Monday, December 28, 2020

"How Will You Motivate Your Team, Pascal-san?"

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

An elderly Japanese asked me this question a long time ago and it has stayed with me. How, indeed, do we motivate people to do extraordinary things?

There are many schools of thought. The carrot & stick is perhaps the oldest. "Do as I say or I'll do bad things to you!" There's no denying it works – to a point.

But the carrot & stick is a classic ‘push’ system. Is there any pull? Does it motivate creative work, breakthrough work?

Did Steve Jobs motivate his designers to want to create the IPod, IPhone, IPad by threatening them continually? No doubt there was an element of fear. "Don’t want Steve hollering at me again!"

But there was much more. Transcendent achievement requires connection to a deeper purpose – to a ‘Noble Goal’.

Jobs' celebrated hoshin (motto) is a good example. Let's put a ding in the universe.

Subtext: Let’s kick butt & take names! Let’s shoot the moon! Let’s give it everything we’ve got! And why? Because we’re human & we only live once. So let’s let the universe know we were here, that we lived to the fullest and left our mark.

Despite his idiosyncrasies, Jobs touched the heart. His 2005 Stanford commencement speech gets me every time.

‘Something for the head, something for the heart’, I’ve suggested Getting the Right Things Done.

And so, to motivate a team to strive for the transcendent, define and commit to a Noble Goal. Our hoshin here at Lean Pathways is Laughs, Learning & Lucre! – which reflects our purpose & priorities.

We often get it wrong. But by articulating our Purpose clearly, we can see abnormalities and are usually able to get back to a good condition.

Next time: How do we sustain our activities in the face of hurtles, hassles and hammerheads?

Best regards,


In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

What is a Good Life?
To Learn Corporate Strategy, Study the Military Masters
Why is laughter important in business?
Practical Problem Solving – Proving Cause & Effect

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