How many times have you thought to yourself, “If I could just reach in and motivate that person things would be a lot easier.” This is your lucky week because in this short blog, I think I can provide you with some awfully useful information that will start you on your path to motivating others. In fact, when it comes down to it, there are really only two ways to motivate others. People are motivated by consequence or value. That’s not debatable. What is debatable is exactly how to figure out which is appropriate for the person you are communicating with.
For example, your typical cigarette smoker will stop smoking for one of two reasons. They might quit because it begins to dawn on them just how much money they might save, and what they could do with that money – value. Or, they may stop because of a health scare they hear from a friend, or even from their own doctor – consequence. Even in this example, you can see that consequence is often the more powerful motivator, but let’s save that for another blog. The fact is that it often comes down to learning what motivates each unique individual.
Consequence is seen through the eyes of another as, “What will happen if I don’t make a change?” Value is seen through the eyes of another as, “What will happen if I do make a change?” It would make things much easier if people showed up with a user’s manual and told you which motivation they subscribed to, but it doesn’t work that way. We have to figure it out on the fly.
If you want to speak someone else’s language, it is awfully important to determine what motivates them to action. I want to start by encouraging you to remember: It’s not what motivates you – it’s what motivates the person you are communicating with. How many times have you bought someone a gift you thought he or she was going to love, but you realized later that it was you who loved that item. This same kind of blindness takes place when we motivate others, and we have to be wary of it.
Let me give you a couple of ideas to help you figure this out. Anyone who has ever spent a minute with me already knows any conversation begins with questions. The more someone else talks, the more they typically like us. It makes sense to begin with easy, non-problem related questions, such as: “What brought you into this business?” You will probably hear one of two answers:
- “I always wanted to work for myself. I just couldn’t stand putting in the hours for someone else’s profit.” This reflects a decision based on consequence.
- “I always wanted to work for myself. I enjoy spending time with people and working with their families.” This reflects a decision based on value.
Quite simply, if you hear a response filled with concerns that needed to be addressed, you are working with someone who makes decisions based on consequences. If you hear a response that paints a more pleasant picture of change, you are working with someone who makes decisions based on value. You can choose questions that mirror the appropriate approach, drilling down into the consequence of not making a change, or the value of making that change. As you dig deeper into the conversation, you can use questions to fit the person, such as:
- “I always wanted to work for myself. I just couldn’t stand putting in the hours for someone else’s profit.”
“How many hour a week were you putting in?”
- “I always wanted to work for myself. I enjoy spending time with people and working with their families.”
“What are some of the other benefits you get from working for yourself?”
By understanding what motivates people and learning how to determine these qualities in those you are conversing with, you can structure your conversation to support this. This knowledge will go a long way in helping you to connect, at a much deeper level, with those you are communicating with. It’s just a matter of speaking the other person’s language… so to speak!