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July 2022

Create Motivation – Kate Turner


Our last article took a close look at what Mark Terrell had to say about motivation in his book Motivated. Today we will be looking at another recent book on motivation: Create Motivation by Motivational Maps Senior Practitioner, Kate Turner.

Kate Turner expertly sets the scene for us at the start of her book, establishing where we are now and how we got here. She draws a parallel between Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (one of the foundational elements of the Motivational Map) and the progression of each generation’s changing needs in the workplace. Whilst clarifying that these are only broad definitions and that each individual is uniquely motivated, Kate Turner outlines:

“For ‘traditionalists’ (those born between 1928 and 1945) loyalty, job titles and money were the focus. With ‘baby boomers’ (born between 1946 and 1964) ambition and goal-orientation arrived. Status, expertise and ‘perks of the job’ were, and still are, valued by this generation. Then Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) came along with their entrepreneurial spirit, demand for greater independence and work-life balance. For them, promotion on merit, not on years served, are important. Flexibility, recognition from bosses and financial gain all became important work-based rewards. Then came the Millennials (born after 1980), our most tech-savvy generation, along with opportunities for collaboration, flexibility and continuous learning. Millennials regularly seek feedback and need to know how they make a difference. This generation is the first to consistently seek self-actualisation (the process of realising one’s full potential) in the workplace, whereas previous generations probably saw this as something that would only be achieved outside of work. Next, we have Generation Z (born from the late 1990’s onwards), who are pushing the boundaries even further of what they want work to provide for them.”

She then explains:

“As each ‘lower order’ need was expressed, businesses adopted policies and practices to accommodate many of them. Self-actualisation, therefore, was inevitably going to be the next challenge that businesses needed to satisfy.”

Of course, this creates a massive challenge for businesses, because up until this point they have been “more focused on profit and targets than on purpose and meaning”. In addition, there are now potentially five generations working alongside each other, which almost certainly means a diversely motivated workforce!

“Now, more than ever, businesses need to get to grips with the individual motivations of its people and not just offer blanket reward packages and opportunities.”

Part of tackling this problem is challenging the traditional notion that employees are paid, and that is their reward for work. Kate Turner highlights how this attitude creates a vicious cycle (she terms it “the depletion cycle”).

  • We are unfulfilled by our work,
  • this drains and depletes our energy,
  • we then buy “things” to get a small dopamine hit
  • and then need to keep working to afford the things we buy!

“Not only does this meaningless consumption numb our souls, it is killing the planet.”

Kate Turner continually draws parallels between the individual arena and the wider picture. Our actions affect the wider whole and interrelate with bigger cultural movements. In esoteric philosophy this would be described as the interrelationship of the microcosm and macrocosm. To quote Gladiator, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” Not necessarily in the sense of an “after-life”, though it’s a perfectly valid interpretation, but in the eternity of the here and now. Our decisions day to day actually do have an impact on the world, on every level of reality, from the emotional to the material.

Kate Turner talks about reaching a place of inner stillness in which we may finally hear “what makes us truly happy at a soul level”. This correlates with the ancient wisdom of Hindu, Zen, and Buddhist teaching (and esoteric Christian teachings as well) in which through meditation and prayer we may quite the noise of the world and hear the truth instead by getting in touch with the inner self.

This process will also lead us to becoming leaders. Rather than having a view of leaders being a rare minority, Kate Turner recognises that all of us can be leaders if we commit to, “the daily practice of taking responsibility for oneself, showing up fully and continuing to grow while enabling others to do the same.”

Rather than debating organisational structures (“top down” or “bottom up”), she advocates for a system whereby each person reclaims their own individual power.

To do this, we have to “align our actions and intentions with our motivations”, proving once again the vital importance of motivation in our lives!

This book makes an important contribution to the wellness and workplace debate; on top of which it provides practical tools and ideas to help implement what needs to be done if we are to have a thriving work environment. Strongly recommended as a great read.

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