, were it to be offered to them. If you were among them, the best explanation for not having made to the summit may lie in the laws of chance.
    1. The best way to measure a career is not in terms of where you ended it but how far you have come. Given the hand you were dealt with, so to speak, (do you play cards? Then you will realise this statement) how well have you played that hand? Did you take advantage of the lucky breaks? Did you manage to avoid the worst consequences of bad luck, or recover from them quickly? Did you work your advantages for all they were worth, and did you minimize your disadvantages? Most important of all can you honestly take credit for what successes you’ve had or was it a matter of being in the right place at the right time? If you can stand in front of a mirror and say “By God, you did it” then regardless of where you end, you can measure it and yourself as a success. Because the ultimate question is not “how successful you were?” But “whose success was it?”

The Motivators outside People-3: Managing other people’s Careers

 Ambitious people provide their own motivation as long as they feel their ambitions have  a decent chance of being fulfilled. If they cease to feel that way, they will either look for another employer or suffer a Motivational Collapse. The main problem in managing other people’s careers is to find ways to make the interests of the Company and those of its best people coincide as long as possible. They almost never coincide forever but the longer they can the better. In well run companies maximising this period of common interest is not left to chance. Some points here:-
  1. Managing the Talent Firm — Your company probably has a Manager, or Director or whatever of Management Development. That does not mean, however, that it has a Management development Function. You need to be in an organization where they are always hunting systematically for up-and-coming leaders. What’s more, you want to be sure that the hunt is intelligently managed and not left to anyone’s hunches. To rate your company’s system for managing careers, compare them with the best ways to do the job. It is not sufficient to handle one of these tasks well but ALL of them well.
  2. The importance of an Unfair Advantage.–> as a Management development or HRD man you need to attract a lot of talent, more than you actually need. So to have an unfair advantage over other companies with which you compete for the talent pool available in the market. Now you need something to attract exceptionally capable people to beat a path to your door. You cannot do that with money alone. But, for baiting purpose it is really sufficient if the pay is competitive. The best bait is more intangible. It is something that will give ambitious people a competitive edge over others in next 2-3 years. Just as your education gets you your first job, but not your second, it’s whatever prestige your first job carries that gets you the next one. The bait, in other words, is the ability to put a line in your resume that you were trained by the best in the business [that you are building your career in.
  3. Getting noticed —  This is true for anywhere. If you get noticed you get picked up, maybe [of course you need to do a lot more than this.] But the topic that we are discussing now is how does the Company manage other people’s careers not you managing yours. So ask yourself, does your company keep asking questions about potential leaders? Good companies does not wait for the annual Performance Appraisals to inquire how their best people are doing. Management developers  should be looking for answers to questions like these: is this person willing to experiment? Or does he always play it safe? If this person makes mistakes does he repeat them or learns from them? Does this person win the confidence of people who have had more direct experience with the problems at hand than he has? And so on.
  4. Getting Rated.– In the race for top jobs, outstanding job performance is assumed. It is nothing more than an entrance ticket to the race. It does not set yourself apart from most of your fellow contenders who also will be outstanding performers. So you need to prove that you are better than most. How can you influence the kind of challenge you are given? You can ask for it. But asking has its problems. You may be stretching your abilities. You may sound like one who wants to get somewhere fast without wanting to earn it. So best is to follow Louis Pasteur’s observation “Chance favours the prepared mind” Keep your eyes and ears open and then bid for it when you see something. And then prove yourself. [I myself have applied this in 1999, my life changed in many ways, not just official but also personal. I keep saying that luck is nothing but some invisible doors opening around us. We need to be aware of them and when they open we need to decide if we should step in and once we step inside a door our life changes for better or worse depending on which door you entered. Louis Pasteur too said the same! ]
  5. Knowing which Opportunity to seize. -> self explanatory
  6. A time for self assessment. -> self explanatory
  7. The recruiter’s Happy Ground — A good HRD team needs to ask “what-if” about every key position in the company. What if we needed to replace x tomorrow morning? Whom do we have, ready and available? The most common problem in companies is they find the same names showing up as potential replacements for more than one job. There is always a shortage of supply. The cause is two-fold: First not many companies look too far ahead. These companies think of new recruits only in terms of entry level roles, for example sales officers or law officers or finance persons. So not enough high potential people are hired in the first place. Second cause is mismanaging an adequate supply of managerial talent.
  8. A short list of Names. — What is needed is for the organization to create movement at the top of the Pyramid, some perceptible upward flow from that critical Upper-middle level, where people get stuck. Some companies. Either way company ends up with a short list of names to be matched with a long list of jobs. The incumbents of top positions at any given time have a vested interest in staying as long as they can. Because top jobs are so much fun- it has less restrictions and more scope. For all the stress that goes with top jobs, most executives are having a ball, and they have no interest in seeing the ball come to an end. So the incumbents do not mind the short list of names for too many jobs. The best way is to create realistic expectations among all concerned. In general executives should look forward to a ‘finite’ tour of duty in their peak jobs, during which you leave the maximum mark and then move on to another phase of their careers.
  9. Managing Ambition– How do you motivate a person whose primary motive is to use their current job as a springboard for the next one? Three points to be kept in mind:-
    1. What the ambitious person wants in a boss is an active awareness of his ambition.
    2. Look for ways to coach them.
    3. If you have a subordinate who appears to have considerable upward potential, make his advancement your top priority.
“You” means you as a boss and also the Company. The company should have this culture of doing above.

