Effective Communication Is Critical to Team Success
Article found on: Motivation for Dreamers
Reviewed by: BALBOA Concepts, Inc.
Powerful Team Building Communication
As a team leader or member, you need to understand that good team communication is vital to the success of your team.
Poor communication hinders a team’s ability to accomplish its goals,
- There are mind numbing discussions over details.
- There’s ongoing conflict between a couple of team members.
- A team member successfully and regularly leads the team along a rabbit trail.
- Meetings go much longer than their allotted time.
- Teams rush headlong into premature or irresponsible decisions.
- Team members are afraid to be open and honest; instead they keep their true feelings or opinions to themselves.
- There’s a prolonged absence of mutual care and respect on a team.
These are important indicators revealing an absence of honest and open team building communication; and these are just some of the symptoms!
What can you do?
Be aware of the pressures some of your team may be under. They have goals to accomplish and there may be some very high expectations to do with outcomes. This can be true whether it’s a team of cub-scout parents planning a camping trip or it’s a major corporation looking to bring about some significant change in a company.
Learn how to address and eliminate concerns or fears rather than minimizing them. This encourages healthy team building communication.
When meetings feel unproductive and energy is lost rather than gained, the team needs freedom to talk about what’s working and not working.
It is helpful to include three key elements in this discussion.
1. What is working well that we need to continue doing? (Always start with something positive!)
2. What are we not doing that we should be doing? (e.g. set some team ground rules; work on an appropriate team building exercise)
3. What do we need to stop doing? The leader may feel stuck about what’s not working, but the member’s collectively may know what needs to change or improve. The question is: Do the members feel safe to discuss their ideas and tell the truth?
Can you as a leader give up some control?
When there is conflict on a team it’s crucial to know some conflict resolution skills, or the conflict will destroy the team instead of build it. This team building skill will help your team’s communication in other areas also, and minimize future conflict.
A team needs to know one another in order to build healthy and respectful communication. Knowing each team member’s personality types will improves your team’s communication. Understanding each other better encourages patience and respect; key ingredients for good communication.
Without the communication of a vision, the team will lose energy. Team goals should be communicated regularly or attention will be diverted or lost.
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The key is effective communication! You, as a leader, need to build an environment for each team member where he or she feels safe to freely express their ideas without feeling judged or without objections being raised. Constructive criticism, as we all learned as children, is crucial. Everyone should be aware that sharing one’s ideas is great, but that someone else’s idea may be picked over theirs for the good of the project at hand. Get to know each person in the group and learn to read the situation. Know when to tell an individual to back down and to tell another to speak up. In the end, it’s all about getting to know each other and having synergy!
Synergy is when the collective group as a whole is more productive than it’s individual parts, making team work very important!
Article Found: Motivation for Dreamers
Books by Dr. Moses
Reviewed by: BALBOA Concepts, Inc.
Motivation Empowerment – introduction
Who is pulling your strings? Who is in control of your life and your destiny? Do you have a clear picture of where you are and where you are going or are you blinded and walking around in a daze?
If you are curious enough and look around you, it won’t take much to come to the conclusion that most people are living like lost puppets. They have lost all control of their lives and live according to what circumstance dictates.
Even sadder is the fact that most have resigned themselves to the situation and see no way out of the drudgery, meaninglessness and emptiness of their lives. There are perhaps the fortunate ones, who realize that something is wrong. The more unfortunate do not even realize the futility of their existence.
Motivation Empowerment – the lost puppet
“Lost puppets” is a sad, but true way to describe such people. They are “lost” because they are either reading the wrong road map of life or they are using the correct map but going in the wrong direction. They are “puppets” because they are not in the driver’s seat! Someone else is pulling the strings.
If you want to get around in Lusaka you will use a map of Lusaka and not one of New York. So to get around in life you need to have the correct road map of life. This road map represents your beliefs and attitudes. Your beliefs and attitudes have to be consistent with the truth.
Motivation Empowerment – get the right knowledge
It is your responsibility to get the correct knowledge so you can have the correct road map of life. Ignorance is no defense. Ignorance will kill you.
The old saying that “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” is not true. What you don’t know can and will hurt you. If you don’t know that you can be wealthy, you will live below your capabilities. If you don’t know that life can and should be enjoyed, you will spend your days in misery.
