People/Project Management: Motivators and generations

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Behavioral, Project Management
Tags: , , , ,

One of the key disagreements I always had with my executive management when I worked at a big 4 consulting firm was old school management techniques.

There was this age gap between them (Traditionals/Boomers) and us (Gen X). The team I managed did not care much about access cards, time management, clocking in and out, logging minutes and seconds of time to cost codes, etc. On the other side of the equation, executive management made key strategic decisions based on this erroneous and misleading data gathered. You get the picture…

Just to put things into perspective, the four Generations as we know them are:

  • Traditionalists   (1922-1945)
  • Baby Boomers  (1946-1964)
  • Generation X  (1965-1980)
  • Generation Y  (1981-2000)

It always bugged me that there was this gap between them and us and this was crippling our delivery capabilities. Managing and motivating employees is quite tricky, is it an art? a science? In the past (old school – and I mean no disrespect here), using external motivators drove employees to perform well. They used monetary rewards and sticks & carrots techniques and they worked well for a certain age group for a while. The new way of motivating people, and this is well proven scientifically and in practical terms as well, focuses on intrinsic motivation techniques  – inwards focus on our desire.

So this mismatch between Science and Business, between Traditionals and Gen X, between 20th and 21st C, led to the discovery of a new technique that focuses on unseen intrinsic motivators that are the building blocks of a new way of managing and motivating:

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose

Check out this amazing video to take a closer look:

As the author explains, these techniques are used today by innovative and very successful corporations:

  • Google’s 20% time – work on anything you want
  • FedEx day – Deliver something overnight. work on anything you want in the next 24 hrs
  • In a Row – Results only work environment –  no schedules, work anytime, anywhere as long as you deliver

But the best of all was the Example of encarta vs wikipedia ! Management by objectives, anyone? going once, twice, SOLD!

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Joe Zaarour


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