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MD Contractor to Education Sector

The Motivation to Grow - Progress


Business managers have a view of what motivates their people. They are smart enough to know that “money” is the trick answer and some state that keeping a job is motivation enough! Both are wrong.

Ask yourself: what really motivates you? Think about the sustainable values. Many say that being recognised for doing a great job is hugely motivational. This is undoubtedly true, but the key is not in the recognition itself: that’s effect, not the cause.

The answer is simple: “progress”. In both its forms, as a verb and a noun. We progress and we deliver progress. Humans like, more than anything, to progress. We have done so since picking up stones as tools. Progress drives us like nothing else. Why? Because it is the measurement of success. Relative progress to our peers and competitors, as individuals and teams, defines us, and is a powerful motivator.

So business growth is not just about financial improvement. It is our progress in developing our assets: people, products and processes that delivers sustainable growth.
In 2010 with the worst of the recession behind us, we must progress. There is no option. Companies have to progress, (to grow), to remain competitive.

Let’s looks at the power of progress from four perspectives: people, processes, products and practicalities:


Many companies develop their people using training needs analysis, competency grids and other key processes. But individual development must be balanced with an ability to recognise and build on group progress to produce a winning team. Winning is a powerful drug in driving employee satisfaction and development.


Progress in products is all about who is buying what. Recessions are great for innovations and new products, which must be used to motivate overall sales. Winning companies deliver new products, and cross-sell to existing ranges.


Good processes reduce waste, improve efficiency and release resources for growth. This is highly motivational and sustainable. Improving processes should not be about simple cost cutting. It should be about better use of resources, better return on investment. The mindset needs to be: work smarter not harder.

Practicalities: 5 Motivational principles

1. Align and set complementary objectives across departments, forcing better solutions and greater efficiency.
2. Allocate the people, resources and finance against each opportunity and measure progress against understood milestones. Use time pressure to drive delivery, but avoid unnecessary stress.
3. Recognise progress as it happens, whenever roadblocks and difficulties are overcome, not just at the end.
4. Managers must engage with the detail to appreciate the progress made from the team’s perspective.
5. Provide a supportive culture: one that recognises the differences in running the day job (the urgent) and delivering growth (the important).

The real motivational benefit of growth is the development of the whole team and their ability to deliver the right answer, faster and with better results, consistently over time ... without you.     Now that’s Progress.