Published on February 15th, 2015 | by Nancy F. Clark0
Does Money Motivate Your Team?
By Maria Gamb—
During my days within corporate America I was mentored by a man I truly respected, Bill. He was a strong, ethical, inspirational and compassionate leader. Every year at bonus time, he’d close his door for hours upon hours. I just figured he was busy with one project or another, but I later found out what he was doing in there, and over his weekends for that matter. Bill was crunching numbers. Not just any numbers, but the insane formulas deployed by the corporation used to calculate everyone’s bonus and incentives.
It was explained to me, “Bill takes this very seriously. People are motivated by money.” It was shocking. Now don’t think I’m naïve – stay with me for a few more minutes. I appreciated his diligence to ensure everyone was rewarded appropriately, but the motivation piece just didn’t feel right for me.
Later that week I ran into Bill on the way out to elevator banks. He looked like a kid at Christmas. When I enquired he simply said, “It’s bonus time!” He then beamed, “People are really motivated by money, Maria.” My jaw dropped and I protested. I always knew that people liked money (don’t we all want more comfort?!) but is it really the only thing that motivates people to do a good job? What about the rest of the year? Bill assured me that it’s really important. With respect to Bill, I let it go, but it always bothered me.
People are, in fact, not motivated by money. They are motivated by a few simple desires as uncovered by social psychologist David MacClelland. Money most certainly can be a sub-motivating factor, however it all boils down to these 3 factors as the dominant desires.
1) Achievement – Those motivated by achievement are keyed into hitting the mark, checking off their list and then focusing on the next achievement. Money can be a byproduct of the achievement-motivated person’s work.
2) Affiliation – The affiliation-motivated person seeks to be part of a group, movement, association or team. This inclusion brings them the greatest fulfillment. Money can be a means to being part of these groups in some instances, but it is not the driver. They yearn to be “part of” a group or working in conjunction with others.
3) Power – For those who are motivated by power, they seek to organize people in a more formal, institutional structure such as a corporation. Alternately they seek social power, the power to influence others, which oftentimes can be perceived as negative or undesirable. Money can be used to the benefit of the power-motivated individual to organize, influence or even manipulate others for either the greater good or bad, but it is not the main focus for such individuals.
Bill was right, people are motivated by money, but only as a means to get what it is that they truly desire: achievement, affiliation and/or power. That is why it is critical to really hear what your team is saying to you. Are they speaking the language of an affiliate or a power person? Or perhaps they are someone who is really focused on achievement. Trying to get someone who seeks affiliation to be motivated by power is a losing battle, as is speaking to an achievement-focused person in tones related to power.
It’s important to be aware these communication nuances and skills, because between the day their bonus arrives you still have 364 days where you’ll need to ensure that your team is engaged and motivated. Can you do it? Are you willing to meet them where they are with rewards, actions and engagements that will work towards their greatest desires in order to achieve a greater bottom line. Is won’t be hard. In fact it could be easy and dare I say, fun, if you just watch the cues.
Maria Gamb is the Amazon Top 10 best-selling author of “Healing the Corporate World” and CEO of NMS Communications, the corporate consulting and training company. Website: www.MariaGamb.com Twitter: @mariagamb