If you don’t know that you too can be great, you will die in mediocrity and all we will know about you is what school you went to and who you worked for. That is what is said at most funerals and I often ask myself: “is there nothing more that could be said about this person’s life? Did their being in this world make no difference to anyone else’s life?”
W.W. Ziege sums up the issue of our road map well when he says: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help with man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Motivation Empowerment – get in the driver’s seat
Moving on to the second point, you need to be in the driver’s seat of your life. You are? Are you sure? A lot of us have given our lives over to others without even realizing it. We let our careers or jobs dictate what we do and when we do it.
Most times it is our parents, spouses, friends or neighbours that determine what we do with our lives. We have given them power over our lives because we do not know what we personally want. The trouble is, neither do they. They are likely to be lost puppets as well.
The truth is that while you are not totally responsible for what does and doesn’t happen to you, you are responsible for how you respond to what happens to you. The truth also involves acknowledging that there are some things that are within your control and others that you cannot do anything about. If you focus your time and energy on the things you can change and stop worrying about the things you cannot change, your life will improve immeasurably.
Motivation Empowerment – what do you want, really?
Have you ever sat down and written clearly what you want your life to be? Have you designed your ideal life? You are not in control until you firmly and clearly write down what you want your life to be. If not, you are a passenger in your own life and a wisher.
There is a big difference between wishing and being a dreamer. Dreamers design their ideal life and work to achieve it everyday. They don’t believe in chance or luck. Wishers wait on a genii to grant their three wishes all their lives. The problem is, if the genii were to ever show up they still wouldn’t know what to wish for!
Motivation Empowerment – it’s not up to the government
Contrary to popular Zambian belief, the government is not responsible for all the problems in your life. Most of all, it is not responsible for how your life turns out. I hear so many people requesting government to do something about everything from the flooding in their own back yards to telling them how they should dress!
I cannot blame such people for seeing things that way. It is so typical of human nature to look outside of ourselves when faced with challenges and shortcomings. But, not only is the problem within us, the miracle is that the solution also lies within us.
If you are going to remember anything about this article it should be this: you are in total control of your life. The only person you can truly blame for your failures is you. Cut off those puppet strings and take charge. If you do not exercise that control then you have given it over to someone or something else whether by choice or by default.
Allow me to borrow a military term which states: “there is no blank file.” If a soldier leaves the formation either on parade or in battle someone else comes and takes over that position, it cannot be left blank. So it is with your life. The decisions you do not make are made for you.
It may seem hard to take full responsibility for your life, but ultimately you will find it is the single most empowering decision you will ever make. If you decide not to blame others for your failures and not to look to others for your successes, you will start to achieve great things. You will take back your power over your own life.
Motivation Empowerment – conclusion
Mark Victor Hansen concludes: “You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands: your own.”
You are all you can be. Go on and be it!
Article Found: Motivation for Dreamers
Books by Dr. Moses
Reviewed by: BALBOA Concepts, Inc.
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As the article states, most people fall into a rhythm of life that can be better described as “lost puppets”, or in my words zombies. We must all make sure that we don’t fall into a comfortable trap that is conformity and repetition. We need to go out there and learn all that we can! What if we can do more? If you stay in the same place, we will never know our full potential or all that we can achieve! We need to be the drivers in our own life, not the passenger. Your future is in your hands, not in anyone else’s.
Article found on: Motivation for Dreamers: Nothing Just Happens
Reviewed by: Balboa Concepts, Inc.
Nothing Just Happens – Introduction
Creflo Dollar always says “nothing just happens!” Everything happens because something caused it to happen. The law of cause and effect not only applies to success, but equally applies to failure.
Most of you would agree that such statements make sense when it comes to prosperity and success. But would you agree that cause and effect apply to poverty and failure as well?
What I mean is that it is generally accepted that if you are rich then you must have worked very hard to get rich. You must have done something special or extraordinary in order to acquire your wealth.
However, if you are a failure it is generally thought that you did not do anything, but simply happened to find yourself in that situation. Failure seems to be accepted as default circumstances in people’s lives.
Nothing just happens – introduction
But I dare say that the person that is a failure also did something extraordinary or special to be in that situation. They worked very hard at becoming and remaining failures. It takes effort to be successful. You have to dream of success, see yourself a success, plan, work on your plans every day, overcome obstacles, keep yourself motivated in the face of temporary defeat and not fold your hands to opportunities.
