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Dealing with the inverse effect of motivation July 13, 2007

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in Managing Employees, Motivation.

You’ve spent months, maybe years, employing every trick in the book to motivate an employee but fail to get any kind of traction.

Not being a Sith Lord, you unfortunately won’t have the option of using the dark side of the force to electrocute them – instead you’re limited to more practical approaches.

Assuming you have tried all the Sith methods of motivation, its possible in some (hopefully rare) cases that this all completely backfires. First, if you have exhausted this kind of effort on someone who lacks potential or talent you deserve to be fed to the Panna Monster.

This process of employing every approach to motivate should only be reserved for those, who if you can achieve this seemingly miraculous breakthrough, possess unusually high levels of potential ability or a rare combination of extreme skills.

The problem of course is those skills and talents are worthless without the results. And because these hard to find skills are rare, you’re probably already paying a high premium for this individual. And because the skills are rare, you’ve probably created quite a dependency on such an individual as they’re probably the only one who knows how certain things work (aka a SPOK, single point of knowledge).

So this leaves you in a precarious situation as you’ve undoubtedly dug yourself an even deeper hole. And this is where your attempts at motivation (giving ownership, more power and control, positive praise, more galactic credits, Empire stock options, etc…) backfire, as you’ve conditioned the person in such a way that the less they do the more they get.

If you get to this point, you have to realize you have nothing to lose anymore. As Sith Lord Darth Welch once said, “looking back I’ve never regretted any of my decisions to let someone go.”

So going forward, you begin to progressively ramp up on being candid (as Darth Welch would say) about the situation. Put aside emotions, and be firm about what you expect.

Collaboratively maintain a list of tasks and their agreed upon due dates – do what you can to help them achieve it, but ultimately in the end… they’re either committed to achieving the goals or not.

If the goals are consistently not being achieved on time, it’s time to think about feeding them to the Panna Monster.



1. John Sullivan - January 3, 2008

Strange isn’t it, some people will not be motivated no matter what you offer them. They are not interested in stock options or some profit sharing bonus. They are happy to plod on in their daily routines. Others will try to reach the targets and more to obtain a financial reward.

2. Darth Sidious - January 3, 2008

Ya, I’ve been pondering over this lately with regards to the types of personalities out there. I think the types that aren’t motivated by anything fall into the category of robots. They just want to come in, punch in, do their assigned tasks, and punch out. They have no aspiration to be anything more than their current robot self.

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