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Sparking the Fire of Motivation

I’m often asked the question, “How do I motivate my people to change?”

What’s my answer?

You can’t.

Maybe you’ve noticed this in your personal relationships – you can’t make anyone want to do anything.

Even though your goal is to implement an entire culture of accountability at your professional services firm, not every individual person is going to be on board with the process. As the leader of the firm, you need to reserve your time and effort for the people who are serious about improving. You can’t help people who won’t help themselves.

That being said, you also don’t want to give up too quickly. It’s natural for some of your people to be reluctant or resistant, especially if they’ve seen other management initiatives come and go.

While you can’t really motivate people, you can create an environment that makes it easier for them to motivate themselves:

1) Make it easier to succeed – Acknowledge what’s going well, and encourage people to ask for help and ask questions. When people aren’t afraid of making mistakes, they’re more willing to try.

2)  Be certain you have reciprocal clarity of expectations, consequences and timelines – People will work more for success if everyone has agreed on what success looks like.

3) Help people get what they want – Find out what’s important to them, and then provide the tools, resources and support to help them get there. If they know they’re not alone, they’ll feel more encouraged and confident about their efforts.

And don’t forget these accountability basics: Meet with your people regularly so they can see that all of these pieces are in place. Recap what’s been said so everyone leaves on the same page. And write it down so everyone has something to refer to later.

While you can never force someone into feeling motivated, as the leader it’s your job to get these sparks started so your people can find their own way there. That’s why when it comes to accountability, the buck starts here…with you!

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have any motivation strategies that have worked in your firm? What sparks your own fire of motivation, and when is the last time that happened? Tell me about it! You can either submit a comment below or email me personally.