Similarly, it takes effort to be and remain a failure. You have to dream of failure, see yourself a failure, not plan, avoid working on anything worthwhile everyday, give in to temporary defeat and fold your hands to opportunities.
Nothing just happens – successful at failure
So people that are deemed as failures are very successful people. The problem is they are successful at the wrong things. They may be successful at being lazy, complacent, unimaginative, defeated and not taking charge of their lives.
Nothing just happens. Success has to be worked at. Equally, failure has to be worked at. I would propose that it takes just as much effort to succeed as to fail. What determines whether you succeed or fail is where that effort is directed or applied.
Everyone in Zambia is successful. The question is: “at what?” If you are a failure, then you are a poor success or a success at being a failure. So if you are not doing something to be a good success, you are doing something to be a bad success. There is no middle ground. You cannot be doing nothing about anything. You are either working very hard to succeed or you are working very hard to fail.
Nothing just happens – defining success
One definition of success is “the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.” I remember writing a poem on success some years back: “Success is achieving what one sets out to do; It is seeing your plans through; So if you set out to be poor and have not a dime on you, congratulations to you: Success is truly yours.” If you set out to be poor and then become rich you are a failure because you have not achieved your desired aim. So what are you setting out to do? What is your desire? What have you planned for? Riches or poverty? Sickness or health? Happiness or despair?
You see, success cannot be looked at in isolation. It can only be properly understood in the context of the desired outcome. What you desire or plan for ultimately determines whether you are successful or not. It therefore becomes unimportant how society in general defines success.
Nothing just happens – society’s standards
Society may say success is having a big house, driving a big car and having a big job. That is not necessarily true. You can have all these things, but if it’s not what you desired or planned for, you will still be unsuccessful.
Before I go any further let me say that I am not by any means trying to put down those that are not financially well-off and those that are suffering for one reason or another. Sometimes people find themselves in bad situations that were not their own creation at all.
My message is not that these and others like them are totally to blame for the situations they find themselves in. My message is that even in these desperate circumstances one thing remains true: we have the power to make a difference in our own lives. We have the capacity, one way or another, to change our own lives. Therefore, we have the option of staying in a situation or escaping it.
Nothing just happens – nothing is hopeless
I truly believe that no situation is ever hopeless. Anything can be turned around as long as you have breath in you. It may be a cliché, but “where there is a will, there is a way.” Yes, you may need a helping hand, but ultimately only you can make a lasting difference in your own life. Treating people like they cannot help themselves leads them to do just that. They become disempowered, hopeless and dependent. Over the past few weeks you have seen that it is important to have a dream and to pursue it with everything you have. Now you know that the size of your dream is up to you because the sky has never been the limit and you have all the potential to have anything and be anything you want.
Furthermore, you know that you have the full responsibility for your own life and should be in the driver’s seat, because it is your thinking and your talk that ultimately determine your destiny.
Nothing just happens – conclusion
Having known all these things, what do you desire? What are you working towards? What are you planning for? As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning for failure.”
Do not be a hearer only. Be a doer. Reading these articles every week won’t help you achieve your dreams. Action is what will bring your dreams to reality. Nothing just happens. You have to make it happen.
You are all you can be. Go on and be it!
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Everyone can be successful. It takes just as much effort in being a success as it is being a failure. If you want to be something, just go out there and do it. No more excuses, no more reasons why it isn’t possible. The only way to find out is to go out there and try! And even if you don’t succeed, you can say you went for it anyway. Life is short and it is up to you to make something of it. No one else can change your life, only you!
Never stop and never quit; that’s the motto of a job seeker who will never give up until he gets what he wants. A true go-getter does not get discouraged when he hits a stumbling block. Instead he views this as a challenge and is all the more inspired to do better. If you are constantly motivated, you will eventually realize that even in a down market, job seekers are not that powerless or without any alternatives. In fact, you have more control over your career circumstances than you allow yourself to think.