The Motivators outside People-4: If no one is following, you are not leading

The most immediate and personal form of motivation is your direct influence on someone else’s behaviour. If that influence causes the person to act as you want him to, we would call your influence leadership. Some points to remember:-
  1. Flunkies in Leadership Positions. à You find this all the time. Most organizations have more than their share of this. If you see someone in authority who considers any clever, influential subordinate to be a troublemaker, that’s sure a sign that you are dealing with a flunky. Dr Lawrence Peter’s Principle that in a hierarchy, everyone invariably rises to his level of incompetence has some meaning even though in most organizations most people never even get close to their level of incompetence because in most companies there is a gross underuse of talent. What is true about this principle is that we tend to put the wrong kinds of competence into leadership jobs.
  2. There are 3 reasons why there are too many flunkies in jobs that call for leaders:-
      • Our fondness for those “wrong kinds of competence”. By far the most common of these is skill in doing the work to be supervised. For eg, lots of former sales people who did an outstanding job of selling. On the strength of that they were promoted only to become [in too many cases] mediocre or worse sales supervisors. The reason is selling and supervising need different skills.
      • Many of the people who choose leaders are flunkies themselves.
      • There may not be too many good leaders available in the first place (maybe leaders were never developed since they reported to flunkies]
    1. Mass Leaders and Personal Leaders. There is a difference here. You motivate a small group through your personal relationship with each member of the group; you motivate a large group by projecting a charismatic image with which masses want to identify. There is a need for both leaders but at different levels of the organization and in different situations. Usually the largest number of people you can influence through personal influence on each of them is usually 15/16. Beyond that it is physically impossible to meet all for face to face dialogues. At larger group levels you have to stir deeply felt needs that have more to do with emotions than logic. At smaller group levels the communications are basically from one brain to the other. Fortunately we do not need too many mass leaders in an organization. Mass leaders are only useful at the top of the organization.
    2. Bringing out the best in a few people: Most of the leading is done by personal leaders. The basic functions of a personal leader is to provide whatever their followers lack to do their jobs effectively- information, training, courage etc. Effective leadership is not to try to lead everyone in the same way but constantly adjusting tactics to meet the varied and changing needs of everyone with whom they have to deal. This very difficult to do.

The Motivators outside People-5: Effect of Jobs on Motivation

How to fix a bad job? If you ever had a job that you could not wait to get to in the morning and hate to leave in the evening, you already know jobs can be motivating. [How many of us do the opposite? Hate to go to office in the morning and run back home in the evening? Then you will know that you are actually in dead jobs] Three ways to get away from a bad job:-
  1. Can escape temporarily by taking the day off. But this is more typical of blue collar and clerical workers and not a manager’s.
  2. Professionals take the permanent route– just quit and leave the company.
  3. The 3rd way is the most common way that all people adopt irrespective of their collar colours-> Flee the job mentally. You can do your work unthinkingly, in a state of mental detachment (I am doing this since 2005 and am still getting paid equally well as others!) or perhaps you could just sit there, lost in your own thoughts, not doing your work at all. Consequently you are unlikely to do a bad job well, even if you have more than enough ability, training and experience to do it without much effort.
Point is bad jobs are bad for the Company and also for the chaps that have to do them. But what makes a job bad and how to fix them?

