I embraced a moment of tranquillity, shutting my eyes and focusing on each breath. Inhale. Exhale. As my chest rose and fell, I delved into the depths of darkness, exploring with my mind's eye. Disappointment crept in as I encountered an empty void. However, undeterred, I persisted in my quest for meaning. Patience, curiosity, and unwavering focus guided me. Unexpectedly, my attention was drawn to my hands in this ethereal realm. To my astonishment, they shimmered with a captivating purple glow. "Wicked!" I thought to myself. "What does this signify?" Suddenly, a mischievous cartoon snake materialized, out of nowhere, tempting me with a succulent apple. "Jussst a sssmall bite," it hissed. “Tassste it! Come on! Tassste it!” Uncertain, yet intrigued, I pondered my next move. What should I do? The snake insisted…
The above passage captures a personal revelation during Co-Active Coaching training. Guided by the leaders at the forefront, I embarked on a journey to craft my life-purpose statement. This experience was nothing short of exhilarating, as it bestowed upon me clarity, self-awareness, and a profound understanding of my purpose. It became my guiding light, influencing my decisions, interactions, and relationships. The potency of this exercise has empowered me to better serve individuals within the organisations I collaborate with, enabling them to craft their life-purpose statements.
Workplace Motivation - A Global Challenge
Perhaps you're all too familiar with a common scenario: encountering teams lacking motivation, plagued by excuses, evasion of responsibility, and the grip of procrastination. These individuals are deprived of their fundamental psychological needs, such as autonomy in their work, freedom to express ideas without fear of criticism, and a genuine sense of care and appreciation. This pattern extends beyond a specific team, department, organisation, industry, or even country—it's a global phenomenon.
Strategies to Combat Workplace Demotivation
The good news, however, is that numerous strategies can combat demotivation in the workplace:
Unleash the Power of Discovery - Today, many organisations prioritize project delivery over providing their employees with the opportunity to learn new ways of working. Consequently, individuals are left to acquire skills ad hoc, lacking the necessary support, and are unjustly accused of offering excuses rather than results. However, enlightened organisations adopt a smarter approach. They deliver incremental solutions, embracing the philosophy of learning through small experiments and adaptive findings that generate meaningful outcomes for their customers. Such organisations afford their employees dedicated time to reflect on their newfound knowledge, disseminate it throughout the organisation, and actively apply novel approaches. In my view, allocating time to discovery is a crucial foundation for the subsequent tools that address workplace demotivation.
Coaching for Life's Purpose - A skilled coach aids teams in clarifying the profound internal experience of being aligned with their purpose. Through guided inner journeys and introspection, organizations can unravel their impactful presence and craft their unique life-purpose statement. Coaches assist in identifying core values, evaluating the satisfaction derived from living these principles, and instigating positive change.
Unearth the Power of Values - Empower your teams to reconnect with and honour their values. Encourage them to recall peak moments in their lives when they felt fulfilled, delving deeper to mine the values intertwined within those experiences. Pay attention to the energy levels that arise, expanding on each value discovered. Prompt teams and organizations to recognize instances where values may be suppressed or taken to extremes, as these often serve as sources of frustration and discontent.
Envision Your Dreams - Encourage teams to visualize their aspirations and ambitions through a Vision or Big Dreams Board. Starting with their life-purpose statement, they can add their grand dreams, core values, inspiring images, and quotes. Placing this board near their workspace, and viewing it daily, provides the impetus needed to pursue their goals with unwavering determination. Regularly revisit and revise this vision, ensuring its relevance and alignment with their evolving journey.
Mobilize Motivators - Engage teams in an exercise known as Moving Motivators, devised by Jurgen Appelo. Based on ten intrinsic desires—such as mastery, acceptance, and relatedness—team members rank these motivators from least to most important. Introduce a change scenario, such as a team lead departing for another organisation, and encourage discussions on how this change affects individual motivators. By sharing personal priorities, team members gain profound insights into their motivations, fostering stronger bonds and deeper relationships.
Harness Employee Engagement - Consider implementing an engagement survey, such as Gallup's renowned assessment comprising twelve simple questions. Allow employees to participate anonymously, either online or in person. The true value lies in managers discussing the results with their team members and actively seeking suggestions for improving working conditions. By genuinely valuing employee opinions, fostering ideation, and following up with concrete actions, managers demonstrate their commitment to their teams' well-being. Failure to do so can exacerbate disengagement, as employees interpret inaction as a lack of care.
Allow me to conclude by revisiting the story that opened this article—the life-purpose exercise. As I closed my eyes and savoured the forbidden apple, a revelation unfolded. It was a divine moment, realising that the apple symbolized boundless learning opportunities. My life purpose resonated with the essence of my Hebrew name—a cart brimming with goodness—a purpose I joyously share with others on their learning journeys. What does your life-purpose statement entail?