Focused Conversations

Expanding my Strengths Intelligence has provided me with pragmatic approaches that have exponentially assisted me in strategically applying and leveraging my Strengths, allowing me to live and lead from the A+ Zone. I am amazed by the new insights that I continuously discover about how my top 15 Strengths dance together in different scenarios. This learning spikes my curiosity, my possibilities and my thinking. At times, it has felt transformational.

Now, when I approach a topic like motivation I become inquisitive about what is working for me, how might I draw upon different strengths to motivate me and what can I let go of that I know does not work for me given the Strengths that I have.

This is part 5 in the 5-part series on Motivation by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

People are most productive and satisfied when their work puts them in a state of flow. Click To Tweet

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Boost employee commitment by conducting a motivational outlook conversation. Ask your team to identify what has worked well for them within the team. What would enable them to feel fully engaged and energized? What needs immediate attention going forward? How can you best support them? Your intention is to help them identify motivating factors that have maximum impact and create optimum energy for them.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, most people identify several reasons for working: from the external (money or status) to the internal (finding meaning, acting on one’s values and ideals, aspiring to a higher purpose). According to Susan Fowler, author of Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging, work adds some additional perspectives:

Inherence: I enjoy doing this.
Integration: Work helps me fulfill my purpose as a leader.
Alignment: I value developing people.

She also cites negative motivational outlooks:

Imposition: I have to; it’s my job.
Externalization: It’s what I’m paid to do.
Disinterest: I’d rather be doing something else.

Start to regard motivation both as a skill and a mindset — one that can be learned, acquired, encouraged and sustained. Be aware of what motivates you.

Focused conversations can help you and your team members discover different reasons for doing their work. Once they pinpoint what drives their motivation, together you can work toward identifying the internal motivations — ideally, those that relate to their values and align with their Strengths.

It may take several conversations for team members to identify their best work through their core values and Strengths. You can help them see the bigger picture, connect the dots and identify their blind-spots.

Keep in mind: People are already motivated by something. You can provide a culture that encourages a deeper understanding of what motivates the individual. However, be mindful not to surrender to organizational systems that favor driving over thriving. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Create Flow

People are most productive and satisfied when their work puts them in a state of “flow” — more commonly recognized as being “in the zone.” In the Strengths Strategy model we identify this as the A+ Zone. It is where performance and energy is high. In the flow state, one experiences a heightened sense of focus and a higher sense of fulfillment.

What we know about flow is primarily based on the work of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, whose seminal book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, describes it as the moment in which “a person’s body or mind is stretched to the limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” A Strengths Strategy perspective takes the theory to the pragmatic with the application of your Strengths to live and work in the A+ Flow Zone.

At work, A+ Zone experiences are created through opportunities to satisfy three basic needs: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.

As a leader, what are you doing to pay attention to these needs for yourself and your team? Contact me here and on LinkedIn.

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