Imagine if it was possible to increase people’s motivation with just one, five minute exercise.
Business expert, Professor Adam Grant has devised an innovative experiment showing how meaning and motivation work together to impact motivating, job satisfaction and productivity- almost instantly.
Adam Grant; Business professor and bestselling author.
Professor Grant worked with call centre staff employed to seek donations for a university scholarship fund. In one experiment he arranged for staff to meet with a real-life beneficiary of a scholarship- as a casual ‘meet n’ greet’. The meeting was only five minutes long, - just enough to ask some questions and find out how the scholarship had impacted the person’s life.
This team went on to raise three times more money, and record consistently longer and more engaged conversations with potential donors compared with a control group who did not have the meeting.
When people see first-hand how their efforts impact on the lives of others motivation increases, and even mundane work becomes more rewarding.
But not every workplace can meet stakeholders.
In a follow-up study Professor Grant outdid himself. Working with lifeguards at a community recreation centre he arranged for one group to read some case histories describing how lifeguards had saved people’s lives. A second group were given stories about how being a lifeguard had proved beneficial to the careers of the lifeguards. Again, both groups spent only five minutes reading their respective stories.
Fowling this simple five minute exercise the first group significantly outperformed the second on measures of productivity, loyalty and volunteering hours. So although it can be problematic inviting real life stakeholders to meet with teams, just being reminded of how your efforts impact others is enough to increase team motivation.
If you’re a leader be creative. Think of innovative ways of showcasing success stories of your team making a difference in people’s lives.
Motivation is remembering why we do it.