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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership May 15, 2013
 
We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people.  Some of our related business services include: executive coaching, executive team coaching and executive assessments for development and selection.


Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal
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Seattle, Washington
206-545-1990
carl@leadershipconsulting.com

In This Issue:

Adaptability is Not an Option

Unlocking Potential with Intrinsic Motivation


To Sell is Human - Book Review

The author of acclaimed best-sellers Drive and A Whole New Mind has jumped into a new realm with his latest book - well, sort of.
 
Daniel Pink's To Sell is Human starts by making us uncomfortable. He holds up a mirror and informs us that we're all salespeople. The only difference is what we sell, and how we go about it. It's not so much a book on our abilities in sales, as we might expect from Tony Alessandra, Jeffrey Gitomer, or Dan Seideman - instead this is more a book about accepting our sales roles in everyday life, and how we can embrace our inner-salesperson whenever we are in a position to positively influence others.
 
Predictably, Pink stays away from Rah-Rah motivational sales and focuses on current, historical, and even theatrical examples that reinforce his ideas about how the art of selling has evolved into the information age. This book could certainly increase as salesperson's understanding of the building blocks of influence and even making a "pitch", but if we can just get over our inner biases and negative perceptions and accept what he is trying to impart, it serves the rest of us just as well.
>Buy from Amazon

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Adaptability is Not an Option

In a business environment that is evolving faster than iPods do, it is ever more crucial for managers to lead those around them to be flexible and adaptable. While adaptability has some roots in personality type, there are actions and behaviors managers can model to help themselves and their direct reports stretch those limbs to learn to be more flexible and adaptable. At the root of the need for the adaptability/flexibility competency is the requirement to “Change or Die”. It’s been true for a long time, but you used to have more time to get used to the changes. Now, if you’re not experimentally, initiating changes to improve outcomes, then you’re falling behind. Here are a few things executives can do to slowly but surely turn the ship in the direction of a more change friendly culture.
  • Embrace Intellectual flexibility –be able to demonstrate that you can integrate new information and draw conclusions from it and that you can switch from the detail to the big picture.
  • Be receptive – Always ask those around you what changes are needed. People like to have input on anything especially change. You can start by describing a problem, then follow it with---What can we change to fix this? Position change as a solution to nagging problems, broken processes or underperforming elements.  This can slowly get people to open up to new ideas and start to view change as a solution.
  • Create – actively seek out new ways of doing things and don’t be scared to improvise and/or experiment.
  • Change behavior – show that you can adjust your style of working or method of approach to meet the needs of a situation, emergency, opportunity.
  • Ask for Contingency Plans --  these are good exercises to get people thinking in practical ways about doing something completely differently if….  This exercise will build flexibility and problem solving skills.


Unlocking Potential with Intrinsic Motivation

One of the most important qualities a leader must have is the ability to motivate others. To be motivated means “to be moved” and this can be achieved by extrinsic and/or intrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivation is the use of outside sources—such as money, rewards, etc.—to spark incentive, whereas intrinsic motivation is rooted in encouraging individual initiative to complete a task one finds appealing.
 
The question is which one of these motivations is the best way to encourage work? A study conducted by two University of Rochester professors, Dr. Edward Deci—a pioneer in research on intrinsic motivation—and Dr. Richard Ryan, shows that it is indeed intrinsic motivation that does the trick.
 
“Intrinsically motivated behaviors, which are performed out of interest and satisfy the innate psychological needs for competence and autonomy are the prototype of self-determined behavior…internalization and integration are the processes through which extrinsically motivated behaviors become more self-determined” (Ryan & Deci 2000). While outside sources of motivation can unquestionably create incentive, it is the internalization of those rewards, in combination with internal personal drive and values that truly motivates a person to do their job.
 
Dr. Maynard Brusman, a good friend and colleague of mine from San Francisco, once told me that individuals get their best work done when they are in a state of “flow.”  Flow can be created when states of autonomy exist with sufficient time to achieve mastery and a sense of higher purpose. These conditions are difficult to establish in many work environments. In the end, the responsibility for intrinsic motivation more often than not lies with the employee. Employers need to do what they can to make opportunities for an intrinsically motivated workforce. But there’s truth in the old axiom—“you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink”. Intrinsic motivation has to come from within.
 
While it’s challenging to “light the flame” of intrinsic motivation, leaders can improve their success by doing what they can to create the conditions in which “fire” can ignite:
 
Feedback—positive and negative feedback are great intrinsic motivators; the more sources feedback comes from, the more effective it is as a motivator.
Lots of skills—when a variety of skill sets are required for employees to use, they find they are more motivated to complete the tasks; no one wants to be stuck doing the same thing day-in and day-out with no variety.
Autonomy—when individuals feel they have independence in a task or job, they are more likely to feel motivated, and to be as productive as possible.
Mine—(or “ours” for a team atmosphere)—individuals are more likely to be motivated when they are going to be held responsible for the job they’ve been asked to do.
Effect on others—employees need to feel that they are a part of the greater good; when people see that their work affects others they are more motivated to make sure the job is performed to the best of their abilities.


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