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Motivational theory

employee motivation theory - team building activities, workshops, inspirational quotes, and the power of positive experience

Alignment of aims, purpose and values between staff, teams and organization is the most fundamental aspect of motivation. The better the alignment and personal association with organizational aims, the better the platform for motivation. Where people find it difficult to align and associate with the organizational aims, then most motivational ideas and activities will have a reduced level of success. Motivation is a complex area. It's different for each person. Motivational receptiveness and potential in everyone changes from day to day, from situation to situation. Get the alignment and values right, and motivational methods work better. Motivational methods of any sort will not work if people and organisation are not aligned. People are motivated towards something they can relate to and something they can believe in. Times have changed. People want more. You should view the following motivational methods and ideas as structures, activities and building blocks, to be used when you have a solid foundation in place. The foundation is a cohesive alignment of people's needs and values with the aims and purpose of the organization. More about people-organization alignment and motivation.

Motivational methods and theory -

assuming people and organization are aligned

Motivational and inspirational quotes, poems, posters, motivational speakers and stories, team building games and activities, all develop employee motivation for sales and business staff in all kinds of organizations. Motivational and inspirational experiences improve employees' attitudes, confidence and performance. Good leadership demands good people-motivation skills and the use of inspirational techniques. Motivational methods are wide-ranging, from inspirational quotes and poems, to team building games and activities, as ice-breakers, warm-ups and exercises for conferences, workshops, meetings and events, which in themselves can often be helpful for staff motivation too. See the motivation principles and template for staff motivation questionnaires and surveys. Motivation is an essential part of life coaching processes and techniques too. Motivated people perform better - see McGregor's XY Theory for example.

People playing games or competing in teams learn about each other, they communicate better and see each other in a new light. Mutual respect grows. See the Johari Window theory for example. People often enjoy events which include new non-work activities, especially when bosses and superiors take part in the same teams as their junior staff, which also helps cohesiveness and 'can-do' culture. Inspirational quotes, stories and poems all help motivation too. Powerful positive imagery stimulates visualisation in the conscious and sub-conscious brain, which encourages self-motivation, developmental behaviour, confidence and belief. Playing games enables people to experience winning and achieving in a way that their normal work might not. People become motivated to achieve and do better when they have experienced the feelings of success and achievement, regardless of context.

This is why fire-walking and outward-bound activities have such powerful motivational effect. All of these ideas, and more explained below, contribute to improving motivation, inspiration and performance. Here is the theory of how team building games, activities like juggling develop motivation, positive images in quotes and stories, inspirational posters, quotations, motivational speakers, team workshops and brainstorming, etc., all help to strengthen relationships, build understanding, increase motivation and improve performance:

How games and other inspirational references and activities help motivation and motivational training

Work and business-based training commonly concentrates on process, rules, theory, structure and logic, all of which tend to develop and use the left-side of the brain. However, modern successful organizations rely just as heavily on their people having well-developed 'soft' skills and attributes, such as self-motivation, confidence, initiative, empathy and creativity, which all tend to use the right-side of the brain. For more information about brain type and bias see the Benziger theory section, for example. Using games and activities like juggling helps to unleash right-side brain skills, because these activities necessarily draw on a person's intuitive, spatial and 'feeling' capabilities - found in the the right-side of the brain.

Also, using activities and references that take people out of their normal work environment creates new opportunities for them to experience winning, achievement, team-working, learning and personal development, in ways that are often not possible in their usual work context. Experiencing these positive feelings is vital for the conscious and sub-conscious visualisation of success and achievement, essential for broadening people's horizons, raising their sights, setting new personal standards and goals, and increasing motivation. The use of role playing games and role play exercises is an especially effective motivational and visualisation technique, despite people's normal aversion to the practice (see the role playing games and activities tips to see how to manage role-playing activities successfully).

Inspirational references, stories, quotes and examples also help the life coaching process.

Ice-breakers and warm-ups for motivation

When a group or team of people assemble for a conference, or training course, there is always a feeling of uncertainty and discomfort. Even if people know each other, they feel uncomfortable in the new strange situation, because it is different. Mankind has evolved partly because of this awareness to potential threats and fear of the unknown. Games and team building activities relax people, so that they can fully concentrate on the main purpose of the day, whatever it is, rather than spending the morning still wondering what everyone else is thinking. See the stress theory section for examples. Activities and games are great levellers - they break down the barriers, and therefore help develop rapport and relationships.

Building confidence for motivation

Learning something new and completely different liberates the mind. Facing a challenge, meeting it and mastering it helps build confidence.

Motivational team building

When you break down barriers, misunderstandings, prejudices, insecurities, divisions, territories and hierarchies - you begin to build teams. Get a group of people in a room having fun with juggling balls or spinning plates and barriers are immediately removed. Teams unite and work together when they identify a common purpose - whether the aim is the tallest tower made out of newspapers, or a game of rounders on the park. Competition in teams or groups creates teams and ignites team effort.

