Motivate Your Team

February 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

“Welcome back George.”

“Hi Coach,” he said. “I had a one-on-one coaching session with each member of my core group.”


“I learned much about them,” he said.  “I discovered that each are motivated in different ways.”

“Good discovery,” I said.  “So do you think Maslow’s Hierarchy  is applicable for everyone.”

“Not at the same time,” he said. “Each one is different and at different levels.”

“Since each one is motivated differently,” I said, “will you have a different way of motivating each one?”

“Should I give them separate incentives?” he asked.

“You can do both.”


“Give a general incentive for the team,” I said, “yet motivate each one by giving them what they aspire for.”

“Of course,” he interrupted, “it should also be aligned to my company’s aspirations.”

“Well it should be,” I assured him.

“I will implement the incentives that I announced at the start of the year,” George said, “but I would have to zero in on what each actually want.”

“Give me an example of what you’ve discovered,” I requested.

“Jake, the guy you coached before joining my team seems to be motivated by exposure,” he said. “He loves speaking in front of the crowds.”

“That’s Jake alright.”

“He prepares well and delivers his lessons well,” he said. “He does not need any motivation.”

“Yes and no, George,” I replied. “Yes he is self-motivated but you have to tell him if he is doing a good job.  Let him know the areas that need improvement.  Do not let him guess.”

“It seems you know him more than I do,” George smiled.

“Hey, I was his coach.”

“Then there’s Andrew.” He paused.  “He is so desperate to win the top salesperson of the year.”

“Are you giving cash prices?”

“Yes but not much. Incentive include a two night stay in a local beach,” George replied.  “He does not have to win to experience it because he can easily afford it.”

“Your price is just a symbol,” I said.  “He is after the prestige of being top sales guy.”

“Ana loves engaging people,” he said. “I cannot put her behind a desk for a whole day.  She has to meet people.”

“Then Maria who is hard to figure out.”


“She does not know what she wants,” he answered.

“Oh,” I reacted. “That person needs help.”

“Because she does not know what she wants, I do not know how to motivate her,” he said.

“How is her work ethic?”

“Sometimes she works really hard,” he said. “But then, sometimes she does not especially when she is frustrated.”

“Help her find the reason why she is working,” I said.

“Yes, I intend to.”

“Or else, she will find it hard to belong,” I said.

“Then there’s James whose head is not in the game.” His face could not hide his disappointment.

“What do you mean?”

“He forgets stuff and makes a lot of excuses,” he said.

“I assume that he does not excel.”

“Of course not.”

“What motivates him?” I tried to bring George back to the main topic.

“He likes games, Anime, and other kids stuff.”

“He is still young?” I asked.

“Yes, fresh out of college.”

“Give him time if you can afford it,” I said, “or help him find his other skills and passion that is aligned to your company’s purpose.  He may have untapped potential.”

“Yes, I need to work on him.”

“I agree that you can motivate your team as individuals and as a collective group,” I said. “Give individual and corporate rewards.”

“Thanks Coach.  I feel validated.”

“See you next week, George.”


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§ 3 Responses to Motivate Your Team

  • SD!!! says:

    Nice post.

    I found myself represented in two of the characters that you analyzed. I hadn’t seen the Maslow pyramid applied like you mentioned above, great job.

    Thank you very much

  • may ruth ortega says:

    Hi Ed, thanks for this. In my company right now it seems their form of motivation is “warning memos.” I get it, everyone is different and may need different kind of motivation.

  • Thanks Sergio. I believe Maslow’s is a list rather than a hierarchy.

    Yes May Ruth. Some HR practitioners are now applying both an individual approach to incentives as well as a corporate approach.

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