The following are strategies that consistently generate strong results for job seekers:
1. Be patient and remain positive.
A lot of job seekers tend to have a short fuse especially when they feel that time is running out. The longer you’re looking for a job, the more frustrated you become. To remain productive, pursue a handful of target companies on your list. If one opportunity doesn’t work out, you’ve still got others to look forward to. Another strategy is to be persistent in calling hiring managers for a follow-up, after you’ve submitted your resume or have been to an interview. Let them know that you are interested, but avoid being rude and impatient. Calling them once or twice every day will not get you any favors. Remember that the hiring process is usually extensive, and companies are just being careful in making their decision. Explore a lot of your prospects and always strive to keep an optimistic point of view.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of first impressions.
As you continue applying for positions in various companies, take care of how you interact with others. Attempt to leave a great first impression, whether it’s the secretary, the hiring manager or your fellow applicants. If you wish to differentiate yourself from other candidates, you must appear to be more eager, determined and serious to get the job. You must let them know how much you want to be there: show up early, dress smartly, be alert and be prepared.
3. Let employers know what you have to offer.
In every job interview, you have to convince the employer (or the hiring manager) why they should hire you out of all the other qualified applicants. The best way to do this is to identify the needs of the company and how you can fill them, using your skills and expertise. You must present yourself as an asset, and how being part of the team is a benefit to the organization, given your experience. Specify relevant challenges that you have overcome in the past, problems where you found practical solutions, and ideas that have produced tangible results. Employers always want to know that they are getting value for their money, and so you must convince them that hiring you is a definite advantage to contribute to the growth of the company.
4. Put together a portfolio.
It is never enough just to have a resume these days. As the marketplace becomes more competitive, people are finding new and creative ways on how to present themselves. One of these is by having a career portfolio. How extensive depends on the kind of work you do.
Usually it includes the following: a short (one-page) biography about your employment experience, a compilation of inspiring accomplishment stories, covers letters, and professional references. You can also include a list of your target organizations and a short marketing speech about yourself. If you are part of the creative industry, then you can also prepare a digital or printed book of your works (published or unpublished) – be it written articles, design samples.
5. Use the Internet to your advantage.
A lot of companies already have their own career websites and prefer to receive resumes and applications online. Some of them even use LinkedIn Pages or Facebook Fan Pages to engage possible candidates, using video testimonials of their own employees. Use the web to get in touch and engage with your target organizations and to research more about your industry. You can also create a website for yourself, and display your CV and portfolio there. Moreover, you can create a blog where you discuss topics that deal with your skills and experience. Build an audience through the use of social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter , Google Hangouts are a few examples to add to your credibility. And some even record their own introduction video and upload onto YouTube. By having a significant online presence and by presenting yourself as an expert on certain matters related to the position you are looking for, the right people will eventually find you. To support your networking activities, you can also use e-mail to keep in touch with your colleagues and other contacts.
6. Practice going to a job interview.
This is to improve your speaking and negotiating skills. Anticipate questions that might be asked during the interview, and prepare answers that are firm and direct to the point. Write a short speech (marketing spiel) about yourself, stating your job objectives, your experience and strengths that you can bring to the table, and commit them to memory. Practice negotiating about salary, compensation and benefits, among other things. Be polite, but firm. To gauge your performance, you can do any of the following tips: speak in front of the mirror, converse with a friend and act as if you’re in a real situation, or record yourself and listen to it later.
7. Build a network of reliable contacts.
These are people who have connections to your target organizations and industries. Keep in touch and meet with them regularly, and get to know them in a more personal capacity. Refrain from making your conversations strictly about business – ask about their interests, their families. Discuss ideas. Be sincere in building relationships with them. Don’t hesitate to offer your help where it is needed, even if you don’t get anything in return.
8. Improve your management skills.
As this is not your first walk in the park, there are a lot more things expected from you by future employers. Your capabilities may be something of value, but it is the years in your experience that makes you a target for bigger expectations and responsibilities. You’re no longer rank-and-file; you are a seasoned potential hire looking to secure a position at the executive level. You will be expected to handle teams, start projects, and deliver the big guns. Keep your skills current and relevant by attending seminars on career building and the like. Read up on business and industry trends, as well as organizational and strategic management. Talk to people who are in your field and learn from them constantly.
9. Nurture your brand.
You are your brand. You are what you sell to hiring managers and employers. Find your unique selling proposition, and cultivate that. Your strengths are your best marketing advantage, and you must position yourself as an expert at what you do at all time. Start by writing articles, giving presentations, speaking at events, or even teaching a class. Join professional and business organizations, and make every effort to get a leadership role. Be active in your community and win people over with your ideas and commitment.
10. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Weighing one person’s accomplishments against yours will only derail you from achieving more things. Accept that each life is different, and every person has his own path to take. Don’t waste time thinking of what could have been. Learn from your mistakes and start over again if need be. Many people go through a rough period while unemployed, but after a period of self-assessment, most realize that things happen for a reason. For example, one finds a job better than the last one and views being laid off as a blessing in disguise. Another who was forced to early retirement found more time to be with family and discovered another passion, which led to starting a business. The big lesson is: look at the big picture. Find the positive in your situation. Commit to this change in perspective and turn your adversity into a productive experience.
11. Never stop learning.
Continue developing your abilities by pursuing new things. Take classes, seminars or industry conferences that interest you, not just because it’s related to the work you are looking for right now. Enhance your credentials by getting a new professional certification. Enroll for lessons that are not necessarily related to corporate culture: guitar lessons, swimming lessons, even flower arrangement lessons. Keep your hands and your mind busy! Do all the things you’ve been meaning to do, but never had the time to. Explore the world that is out there, waiting to be discovered.
12. Live healthy, and live well.
Job search requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Eat well; get a lot of exercise, but rest when you need to rest. Have hobbies and enjoy doing what interests you. Get together with friends often. Spend time with your family. Don’t eschew routines and relationships at the expense of working hard to get the job that you want. If you take care of yourself, the good things will follow.
Performing a successful job search can bring in a lot of pressure. But end of the day, it’s still just a job. It is important to remember that it does not take precedence over things that really matter: a healthy body, people who love you, and a life to live to the fullest.
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This article is great for those of you who are on the prowl for a new career! Balboa Concepts is a great place to start, but if not, here is what you need to keep in mind. Be prepared, stay focused, and stay positive! If you go into an interview unprepared, they will notice. Although you may think you can just “wing it,” you’ll get much better results with a prepared dialogue. During the interview, you may think you’ve lost the interviewers attention, but make sure to stay focused and remember what you’re there for! Make yourself look like a star and do your best to make an impression. After the interview, stay positive! You may think it went badly, but who knows! The interviewer may just have had a very long day and you just happened to catch them when they show it. That doesn’t mean they weren’t paying attention or weren’t impressed by you! But, don’t steak your hopes on this one interview. Go out there and interview with as many companies as you can! The more cards you have, the higher the chances. Balboa Concepts, Inc. is hard driven and hopes you go out there and give it your all!
Many of us find ourselves in motivational slumps that we have to work to get out of. Sometimes it’s like a continuous cycle where we are motivated for a period of time, fall out and then have to build things back up again.
A good way to be continuously self-motivated is to implement something like these 8 steps from Ian McKenzie.
Keep a positive attitude: There’s is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. You can’t choose or control your circumstance, but can choose your attitude towards your circumstances.
How I see this working is while you’re developing these mental steps, and utilizing them regularly, self-motivation will come naturally when you need it.
The key, for me, is hitting the final step to Share With Others. It can be somewhat addictive and self-motivating when you help others who are having trouble.
My 8 Steps
I enjoyed Ian’s article but thought it could use some definition when it comes to trying to build a continuous drive of motivation. Here is a new list that is a little more generic:
- 1. Start simple. Keep motivators around your work area – things that give you that initial spark to get going.
- 2. Keep good company. Make more regular encounters with positive and motivated people. This could be as simple as IM chats with peers or a quick discussion with a friend who likes sharing ideas.
- 3. Keep learning. Read and try to take in everything you can. The more you learn, the more confident you become in starting projects.
- 4. Stay Positive. See the good in bad. When encountering obstacles, you want to be in the habit of finding what works to get over them.
- 5. Stop thinking. Just do. If you find motivation for a particular project lacking, try getting started on something else. Something trivial even, then you’ll develop the momentum to begin the more important stuff.
- 6. Know yourself. Keep notes on when your motivation sucks and when you feel like a superstar. There will be a pattern that, once you are aware of, you can work around and develop.
- 7. Track your progress. Keep a tally or a progress bar for ongoing projects. When you see something growing you will always want to nurture it.
- 8. Help others. Share your ideas and help friends get motivated. Seeing others do well will motivate you to do the same. Write about your success and get feedback from readers.
What I would hope happens here is you will gradually develop certain skills that become motivational habits.