Motivational coaching and training motivation

Learning to juggle or some other new activity demonstrates how we learn, and how to coach others. Breaking new tasks down into stages, providing clear instructions, demonstration, practice, time and space to make mistakes, doing it one stage at a time..... all the essential training and coaching techniques can be shown, whether juggling is the vehicle or some other team-building idea, and the learning is clearer and more memorable because it is taken out of the work context, where previously people 'can't see the wood for the trees'. Games and activities provide a perfect vehicle for explaining the training and development process ('train the trainer' for example) to managers, team leaders and trainers.

Personal motivation styles and learning motivation

Everyone is different. Taking part in new games and activities outside of the work situation illustrates people's different strengths and working style preferences. Mutual respect develops when people see skills and attributes in others that they didn't know existed. Also, people work and learn in different ways, see the Kolb learning style model and Benziger thinking styles model for examples.

Continual development and motivation

Learning and taking part in a completely new activity or game like juggling demonstrates that earning is ongoing. The lessons never finish, unless people decide to stop learning. Juggling the basic 'three ball cascade' pattern doesn't end there - it's just a start - as with all learning and development. Master juggler Enrico Rastelli practiced all the daylight hours juggling ten balls. Introducing people, staff or employees to new experiences opens their minds to new avenues of personal development, and emphasises the opportunity for continuous learning that is available to us all.

Improving empathy and communications for motivation

"Seek first to understand, and then to be understood." (Steven Covey). See the Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People summary and review.

To communicate we must understand the other person. Empathy and intuitive skills are right-side brain. Conventional classroom training or distance learning do nothing to address this vital area. Juggling and playing spontaneous or creative games definitely promote development and awareness in the right-side of the brain, which we use when we communicate and understand others. Team activities and games promote communications and better mutual understanding - essential for good organizational performance (see the Johari Window model and theory).

Motivation and creativity

Creativity and initiative are crucial capabilities for modern organizational effectiveness. Juggling and other games activities dispel the notion that actions must be according to convention, and that response can only be to stimulus. Successful organizations have staff that initiate, create, innovate, and find new ways to do things better, without being told. Using mind and body together in a completely new way encourages pro-active thought and lateral thinking, which opens people's minds, and develops creative and initiative capabilities. See the brainstorming process, which integrates well with team building activities and workshops. See also the workshops process and ideas.

Motivation for problem-solving and decision-making

Problem-solving is integral to decision-making - see the problem-solving and decision-making section. Learning to juggle or taking part in new challenging stimulating activities uses the intuitive brain to solve the problem, the same part that's vital for creatively solving work problems. People who can solve problems creatively can make decisions - and organizations need their staff and employees to have these abilities.

Physical activity is motivational

Team building activities like juggling, construction exercises, or outdoor games, get the body moving, which is good for general health and for an energetic approach to work. A minute of juggling three balls is 200 throws, the equivalent of pumping over 20 kilos. Physical activity also provides significant stress relief, and stress management is part of every organisation's duty of care towards its employees. People concentrate and work better when they have had some light exercise and physical stimulus. Physical activity energises people and reduces stress and tension. See details on the stress section.

Team building workshops are empowering and motivational

See the section on workshops. Workshops are good vehicles for team building games and activities, and also great for achieving team consensus, collective problem-solving, developing new direction and strategy, and to support the delegation and team development process (see the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum for example).

Team building games and activities are motivational

Learning new things - even simple skills like plate-spinning - help to build confidence, promote team-working and unleash creativity. Taking part in workshops and brainstorming sessions are empowering activities. Combine all three and it's even more effective for team building, development and motivation. See particularly the 'Hellespont Swim' case study and exercise.

If you think about it, all manner of left-side-brain conventional training and business skills can be integrated within an innovative, participative right-side-brain activity-based approach, to increase interest, participation, involvement, retention and motivation.

Motivational quotes -

using inspirational quotations and sayings is motivational

Inspirational quotations, phrases and sayings are motivational when used in team building sessions, conferences, speeches and training courses. Inspirational quotes contribute to motivation because they provide examples and role models, these inspirational images stimulate motivational images and feelings for the brain to visualise.

Powerful positive imagery found in motivational quotations and poems is genuinely motivational for people, especially in teams - it builds confidence and belief. Inspirational examples motivate people in the same way that the simple 'power of positive thinking', and 'accentuate the positive' techniques do - people imagine and visualise themselves behaving in the way described in the quotation, saying, story or poem. Visualization is a powerful motivational tool - quotes, stories and poems provide a very effective method for inspiring and motivating people through visualization, imagination and association.

Thanks & Regards,


From India, Mumbai
my name is santosh. firstly i want to thank u for the information u shared on this site.i started my new life as a soft-skill trainer. for this i am wheeling through so many sites. here also i found useful information but i am expecting some activities to be done by my trainees. i hope u will mail me if u have that information.
please send me those to my mail ID
Thanks & Regards

From India, Hyderabad

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