Human beings are motivated by different things. In sports, athletes strive for victory, personal statistics and money. While coaches would like to see athletes vie exclusively for victory, the truth is that many care more about their personal glory and the balance in their bank account.
In business, young professionals, too, are driven by different things. Some care about the size of their paycheck, others want to travel, many yearn for respect, while others vie for power. Regardless of what drives you, you will inevitably come to the realization that to get what you strive for, you will first have to motivate others around you.
Motivation remains one of the greatest wild cards in business. The right motivator can take a so-so team and lead them to victory. The wrong motivator can take a cast of all-stars and drive them into the proverbial basement. Motivation is not the sole factor, mind you, but it does serve as a major intangible that separates the winners from the losers.
As young professionals grow up and rise throughout a company’s structure, they are cast in new roles as motivators. Increasingly, the task at hand goes from purely performing on your own to capturing the imagination of others. Charisma, intelligence, candor, character, and a proven track record are some of the traits of a sound motivator. The problem is that usually, those with the greatest amount of these traits find themselves in a position that makes them lose the motivation themselves.
How come? The reason is that some people simply realize that they would have more to offer, and more to gain, in another scenario.
In recent news, there have been some high-profile cases of people losing motivation.
Like father, like son?
Over the past decade, Rupert Murdoch has built News Corp. into an icon of business. The company’s sprawling operations include some of the most valuable brands in the media sector, including FOX, 20th Century Fox, TV Guide, BSkyB, DirecTV, The New York Post, The Australian, HarperCollins, and many more behemoths.
The heir apparent to this empire was none other than Rupert’s son, Lachlan. In spite of the size of the dominion due to him, the younger Murdoch recently tendered his resignation.
Rumors suggest that Lachlan resigned due to a family feud over whether Mr. Murdoch’s two youngest children with his third wife, Wendi Deng, would stand to reap equal shares of the family trusts that control the company. It may strike you as a bit ironic that someone who’s been regularly accused of benefiting from nepotism would suddenly object when it favors someone other than him. Nonetheless, within three days of his resignation, the younger Lachlan registered his new company, Illyria.
What Lachlan may or may not do with Illyria is secondary to the fact that he was not motivated to continue to build an empire which he would reap only a fraction of. Interestingly, when you consider that Alexander The Great’s mother Olympia hailed from Illyria (modern-day Albania), it may shed light on the younger Murdoch’s state of mind vis—vis his father’s intentions to include the children of his new wife. You might recall that Alexander felt particularly slighted about his father’s Philip plans for his new wife’s child, which would come at Alexander’s expense.
A lucky few stand to earn more by leaving work rather than staying…
Lachlan has been accused of many things, but you can’t blame him of a lack of common sense. Especially since it’s never easy to operate a company with your father’s DNA embedded so deeply in it.
No matter how silver the platter, a son will inevitably want to build his own legacy and reap the benefits that come with it. A father (or boss) who fails to recognize this fails at successor planning.
Have golden parachute, will travel
Few of us find ourselves tagged as the heir apparent of a $50-billion company. Some of us do, however, find ourselves in a position to benefit from golden handshakes or parachutes. Some lucky employees actually discover that they would benefit more by becoming unemployed than they would by continuing to work.
How employees find themselves in this predicament is simple: The truth is that talent is scarce, and finding motivated (there’s that word again) talent is even harder, so management finds itself in the tricky position of having to dole out outrageous packages to lure talent.
As a young professional, if you find yourself in the position of landing such an agreement, it admittedly becomes hard to remain focused and motivated. But you have to realize that your skills might erode by simply accepting the parachute and jumping out. What you should do is find new opportunities within the firm to become a greater manager.
If, however, you realize that the opportunities are brighter on the outside than on the inside, then bide your time and time your jump to get out before your skills erode. After all, there can be too many cooks in a kitchen, and unless you have the biggest pots, you might be better served setting up your own canteen elsewhere.
Conversely, young professionals oftentimes find themselves in position of management, and nothing is harder than having to manage someone who is planning their own getaway. In this scenario, you need to simply open up the dialogue and candidly engage your employee to find out their state of mind. If they intend on bolting, then be realistic and motivate them to find their own successor. Like motivation, candor and fairness are two-way streets.
E-mail of the week:
No matter how much I practice, every time I go in to make a presentation, I fumble the ball and come across as a mumbling fool. Any tips?
Yes. Perhaps you are practicing too much and worsening your skills. Def Leppard, Bryan Adams and Shania Twain‘s producer Mutt Lange said it best: A guitarist can practice every day, but if their fundamentals are off, they are only practicing to become worse.
What you should do is simply frame the message you are trying to formulate. This can translate into two or three major points or themes. At most, write out what you want to cover a few days before your presentation, then put it away and do not look at it again. By doing so, you’ll get the overall feel of what you wish to convey, and to some extent you will subconsciously ingrain the specifics in your brain without handcuffing yourself to a specific text. Finally, and this is key, one should never talk to their audience, you should converse with them. Engage them and ask questions, feed off of them and have fun. Good luck.
Ash Karbasfrooshan is also the author of Course To Success, available at www.CourseToSuccess.com. His new book, The Confessions of Alexander The Great: 33 Lessons in Greatness, is available at www.AlexanderTheBook.com.