How many jobs are bad?

First no job is intrinsically bad. Even if you or I or great many others would recoil from doing a particular job, there are always some who would tolerate it and also may professionally like it. For eg trash collectors may tell you their job has its compensations.  Secondly the human mind has ingenious ways of making peace with circumstances that cannot be escaped (This is why we hear the doses of Gita Do your duty do not worry about results and all).  But this adaptive process takes a while, perhaps a few months or years. If you asked people, while that process was still incomplete for them, whether the job was good or bad, some would probably tell you that the damn job is just bad, period. Others would express varying degrees of acceptance. So the numbers vary.

What makes a Job bad?

 ** It is the bad fit between what it requires you to and your abilities.** The most glaring example of it was when I was in a particular role long back. I was supposed to collect MOU achievement figures from HODs and send to HO Planning after putting them in an excel sheet. Now there are many who love to do this. I, on the other hand, found that  my job  expected me to only know how to type in excel. And that from me who had 25 yrs experience in IOCL at that time and an electrical engineer who has handled Vector Calculus (so to say my mathematical ability was beyond mere adding and % calculation that Excel does quite well even for a fool). Well what I did is another story not to state in public. A good job stretches your mind, challenges your abilities, massages your ego, gives you knowledge, mastery and success all in one intoxicating dose. A good job is the cerebral equivalent of an aphrodisiac. Only those who have NOT had that heady experience themselves feel pity for the workaholic. A lot of people have never had that experience. Obviously when there are people whose abilities are low they will find the same jobs good which people with higher abilities may not find good. So it is foolish for both groups to convince the other who is right. Both are right in their ways. If your job does not present all the above, your employer should think of some other way to motivate you. The job itself is not going to do the job for him. And it is a pity, because NOTHING motivates dedicated, concentrated effort like a job that’s fun to do. The ideal balance between the demands of a job and the abilities of an individual is very delicate. It the work requires more skill or more know-how than you got, you are definitely going to fumble and you are probably going to fail. It is precisely to avoid that kind of fiasco that management bends over backwards and puts too many people into jobs that are simply too easy for them. [This may be happening consciously or by chance.

What happens to Unused Ability?

You may switch it off. Or you may go looking for something to do, that can give your ability a workout.  So your attention is divided and the lion’s share goes to the activity you like most which is not your job. In all probability most of the world’s jobs are done with less than half the brains of those who do them. That is why most of the idiotic errors are found. For eg you will find a reservation that one desk clerk says is not available is available to you when you move to another desk clerk or some receptionist put you on hold and forget you totally. These people are not stupid but are acting stupidly because their attention is divided. Fixing Bad Jobs 4 ways to do this. All of them involve finding a better fit between what you can do and what you are asked to do.
  1. Give them more to think about
  2. Self Supervision à Boss’s contribution to their work consists largely of decisions that subordinates themselves can make or learn to make for themselves. Superfluous bossing is not merely inefficient it also demotivates the workers. So cut back on the supervision.
  3. Involvement in Management. This is the participative Management I talked of long ago. Having a say in decisions that affect the people.
  4. Go for the Goal. Most people would work if someone was not there to make them work. But some conditions need to be present for that to happen. First you need matured well trained people to do the work. Second you need supervisors who know where their jobs end and where their subordinates’ jobs begin and who have restraint to avoid crossing the line. Third everyone needs a precise understanding of what is expected to accomplish. That’s why the 4th way to fix a bad job is to set specific performance targets for everyone that is goal setting. We too have this Goal Setting, but I have always said the goal setting is confusing and mixed up. Very often the goals for the supervisor are same as that of the subordinate. So this mix-up actually keeps the boss still interfering.
Those all Important “It Depends” Factors
  1. You have to have people who are NOT accustomed to think of work as a curse.
  2. The job can be fixed. It may be too costly or impractical. Sometimes a job is one of many that contributes to a particular result so it makes it hard to demonstrate that any individual’s efforts really mattered.
  3. Some results do not matter very much to those who laboured to produce them.