Once you get to the stage where you are regularly helping others keep motivated – be it with a blog or talking with peers – you’ll find the cycle continuing where each facet of staying motivated is refined and developed.
My 1 Step
If you could only take one step? Just do it!
Once you get started on something, you’ll almost always just get into it and keep going. There will be times when you have to do things you really don’t want to: that’s where the other steps and tips from other writers come in handy.
However, the most important thing, that I think is worth repeating, is to just get started. Get that momentum going and then when you need to, take Ian’s Step 7 and Take A Break. No one wants to work all the time!
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BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 1: All these steps are excellent starting places when you feel stuck or lacking in motivation. The first step is to start simple. If you try starting with your final goal, you may feel overwhelmed and want to give up. Start simple so you can complete simple goals and build up your momentum for bigger goals later on.
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 2: It’s very important to surround yourself with positive, motivated people most of the time. There are always those people in your life that are down and stuck and just talking to these people can bring your mood and attitude down as well! Your goal is to try to limit your encounters with the negative, and increase your time with people that have more positive attitudes! We do end up being like the people we hang around after all. Pick the right people!
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 3: Always keep learning. The more knowledge you can get, the more confident you will feel about the information you are providing people, making them more confident of your abilities, increasing your personal drive to do more things and do them better!
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 4: When you hit obstacles along the way (because you always will), it’s easy to fall into a trap of pity and worthlessness. You always have to keep in mind that it will pass and think of everything positive about the situation instead of focusing on the immediate negative aspects. Once you can see the good, the bad won’t seem nearly as important.
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 5: This step relates to step 1 in a way. If you can’t get yourself started on something big, start with something small. If you stop thinking about doing something and just do it, it will be much easier to do more little things that will eventually lead to something bigger.
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 6: You know yourself better than anyone else. You know how you’ll react to certain good or bad situations. It’s smart to keep mental notes (or physical notes) on what you should think and how to react in certain situations so you can always be prepared to act in a productive way.
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 7: Keep track of your progress! There’s nothing more encouraging than actually seeing your progress over time on paper, on a picture, or some other visual aid. Once you can see that you’ve been accomplishing your goals, it’ll motivate you to keep going and reach the end.
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. reviews Step 8: By helping others motivate themselves, you in turn, help motivate yourself. If you can see others that you’ve helped keep moving making progress, this will encourage you to do the same! Receiving feedback can help you learn new and better ways to improve your knowledge and skills.
And, never forget that it’s ok to take breaks. Just don’t take too long!
by Robert Dilts
Motivation is generally defined as a “force, stimulus, or influence” that moves a person or organism to act or respond. According to Webster’s Dictionary, motivation is “the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action;” and “the reason for the action.” Thus, motivation relates to the internal processes that “move, impel, induce, or incite,” people to do the things they do. It is “the call to action” that stimulates us to initiate behaviors in the world around us. “Needs, drives, and desires” are typically cited as internal motives of our behaviors. “Incentives, rewards and reinforcement” are considered motivations derived from external sources.
One of the earliest theories of motivation was proposed by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle postulated that motivation was the result of an “appetitive” function, which always operated relative to some outcome or end. According to Aristotle, this “end” was provided or created by the thought processes of ongoing perception, memory or imagination. He claimed:
[I]t is the object of appetite which originates movement, this object may be either the real or the apparent good…To the thinking soul images serve as if they were contents of perception…just as if it were seeing, it calculates and deliberates what is to come by reference to what is present; and when it makes a pronouncement, as in the case of sensation it pronounces the object to be pleasant or painful, in this case it avoids or pursues.
In Aristotle’s view, it was “the real or the apparent good” of some anticipated consequence, or image of “what is to come” derived in “reference to what is present,” that simulated a living organism to pursue it (if positive) or avoid it (if negative).
Sigmund Freud proposed the “pleasure principle” as the primary mechanism of motivation. According to Freud, organisms are driven to “seek pleasurable experiences” and “avoid pain;” a notion which clearly reflects Aristotle’s concept of “appetites.”
Modern cognitive theories of motivation also mirror Aristotle’s model, postulating that motivation is primarily derived from internal cognitive maps or “expectations” of the potential consequences of various actions. According to the cognitive perspective, expectations relating to the projected outcomes of one’s behavior are the primary source of motivation. From this view, how people feel, and what they do, depends on the value that they attach, and the causes they attribute to, anticipated consequences. Strong “positive” expectations, for instance, can push people to put out extra effort in hope of reaching some desired outcome. Expected consequences that are perceived as “negative,” on the other hand, will lead to either avoidance or apathy.
