Today's Takeaway:

Motivation vs. Inspiration

I recently attended the global leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek church in Chicago. Each year, I look forward to participating in this conference because the lineup of amazing speakers is incredible.

This year showcased John Maxwell, Simon Sinek, Sheila Heen, Craig Groeschel, and many more. All leadership experts and very successful individuals in their careers and various companies. 

Interestingly, the very first speaker on the first day was breaking down the difference between motivation and inspiration during his presentation.

He was talking about how with inspiration, we attract people to perform. He went on to say how inspirational leaders will pull in and attract people to perform based on our enthusiasm, whereas motivation is more akin to pushing someone to achieve a certain goal or task. 

For example, think about how “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”

He was making a great point about how leaders need to be more inspirational, pulling our teams to greater performance instead of motivating them. He made some really impactful points about how inspiration is so incredibly important... and how it is a discipline that most Leaders should work on first.

We should be inspirational, not motivational.

As leaders, we should become better cheerleaders and work with more enthusiasm. We need to stir up feelings from deep within an individual so that they internally want to experience success.

But, because of the fact that many of us as leaders are older, and we're tired, and we're busy, inspiration just doesn't make it into our list of things to do each day.

And at work, aren’t most bosses always looking to give out commands?

These are great reasons why we should learn to inspire better and practice it frequently. 

But here’s the thing….I started to listen with increased skepticism as the speaker was saying that inspiration is more important than motivation.

And finally, he lost me when I started comparing his guidance to my personal experience.

Yes, inspiration is key! But, I think motivation is very important and I'm specifically talking about in extrinsic motivation when it comes to dealing with inexperienced millennial employees.

Which is my playground.

When dealing with young adults, we motivate in a way that helps someone earn a reward or avoid punishment. Sometimes they just need a kick in the pants. They just need a little jump start. Not everyone is a self-starter with a lot of initiative.

As leaders, we need to spend more time modeling and exemplifying what we want accomplished and how we want it executed, then reward the behavior by honoring someone financially, verbally or whatever.

Motivating and rewarding someone can induce interest and participation in an activity in which the individual had no initial interest.

In our case that means we’re getting young adults interested in taking a job and showing up to work instead of playing FortNite. 

So, to summarize today's lesson... Leaders of millennial's and younger adults have an obligation and huge opportunity.

Not only can we inspire others intrinsically with enthusiasm and by speaking words of life, but by extrinsically motivating to get the best from their team.

It's going to take a holistic, full-scale tack to succeed in leading a generation that is so different than you and me.

For Millennials, it’s going to take Motivation and Inspiration.  

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To Millennials, the Most Important Role of Business is to Improve the Livelihoods of its Customers and Employees

We’ve talked before about how Millennials’ view of work is fundamentally different from previous generations. And this is especially true when it comes to the benefits they receive through employment.

Previous generations might view their relationship with their employer through the lens of what they provide to the business. Millennials take the exact opposite view. They want to know what the business will provide for them.

This requires something of a seismic shift in the way companies relate with their employees, and smart organizations are making these changes in ways that meet both their employees needs and their own business goals.

As the singer once said, “the times they are a changin’.”


Values Matter to Millennials

Most Millennials want their work to mean something. Now that’s not to say your business needs to transform itself into a social purpose organization. It just means you need to communicate (and communicate, and communicate) your company’s mission, vision, and values so your Millennial employees understand how their work fits into accomplishing them.

If your organization is not communicating (and communicating, and communicating) with its employees, or even worse, has no well-defined mission statement, then you’ll never get full buy-in from your young workers.

And, frankly, that’s a mistake you cannot afford.


Work Doesn’t Matter to Millennials the Way it Matters to Other Generations

There’s a popular conception in American culture that Millennials are lazy. But is this really true? I’d argue instead that Millennials seem lazy because they don’t value work and financial compensation the way other generations do.

So what does this mean for business leaders? Basically, that trying to motivate these young workers through the promise of pay raises for working above-and-beyond will probably be ineffective.

It’s going to take much more than that.


Managers MUST Create Buy-In Through Communication

I promised I’d tell you what Millennials really want. So here it is. In a workplace setting, Millennials want:

- An opportunity to grow.

- A competitive wage rate.

- A personal investment from their employer or manager.

Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Unfortunately not every organization can give Millennials everything they want. But all leaders, from small business owners, to C-Suite Executives, need to find a way to help Millennials be successful.

And in the end, that is the manager’s responsibility. So, how can you be motivate Millennials through communication? Watch the video.


Millennials Have Nearly Unlimited Knowledge but Little Experience to Back it Up

Imagine having easy access to the world’s collected knowledge right in your back pocket. Well, you don’t really have to imagine because it already exists. The internet and our mobile devices make it possible to answer any conceivable question with just a few quick taps. Now imagine you’ve never known it any other way…

Millennials and other young workers are perhaps the most knowledgeable generation to ever enter the workforce. They’re certainly one of the most highly educated generations and they have Siri, and Alexa, and Google there to fill in any knowledge gaps.

What they don’t have, however, is the practical experience to provide context for all that knowledge. Or, experience with people in authority expecting them to deliver results on a deadline.

So, we have a knowledgeable, self-confident, but inexperienced generation colliding with supervisors who care more about execution than they do about most anything else.

When you think about it that way, it’s no wonder they’re struggling.


To be a Credible Leader You Must Embrace Your Shortcomings

As a leader, you may be tempted to cover up your shortcomings - or worse - deny they even exist. But believe me, this isn’t a winning strategy. The most effective leaders actively seek out their Blind Selves (more on this in the video) and embrace those shortcomings.

Why is this so important? Because once we’ve accepted our strengths and weaknesses for what they are, we can stop bullsh***ing ourselves and get down to the real work.

But it’s not always easy.


Lead Millennials Better. Grow Your Business.

Get priority access to our Millennial Leadership Blueprint Series when we launch in November 2018.


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