The Motivators outside People-6: Money

The most complicated motivator.  In first chapter of the Book money is described as the most costly and most inefficient motivator.  Because we do not understand what money can do and what it cannot do most of the money spent goes wasted. Big Bucks, Bad Bargains We say for most people it is an inefficient motivator not ineffective. Most people “have their price”, but very few of them are cheap. Also the changes that money can induce in them is shortlived. Most people get used to high pay very quickly. Today’s big raise is tomorrow’s big yawn. The inefficiency of Motivating with Money Most of us earn our living by selling our time and effort (to the company for example). But not all our time and efforts are for sale. We need to reserve some of them for our personal work too. While you would probably welcome more money to simply fall on you, you are aren’t likely to spend that much more of your scarce unsold time and effort trying to make more money fall on you. Unless of course someone made that proverbial offer that you cannot refuse/ So if the company wants to buy some addl time and efforts from you it’s going to come down to a question of price. The time and effort you have not already sold will cost a lot more than the time and effort you have sold. You might be willing to lose your sleep, completely exhaust yourself for ‘enough’ money, but unless you are a fool the sum would have to be enormous. Thus a lot of money will end up only buying a little more extra time and effort from you. And if you are interested in things in life that need money [for eg wine women and dance] then money may motivate you. But if you are not, [for eg say you are interested in the mysteries of the universe) then you will be interested in money only to the extent that it provides you with a few necessities and creature comforts. Many people spend much of their lives in sublime indifference to their pay, the exception being when their pay falls short of their expectations, when the indifference converts to irritation and then into agitation. Fixed Pay Its effect on job performance is somewhere between marginal and non-existent.  Hardly anyone pumps in extra time and effort to get the same cheque at the end of the day. Fixed pay is on what you live on. It pays the fixed expenses. Variable Pay  You can  motivate extra effort with variable pay – But only under certain conditions.
  • First you have to pick the right people to motivate because some are more susceptible to the lure of money than others
  • Second those people have to consider that extra effort reasonable.
  • Third you have got to offer enough of that extra cash
Who works hardest for Money?
  1. Those who are “temporarily Poor”. That is a stage of life not an income level. The stage where their income levels has still not risen to levels where extra efforts will yield diminishing returns.
  2. “Just barely Poor”. Those whose income have to be stretched to cover their needs.
  3. “The Psychologically Poor”. This is the only group that is permanently money motivated. These people are obsessed with and driven by money.  But these people also tend to gravitate into self employment as they realize they cannot generate enough money in somebody else’s employment.

