Motivational Alignment

Motivation can be an extremely complex attitude to define, nurture and enhance with people. It’s different for every one of us. Motivational values, attitudes, perceptiveness and potential in every one changes from day to day, from situation to situation. If you can align the right values with the individual and their environment, your motivational methods will work better. Motivational methods of any sort will not work if the people on the team are not aligned. People are motivated towards something they can relate to and something they can believe in.

World Class Athletes know the importance of motivation, peak-performance and alignment in order to achieve success and set world records. When I think back to one sports figure that epitomized motivation alignment and focus, it was Roger Bannister – the first human being to break the four-minute-mile barrier.

The prevailing thought of the day was that no human being could possibly break the four-minute-mile barrier, many thought it was humanly impossible, the body could not physically move that fast. However, Roger Bannister, a medical student, fought the prevailing thinking and training methods of the day and pushed his body in the rudimentary labs of Oxford – really the world’s first human-sports performance lab.

All the media journals said it was impossible to achieve this great milestone and many in the sports world agreed, but this did not discourage Roger Bannister. The barrier was broke on May 6th, 1954, when Roger Bannister sped past a field of 45 other runners to finish the mile with a record of 3:59:4. A new world record had been set.

Roger Banister went on to graduate from Oxford and has practiced medicine for over 40 years and was recently knighted by the Queen. He realized early in life that one of the most basic elements of motivational psychology is that you always reward positive behavior that is aligned with a motivational focus.

When we align the goals, purpose and values between people, teams and organization we then have the most fundamental aspect of motivational alignment. The better the alignment and personal association with the team’s goals, the better the platform for motivation. When people find it difficult to align and associate with the coaches or managers aims, then most motivational ideas and activities will have a reduced level of success.

What used to motivate people years ago is no longer valid. Some people don’t necessarily want more money, a bigger house or a foreign sports car. The new currency in 2007 seems to be a want of more personal fulfillment – being self-actualized, as Maslow said in his hierarchy of needs.

We want the time to pursue the goals we want, the job that really fulfills us, while spending more quality time with friends and family. Times have changed. 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.