One of my Twitter followers shared a quote the other day by Napoleon Bonaparte that says, “Leaders are dealers in hope.” It even had a nice picture with it. I thought quite a bit on that quote and I have to respectfully disagree. Leaders are actually not dealers in hope at all.
Hope can be defined as wishful thinking. A feeling or an expectation of a desired outcome. Though the idea sounds good, it can be quite dangerous to give someone hope when there is no data to back it up. It can also be a hinderance when you hope someone gets something done and then they don’t do it.
Hope involves too many what ifs. You wouldn’t lead your team with what ifs, would you? I wouldn’t.
Risk is similar to hope. It’s an uncertainty, but risk can typically be measured. Hope is not measurable.
“Hope is not a sustainable strategy.” – S. Chris Edmonds, The Culture Engine
We can’t create a strategy with hope as our driving fuel. We don’t have the time, resources, or manpower to take chances on such outcomes. Putting your strategy on hope is foolish and a gamble. Leaders do not gamble outcomes nor do they gamble their team’s future. People are too valuable for wishful thinking or planning.
“Make the goal expectations specific, measurable and trackable.” – S. Chris Edmonds, The Culture Engine
Leaders do, however deal with goal expectations that are specific, measurable and trackable for the positive growth of their team, organization and culture. Don’t give your team a false sense of outcomes. We need to give them clear visions(goals). If you gave someone hope and that hope didn’t play out like you expected, what would that do to the trust they have in you? Give people visions(goals) that are reachable and realistic in order to help them be better, do better and know better. At least that way, if things fail, the path is trackable to know where things went wrong.
I started this blog in August 2016 and forgot I was writing it. It was in my draft folder pretty much written, I just never scheduled a post. I don’t pretend to know everything about this topic, but this is my perspective on motivation. I believe we’re putting too much emphasis on the feeling of motivation that we forgot that it’s beyond a feeling.
One thing is certain. No matter if we want to do it or not, the job has to be done. If you’re waiting to feel motivated to do it are you delaying the mission? In that, what’s the point of feeling motivation when tasks need to be complete? Do we need to feel motivated to do our jobs? If you don’t have the desire(the feeling of wanting to do something) to do something that needs to be done that’s not called being unmotivated. It’s called procrastinating.
Most people perceive motivation as a feeling. A desire to do something. There are days you may wake up and “don’t feel like it,” but you get up and do things because they need to be done. If you’re waiting to feel ready, that feeling may never come.
I believe in excellence. It’s an important value to live by. I believe my focus on doing things with the upmost quality is my motivation. Do I need it to provide a high quality result? Yes, I do! Why? Because excellence is a part of my personal values and the thought of feeling motivated just won’t cut it. Motivation is also a reason someone acts. Reasons are tangible. They’re not feelings. I like to think of it as purpose. It is a purpose! When I have purpose, I have a goal. I have a target. Do I feel like waking up every day at 0500? No, but I have a sense of ‘why’ I need to get out of bed and it gets me out of bed every morning. Feelings have nothing to do with it. If people took action based off the feeling of motivation, they may be in bed all day. Our culture is groomed to think motivation is specifically a feeling. It’s not necessarily correct.
There will always be purpose, though. There will always be a reason for the things we do. A mission. A task. A goal. This is the bigger picture. Feelings may never come, but purpose always exists. Purpose is the light in darkness that provides a direction to the finish line. If you don’t know the purpose, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It means you have to find it.
For those of you who will remain waiting for that feeling I challenge you to take action anyway because the work still needs to be done regardless of our desire(feeling). Sometimes the mission doesn’t allow a delay. The mission still requires you to do your job regardless if you want to or not. The next time your team needs you, be there for them. Provide your experience and knowledge not because you ‘feel’ like it or not, but because it’s the right thing to do. Forget about feeling motivated. Be motivated because of the role(the purpose) you play on your team. You are important and people need you.