7th External Motivator: The Performance Appraisal

This is a huge subject where I can myself write a book. Let me summarise the points from the book only and only going into depths where necessary.
  1. Performance appraisals work just fine if there is no bad news to convey, when there are no secrets between bosses and subordinates, when there are lots of rewards to be handed out and when you can take all the time you need to prepare for a nice, relaxed discussion.
  2. It is a required Ritual.
  3. It is like a medication that does not work very well and has plenty of side effects.
  4. It is cumbersome.
  5. It is controversial.
  6. It is a bureaucrat’s way of trying to impose objectivity on the inherently subjective task of evaluating other people’s work.
  7. It overlooks the nearly universal human instinct to defend one’s pride and self esteem against criticism.
  8. Performance Appraisal is a game without winners when it requires the manager to dwell on “weaknesses” or “areas needing improvement” in an employee’s work.
  9. What are those lofty, irresistible goals of performance appraisal that we strive to seek so badly that we choose to ignore its many faults?
    1. Performance appraisals persist because we hope it will respond to the Security Motive and Fairness Motive, both of which are Powerful.
    2. The goals are to reassure people who have nothing to worry about that they are really safe, and that they can count on a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. The goals themselves are admirable but can performance appraisal actually achieve them?
  10. Performance Appraisal is meant to be an annual reassurance that your income is not in jeopardy (in my ABC company case the security motive is not actually money because if you do not perform you do not lose your job but still there is a sense of security in knowing your ratings which you can use if in jeopardy).
  11. Managers usually tolerate any work that is not grossly unacceptable. Consequently, people whose work is actually marginal receive more or less the same satisfactory appraisals that nearly everyone also gets. So they understandably conclude that all is well. The system feeds them slightly inaccurate signals. Managers consider the resulting slight delusions to be inconsequential and not worth the fuss that accurate signals would create. [Same in ABC co..]
  12. Here is where many reach point of disagreement. Experts do, we do. Here the author says- he agrees. He is of the opinion that this way is better than to be accurate in your appraisal as the improvement that can be got is not worth the cost of getting it. That cost can easily include suspicion, resentment, animosity and any of these can make your task that much harder next time you have to motivate someone.
  13. So there goes the Security Motive, since everybody is rated same and so nobody loses his job (in case of any company you may be able to just relate to the essence of what is said here).
  14. There is no Fairness in performance appraisal either. There’s no point in trying to excel in your work if you know the odds are decked against you. The same odds continue in performance appraisals- the subjectivity.
  15. Performance Appraisals are supposed to be the linchpin of the merit pay system, through which rewards are matched to results. (ABC company performance management system). But that seldom happens.
  16. The main problem is that there is usually not much difference between the results that people produce on the same job nor is there much difference in the size of available rewards.
  17. Incidentally, the most common performance rating, by far, is “above average” which is a statistical absurdity. But this tells us that managers are not terribly displeased with the work of most of their people. However lumping together of most people’s job performance makes a mockery of the merit pay process.
  18. So now HR insists on pre-determined distribution of ratings. Like we too have in my ABC company (% restrictions we call it). This itself is bad and line managers too know how to circumvent this. They periodically rotate the ratings so over a period of years everyone gets his turn in getting the winning rating. (You are in first year so you can afford a Satisfactory and he is in his promotion due year so he has to be given an Outstanding)
  19. Very few people have a need to know or want to know where they stand, exactly where they stand in someone else’s esteem.
  20. Most managers have nothing to gain and everything to lose by trying to make fine distinctions between work that “barely good enough”, “more than good enough” and something in between.
  21. Don’t confuse rating with ranking. In any group there will always be someone who brings up the rear.
  22. Occasionally, but not inevitably, someone’s work excels. Do not get carried away unless that work calls for some really special recognition.
As I said this is just a Book Excerpt with me sometimes filling in some examples from my ABC company but not much as I leave the article for the reader to motivate him to buy the book if he likes to know more. However the book is based on some American examples which I have adapted to Indian Situation or left out while discussing the contents. And now I will now conclude with the following points.
  1. There will be always a set of people who would be the hardest to Motivate. You have to watch out for them. I believe all people in any organisation can be motivated if properly done.
  2. However every organisation has its share of bad bosses and that aggravates the problems. Mine too had.
  3. Politics and Infighting in an organization is a reality.
  4. Job IS the greatest motivation, more than money specially in my ABC co. which was a PSU and so where we cannot get more money.
The IBM motivation system example from which Indian Companies can take a hint.
  1. Very selective about whom they hire.
  2. Managers are severely constrained from treating any employee harshly or arbitrarily.
  3. Employees can appeal managerial decisions they feel are harsh to them.
  4. Rapid advancement for many individuals, especially during early stages of their careers is the rule.
  5. The company offers high pay and benefits.
  6. There is a commitment to keeping employees technically and professionally up to date.
  7. There are regularly schedule employee attitude surveys that are acted upon.


The greatest  motivational challenge is to keep yourself motivated in all adverse conditions.
  1. You can passively endure life’s stings and arrows or do something about them.
  2. “Supplying your own motivation” means deciding that, instead of producing quid pro quo for some kind of reward, you are going to produce because you want to, reward or no reward. It means a decision to achieve something mostly to prove that you can do it.
  3. Whatever your decision, it is important that you make one.
  4. Remember who you are. You are what you want. Make a detailed assessment and decide what you can change and do it.