The Hygiene Factors of Motivation
Teams Multiplying Motivation

Retaining High Performers


One of the weirdest things about my book, Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (, is the fact that in a 9 chapter book it is not until we get to Chapter 5, that is half way through the book, that we get to the real meat that businesses and organisations want. What do I mean by this? That the first four chapters are irrelevant? No! On the contrary they need to be studied extremely well because they are the foundation of what is about to come. However, the fact that is most people, businesses and organisations as much as they talk about motivation do not really take it seriously; for it is a feature. What they want is to go straight into the benefits of motivation. Hence the title of Chapter five is ‘Motivation and Performance’. We all want to perform; businesses want to perform; and performance can lead to higher productivity, and so to profit. Still, we need to consider things in their correct order: motivation precedes performance as performance precedes productivity; and only then and afterwards we reach the real fruit that is profit (or, in a non-profit organisation, value) that is the true goal. So we find these words from the chapter:

This point of ongoing inputs is all the more important for two other fundamental reasons. The first is to do with relationships. If we employ people (and the same is true, incidentally of taking on external contractors or consultants), then whether we like it or not we have established a relationship with them. We can either develop that relationship and make it meaningful, or we can become utterly transactional about it. If we choose the latter course we will never get commitment, engagement or the highest levels of productivity; never. But if we choose the former, then we need to consider the obvious fact that arises from our own important relationships – be it husband, wife, partner or friend. For example, I do not tell my wife ‘once’, on the day I marry her, that I love her and think that that is satisfactory and enough, and when she complains twenty years later that I never say I love her, ‘Well, I told you when I married you, nothing has changed’! That would be both fatuous and inept. No, the relationship to be a relationship that is real must be renewed on an almost daily basis. And so it is with our employees and their development: there needs to be mechanisms in place to ensure learning and productivity if only because the rate of change is so high and so real.

But second, if we only consider the generational gaps and what they mean we know we must take action. We are told that there are the Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials, and each has specific characteristics. What are these characteristics? Well, Baby Boomers (my generation) apparently are less adaptable and less collaborative; whereas Generation X are less cost-effective and have less executive presence; and the Millennials are lazy, unproductive and self-obsessed (UXC professional solutions)! These are stereotypes and of course they have strengths too; but if we take the Millennials these strengths are: enthusiastic, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, opportunistic. Hmm – these are the people born 1980-1995 – the up and coming work force of the future. Does it sound like they want to stay anywhere for very long? Not really!

That is why, if organizations want to be productive in the long-term, they need to commit to people development, especially on a relationship basis, but also in terms of knowledge and skills, and – fundamentally if we are going to retain them – on a motivational (which is a subset of that relationship) basis. Hence the need for regular and ongoing Motivational Map audits.

Chapter 5 of the book contains loads of practical examples, questions, ideas to get you, your organization, seriously addressing these issues; and don’t forget that every purchase of the book also includes a free opportunity to do a Motivational Map and see for yourself how your motivators stack up. I recommend you try it!


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