In addition to pain and pleasure, “needs” and “drives” are also associated with motivation. From the perspective of systems theory, for instance, the need for a system to maintain balance or homeostasis is considered one of the fundamental sources of motivation in organisms. According to cybernetics, deviation from a desired state automatically leads to corrective measures to attempt to regain the state. “Food seeking” behavior, for example, would be motivated by “hunger” which would occur as a result of a physiological imbalance created by some degree of food deprivation.
Self-organization theory would view “consequences,” “expectations” or “needs” as types of “attractors” around which the rest of the system “self organizes” in order to produce some type of stable state or pattern.
Some models of motivation simply connect it with learned associations or conditioning, suggesting that it is essentially mechanically programmed in through repetition or external reinforcement. These theories of learning and motivation are centered around the paradigm of the ‘reflex arc‘ we take in some sensory stimulus, which causes some response, which is subsequently either positively or negatively reinforced. Attempts to motivate others which are based on the presuppositions of the reflex arc often center around giving people clearer stimuli, and providing appropriate ‘reinforcements’ in terms of praise, monetary rewards, fringe benefits, etc. Much of the research designed to support the ‘reflex arc’ paradigm has been done with rats, pigeons and dogs, however, and is unable to account for many phenomena related to motivation which seem to be independent of external reinforcements. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, created his voluminous notebooks on his own, without the need for any obvious “reflex arc” providing external “rewards,” such as money or praise. This type of high degree of internal self-motivation seems to be a common pattern for works of creativity and genius.
As opposed to the reflex arc, the standard NLP paradigm for learning and motivation is the T.O.T.E. (which stands for Test-Operate-Test- Exit). The T.O.T.E. Model (Miller, Gallanter and Pribram, 1960) combines Aristotle’s notion that “appetites” are directed toward some end with the cybernetic concept of self-correcting feedback loops. The T.O.T.E. model maintains that behavior is goal driven (teleological) rather than stimulus driven (deterministic), as is proposed by the reflex arc. The distinctions of the T.O.T.E. define the basic elements of a goal oriented feedback loop unless certain conditions defined by the “Test” are met, the person will continue to “Operate” in order to attempt to fulfill those conditions. Thus, the “motivation” is the outcome or conditions to be achieved, not some external reinforcement. No additional “drive,” “force,” “external reinforcement,” or other explanation is required. Natural, self-correction is an integral part of any healthy living, or self-organizing, system.
Starting with the T.O.T.E. as its basis, the NLP view of motivation then incorporates all of the other various perspectives of motivation to some degree. NLP also adds the influence of other aspects of our mental programming. According to NLP, for instance, certain qualities (Submodalities) of the internal representation of some object or behavioral consequence (such as its color, brightness, distance, etc.) will influence whether we perceive it as “positive,” “pleasurable,” and “desirable,” or “negative,” “painful,” or “frightening.” Thus, adjusting the Submodality qualities of our internal representation of some outcome or expected consequence, will alter its degree of attraction, and thus the intensity of motivation we experience.
Another important aspect of motivation in NLP relates to Meta Program Patterns. Meta Program distinctions refer to higher level patterns related to the T.O.T.E. i.e., the ways that goals are established and assessed, and the way that operations and responses are selected in the attempt to achieve those goals. The goal or “Test” phase of the T.O.T.E., for instance, can be set up to represent either the state that a person wants to achieve, or what they seek to avoid. The goal state may be represented in terms of either a vision, logical construction, actions or an emotional state; and can come from past memories or constructions projecting possible futures. It may also be an attempt to maintain an ongoing present state. The goal and its achievement may be cast in terms of either a long term or short term time frame, and so forth.
The Meta Program pattern distinguishing whether a person is “approaching positives” or “avoiding negatives,” then, would determine what types of consequences would most likely move the person to action. Similarly, patterns relating to whether a person’s outcome is represented with respect to the long term future or immediate present, or is oriented toward generalities or details, will have a significant effect on the types of situations and “reinforcements” that will most likely motivate that person.
