Motivation: the key to bringing out your team’s inner genius

Have you ever wished that the members of your project team were more creative, more brilliant, or even just more engaged?


Recent studies that tracked performance in music, academics, and athletics confirmed theories that seem to hold true to what common sense dictates: people do better – in some cases, much better – when they are sufficiently motivated. But what exactly leads to increased motivation? Many of these same studies identified 3 components that heavily influence motivation (and in turn can spark higher performance levels): autonomy, values, and competence.

  1. First, the effect of whether an activity or task is being undertaken voluntarily or under duress weighs heavily into the equation in terms of raising the motivational stakes. The studies showed that fostering a greater sense of autonomy among participants increased drive and thus produced greater results – often significantly so.
  2. Second, by aligning one’s personal values with the task at hand, one can stimulate good behavior and thus boost productivity. This was found to be particularly true among those with low expectations – a good point to bear in mind with regard to those who are less invested in the process.
  3. Third, competence plays a role in fueling motivation. When people are naturally good at something, they tend to devote more time to it, because it generates a high level of personal satisfaction. This, in turn, can help improve competence and result in an upward spiral effect. As Daisy Yuhas noted in a Scientific American Mind article on the topic, “Believing that effort inspires excellence can inspire you to keep learning.”

While many of these precepts may appear to be just good, plain common sense, they all contribute to bringing out the best in both individuals and teams. When taken together, they can produce tangible results that can positively influence the future success of a project. It would help to bear these things in mind during your next technology implementation project and, by doing so, you might just unleash the geniuses within your team.

Editor’s note: let’s talk more about genius and the impact it has on your technology projects in Atlanta at #ASAE13. See when and where we’re speaking, and stop by to say hi (and fly an airplane) at booth 742. Need motivation? We’re giving away 50,000 frequent flyer miles! But you can’t win if you don’t visit...

Flickr photo by Randy Le'Moine Photography