Year end planning for 2011 around leadership, professional and personal development should include tossing out the traditional "carrots and sticks" as key motivators.
Find "PULL" instead
As a meeting professional in a tough economy with high unemployment over the last couple of years, its likely that you or someone you know is struggling to find their way both personally and professionally. Enthusiasm for our jobs can wane, leadership is tested and stress is elevated. Its during times like this that ongoing motivation becomes a major key to organizational and individual success.
How many of us have clients that may now be doing the work of two people after a corporate downsizing or cost cutting initiative? Both planners and suppliers have had to learn how to do more with less. But As the economic recovery begins to show some modest signs of life, its time for leaders to shift focus back to their biggest asset - people. The highest return on "Human Capital" is best achieved by unlocking the potential of individuals and finding career paths to keep people productive, motivated and encouraged in this new economic reality. Let me ask you a few questions:
* Do you ever feel like you are on a treadmill trying to chase a carrot that doesn’t really motivate you anymore?
*Are there days you come into work just because you need the money?
* Do you long for a deeper sense of meaning, purpose and contribution in your career?
* Do you want to experience more joy, energy, passion and fun in your work?
If you said yes to any or all of these, you are ready for a new way to approach motivation.
Instead of letting the outside world determine your destiny, use tough times as a reason to explore what really makes you tick. And use year end as a time to consider new career paths and ways to unleash your true potential in 2011.
Instead of looking for extrinsic drivers (the carrots and sticks) , find your intrinsic drivers (the PULL). How do you go about finding "pull"? Here are 4 questions to get you started:
1. What really energizes you?
When you strike oil, the image of a well gushing with the black stuff shooting out everywhere comes to mind. It flows effortlessly and there is a sense that there are huge reserves just beneath the surface. The flow can go on and on. So it is when you have identified a pull. Its like you struck it rich and are totally energized by it.
*Have you ever done a task where you felt like your energy level actually increased during the process of completing the task? For example, I’ve met planners and suppliers that are energized by people interaction and some that would rather remain "behind the scenes" with projects.
* If you could do one activity all day long in the event planning industry, what would it be? For example, I’ve met people who tell me things like "What I really want to do is ____". Make 2011 the year to stop making excuses and start develop a career path to get there.
* Do you ever feel like you are in a movie and everyone else is in slow motion while you are knocking things out at record speed? This is a sign of a strength. Think about ways you can use that skill to perhaps interview for a higher paid position.
Pay attention to that spark, that current that revs up your batteries. You’ll need that extra juice when times are tough. And it can be your key to higher career satisfaction.
2. What stirs your curiosity?
One of the hallmarks from childhood that we tend to lose as adults is our sense of curiosity. If you ever find yourself bored with what you are doing, the best anecdote is a dose of curiosity. In fact, when you are curious, its impossible to be bored. Here you might ask yourself questions like:
*What MPI educational opportunities most interest you?
* If you could travel to one destination on earth that you have not yet been, what would it be?
* If you could master another language, which one would it be and why?
* Imagine you could discover one major breakthrough in the meeting industry, what would it be?
Use your answers to inspire you to increase your value in the market place and reach higher heights in the industry.
3. What can you see that others don’t?
Have you ever been with a group of people trying to solve a problem and the solution was obvious to you but not to everyone else? Have you ever been in a horror movie and everyone else around you can’t see the bad guy coming but you can? The amount of clarity, certainty and confidence you have when presented with a particular challenge can give you clues about where to focus your attention. Is there an area where you seem to be as good or better than the so called experts? If you are in a forest where others are lost but you seem to be blazing new trails, you are probably barking up the right tree. Pay attention to your track record when evaluating your skill levels. This will help when having year end performance reviews with both bosses and employees alike.
4. What are some important clues from your childhood?
If you want to identify what really pulls you, it will help to comb through your past. Ask yourself:
* When nobody was looking and there were no external rewards and punishments, what activities brought you the most joy and satisfaction?
* When you look back, what things do you remember doing that seemed to come easy to you but were relatively difficult for others your age?
* When you were with others your age, what role did you play?
When I was a kid, the movie The Wizard of Oz always both scared me and fascinated me at the same time- especially the end. As you may recall, Dorothy had the power all along to get home - she just didn’t realize it. So it is with "pull". Its there, you just have to look inside to find it and have the courage to start using it.