On another level, NLP perceives both Meta Programs and motivation as ultimately being driven by values and beliefs i.e., the level of processes related to why we think and act the way we do. Values and beliefs shape how an individual “punctuates” and gives “meaning” to his or her perception of a situation. This, in turn, determines which kinds of mental programs and behaviors the person selects to approach that situation. Thus, our beliefs and values provide the internal reinforcement that supports or inhibits particular capabilities and behaviors. This makes them an important influence on motivation.
A person’s “hierarchy” of “values” or “criteria,” for instance, will greatly influence the way that person acts in the world. Hierarchies of values relate to the degree of importance or meaning which people attach to various actions and experiences. (They form a series of, what are called, “nested T.O.T.E.s.) An example of a ‘hierarchy of values’ would be a person who values ‘relationship’ more than ‘achievement’. Such a person would tend to put his or her relationships “first.” This person would probably structure his or her life more around maintaining good relationships than completing tasks and outcomes. A person whose hierarchy of criteria placed ‘achievement’ over ‘relationships’ would consistently act according to different priorities. He or she might sacrifice his or her relationships in order to achieve success.
On a practical level, NLP combines these various influences on motivation together in order to identify and create particular Motivation Strategies which may be used to help a person to more effectively inspire or propel himself or herself toward particular goals and outcomes.
Motivation strategies are one of the seven basic classes of strategies identified by NLP. The others include: Memory, Learning, Creativity, Decision, Reality and Belief (or Convincer). Motivation strategies relate to the sequence of cognitive steps and operations that people go through in order to inspire themselves to do all of the things necessary to get what they want.
Motivation strategies are similar to processes involving mental rehearsal, such as the New Behavior Generator and Future Pacing, though they differ in important respects. Both mental rehearsal and motivation strategies involve using imagination and visualization. The primary purpose of mental rehearsal, however, is to prepare oneself in one’s imagination to respond or behave the way one wants in some future situation. Motivation strategies are ways to stimulate or propel oneself forward toward a dream, goal or outcome. Motivation, for instance, may be required in order to get oneself to go through mental rehearsal at all.
Many people experience problems around the process of motivating themselves or others. This is often because, as Aristotle pointed out:
[A]ppetites run counter to one another, which happens when a principle of reason and desire are contrary and is possible only in beings with a sense of time (for while mind bids us hold back because of what is future, desire is influenced by what is just at hand: a pleasant object which is just at hand presents itself as both pleasant and good, without condition in either case, because want of foresight into what is farther away in
One way NLP addresses such conflicts between short term and long term consequences is through the use of time lines and the “as if” frame, in order to create “foresight into what is farther away in time.” This involves the use of visualization and the creation of an associated experience of the future.
In addition to helping create positive expectations, motivation strategies are procedures which help people to tap into and direct their own inner source of motivation. Motivation strategies are typically formed around key values or “criteria.” To get a sense of your own values and criteria, consider for a moment the following questions: “In general, what motivates you?” “What inspires you?” “What moves you to action, or ‘gets you out of bed in the morning’?”
Some possible answers might be:
- Love and Acceptance
- Setting my sights on something that I want to make my own (a home, an education, a thinner body, a job, a cause)
- Making a difference in the world
These are all examples of “criteria” or “values” that form the basis of people’s motivation strategies. Of course, a next important question would be, “How do you know if some behavior or consequence fits a particular criterion or value?” NLP would call these conditions your “criterial equivalences” or “evidences.” These are typically much more sensory based than criteria or values themselves, and can be influenced by various sensory qualities of an experience.
Consider the ways in which your sensory perceptions influence your degree of motivation. Think of an advertisement on television that made you want to own the product being advertised, for example. What was it about the add that inspired you to go out and buy the product? Was it the color, brightness, music, words, tone of voice, movement, etc. These particular features are known as “Submodalities” in NLP, and often play a significant role in people’s motivation strategies.
Parable of the Porpoise; Dilts, R., 1992.
Strategies of Genius, Volume ; Dilts, R., 1994.
BALBOA Concepts, Inc. REVIEW:
According to Aristotle, it was the “good” of an anticipated consequence that drove people to either pursue or avoid a result. This is an interesting article that looks at motivation from a psychological and historical perspective. Motivation has always existed in people. All we need is a desire to attain something, and the drive to head towards it.
BALBOA Concepts, Inc.