From the Deming Electronic Network: Incentives [the broken link was removed]:

I don’t think motivation deserves to be discarded to the archives of “Arbitrary Goals.”
I have to pose this, though: was Deming explicit on best ways to handle motivation?

To me the problem is in the belief of needing to motivate workers (that is theory x thinking). I think it is much more accurate to say managers need to focus on eliminating de-motivation.

See page 125 of New Economics on the Forces of Destruction (destroying intrinsic motivation). The best motivation is internally generated. Also see pages 37-40 of Peter Scholtes‘ excellent book the Leader’s Handbook.

Most manager focus on motivating people is wasted time and effort. Instead managers would be much more effective if they focused on improving the system, learning, coaching, eliminating de-motivation…

John Dowd says [the broken link was removed]:

I think many organizations could benefit from gain sharing/profit sharing plans. They generate a feeling of belonging and shared venture.

I agree with this. I wonder what others think.

More on Motivation [the broken link was removed] from John Dowd

John Hunter

5 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. Employee ownership can be a really great way to encourage employees. Certainly, partnerships are often much happier than corporations. There are caveats, though, to ESOPs.

    Most ESOPs never will give employees enough of a share to feel like stakeholders. Consider: your salary is $30,000. You own 5000 shares of stock at $20, which would be a lot for someone at this paygrade to have accumulated. Would you prefer a 3% raise or a $0.25/share dividend/quarter? Obviously, you’d prefer the raise. But the non-employee stockholders want the dividend. There’s only so much money to go around.

    On the other hand, the executives are probably being given tons of stock, in addition to lavish pay. Your piddly 5000 shares will never have any voice compared to their 500,000 or 1,000,000 shares. They are unlikely to give you and your fellow workers that kind of voting power either.

    The situation is even more cynical when it’s employee stock options plans. There, the vesting period is usually unreasonable, like 5 years. Companies grant options for like 1000 shares to line employees, and then think that this will motivate them to “work hard” and build the company for five years. Most employees write these things off like they’re as fake as they are. As employees were leaving one sinking ship I observed, the managers were like, “What about your options!” The employees were incredulous that the managers actually believed the options would ever be in the money.

    The only way to truly motivate employees with ownership is to give them enough voting power that a reasonable-size bloc could seriously affect the direction of the company, such as in the selection of executives and their pay, and in the financial decisions. I don’t think many companies are willing to go this far!

    In my opinion, it’s much easier to just hire people for jobs they want to do, and not sap their intrinsic motivation.

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