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Friday, October 14, 2022

Lean Quote: Adair’s Eight Rules in Motivating People

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"People expect their Leaders to help them to achieve the common task. to build the synergy of teamwork and to respond to individuals and meet their needs.  —  John Adair

In many ways, Adair’s ideas in the area of motivating people are in line with those of the classic motivational theorists, such as Maslow, McGregor and Herzberg.

The 50:50 Rule: just as the Pareto principle (or 80:20 rule) is the ratio of the vital few and the trivial many, the Adair 50:50 rule (from his book Effective motivation) states that: ‘50% of motivation comes from within a person, and 50% from his or her environment, especially from the leadership encountered therein’.

Adair’s view is that people are motivated by a complex and varied number of different factors. So, for example, the ‘carrot and stick’ approach is not dismissed by Adair, but is seen, rather, as one of the stimulus responses that can be one factor among many others in motivating or influencing people’s actions.

An individual’s strength of motivation is affected by the expectations of outcomes from certain actions, but it is also strengthened by other factors such as the individual’s preferred outcome; conditions in the working environment; and the individual’s own perceptions and fears.

Adair emphasizes the importance of a motivating environment and a motivated individual. The crucial factor is the role of the leader who must, he believes, be completely self-motivated. In effective motivation, eight basic rules are outlined to guide leaders in motivating people to act:

1. Be motivated yourself

2. Select people who are highly motivated

3. Treat each person as an individual

4. Set realistic and challenging targets

5. Remember that progress motivates

6. Create a motivating environment

7. Provide fair rewards

8. Give recognition 

Adair proposes that understanding what motivates individuals to act is fundamental to engaging their interest and focusing their efforts. The will that leads to action is governed by motives, and motives are inner needs or desires that can be conscious, semi-conscious or unconscious. 

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