We started our conversation about motivation with a very simple question, what can leaders do to motivate their followers?, and with the assertion that there's no simple answer to that question. There is no magic formula when it comes to motivation that works for everyone all the time. Even if research doesn't provide us with a simple answer to the question of motivation, it does help us to better understand how motivation works in a work setting. That's why we talked about all those theories. As you recall, we started talking about content theories of motivation. This was Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y, and Hertzberg's Two Factor Theory. All of those try to explain what motivates people, what triggers motivation ultimately. And whether that be money, or control, or recognition, you take your pick, that's basically where they place their bets. We know that those content theories, theories, don't have a particularly great empirical record. In fact, they are the reason that we come away with the impression that there is no magic formula, that there is no single best way how to motivate people. But that itself can be a very helpful insight. Everybody has needs and motives of course, they're just not very universal, they are kind of particular, they’re even not particularly shared within a particular cultural group. That's what leaders need to figure out: individual’s needs and motivations. We also talked about process theories: This was Mcleeland's Learned Needs Theory and Victor Vroom's Expectancy Theory. And those two were essentially trying to unpack how people actually assess and, and determine whether or not to exert effort, and how much of it. What we can take away from our discussion of those theories is that there seems to be a longer term process at play that informs how we develop particular needs and motives over time. This is Mcleeland's work on the, on the culturally learned needs. There's a shorter term process at work that makes people evaluate. Based on the situation and the specific task that they're facing whether they should try hard or not. Those process theories have a much better empirical track record. They actually show some consistent, if modest predictive power. That means that they can actually predict what motivates people and what doesn’t, they just can't explain very much of the variance. Lastly we talked about team dynamics, group dynamics of motivation. We talked about the fact that within a social group, different members of that group impact each other's motivation. There could be sentiments of competition, rivalry that could have positive or negative repercussions for motivation. We talked about team dynamics that can boost or dampen motivation in a team; and we heard what sports coaches actually do, inside and outside the locker room to deal with those issues and to keep the level of motivation of their teams high. The key question after all this is, has your head exploded yet?, with all those different theories and facets of motivation? What are the take aways, what do we make of all this? Let me suggest three key insights that we can take away from this discussion. Number one is that motivation is complex. I want to make sure that you walk away from this session with an appreciation of that complexity and with a frame of mind to really critically evaluate theories of motivation that you encounter. When you pick up next month's issue of Harvard Business Review, and there's the next new theory of motivation. That you look at that very critically. That you don't fall preys to this false sense of simplicity that motivation is just a matter of incentives or something like that. That's our first insight. The second insight is that motivation is always highly culturally contingent. We know that from research, From McClelland's work that the culturally learned needs and motives that the people have developed over years sometimes decades are very difficult, if not impossible to actually overpower with simple motivational interventions. If culture is that influential on motivation, we have to keep in mind that in different cultural groups, we need different approaches. In the very first part of our conversation I mentioned Dan Pink's TED Talk about the puzzle of motivation. About 13 million people have watched that now. I encourage you to to watch it too. It's a very interesting talk and Dan is a great speaker. In fact, you can pause this video, go over to TED and watch that video now before I actually spoil the end for you. What Dan does essentially is that he articulates three core needs, three core bases of motivation. Those are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. He defines autonomy as the urge to direct our own lives, mastery is the desire to get better and better at something that matters, and purpose as the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. If you reflect on that, critical reflection on theories of motivation you can immediately think about, what category would we put this in? Is this a content theory or process theory? Clearly it is a content theory. What motivates people? We could take issue with that as you know something new that he articulates, but he calls it kind of a new way forward of working. You can take issue whether that's really new, but more importantly, let's look at it actually from an intercultural perspective. If you think about those three factors, Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. If you get a sense that there's a slight Western bias in this, Autonomy and Mastery. Then your instincts are spot on. Those are really self-focused issues I want to be autonomous. I want to be the master of my craft, of my trade, whatever it might be. This “me me me” focus is something that may be be consistent in a US American context, but we know that in other cultural contexts, the concerns for belongingness and affiliation are very big considerations, and very big triggers for motivation. I will even concede that maybe, to a certain degree, some autonomy and some mastery is important for maybe everybody around the world, but not necessarily a the key priority, not the most important thing that motivates them. If it’s not a priority, than clearly, those three can’t be magic formula. That can't be the magic formula for motivation. What I want you to take away from this is to be very cautious. Very careful with these strongly normative statements of what motivates people around the world. There is so much cultural contingency involved. Given all these contingencies, should we be skeptical of any common ground, any common denominator for motivation? Well, if I had to put my finger on something, if I had to identify one area where, where people share a particular need and I do this very gingerly. I would say that once, our pragmatic concerns are met. You can think of hygiene factors in Hertzberg's theory. Or of the first rung of the hierarchy of needs in Maslow’s theory. If we have a certain minimum sense of self-efficacy that we can get stuff done at work. If we have a certain minimum level of material comfort And what that minimum level has to be is very idiosyncratically determined by your personal standards. Once all that is in place, people often want more, one of our alumni actually put very nicely what that is. What is it that people yearn for once they have those basic concerns met? The women that come to our events are many of them are middle or senior managers of big corporations and some are entrepreneurs or they work for the UN or they are politicians and so on. Many of them say they want more meaning. Mm-hm. This is actually cross cultural. It is as if they have already got pretty good jobs and now, they want more meaning. So, and you see there are, it's a tendency now too, that some women are leaving corporate. And the reason why they say it's because one they, it has something to with the context. They know how to do the job, they have the skills, the knowledge and everything but they feel a little out of place sometimes. And many of them say they want more meaning. So, lets say also, these women that they're leaving corporate. They don't leave to stay with their families, which is somehow the myth, try to leave work to be with your cute kids and all that stuff. Well, maybe they want to have more stability to be with the kids. But that is not, they go home to start their own little businesses or do other things. Some want to be home, too. Like some men want to be home these days. It’s meaning and flexibility, to have family time, but also have time to do something interesting. So we were looking for meaning. Man and women are looking for meaning. We have, we have good empirical research actually by behavioral economists that supports that point. That shows if we don't see the point in the work that we're doing, if we don't see that it has any, any purpose if we want to use that term that Dan Pink is using Purpose was one of the three in his trifecta of motivation. If we don't see that, then we get disillusioned, we get demotivated. So we have a good empirical record on that. So let's take that as our third insight. That at a certain point, what becomes important as a trigger for motivation is meaning. Followers are searching for meaning. As they do so, leaders don't have to be bystanders. They don't just have to see whether the followers actually happen to be fine being on their own. They can actively be involved in the process. They can try to help their followers to identify, to recognize. To find meaning in the work that they're doing. This quest for meaning relates to the tensions between global and local that we've articulated as something that all the national leaders have to face. Tf you think about this tension global and local, that is one of the challenges, one of the areas of work that leaders have to engage in. To translate the global agenda organizational goals, organizational priorities, to something that is locally relevant That resonates with, with cultural norms and, and values that, that resonates with even individuals and needs and their, their priorities. That helps to create meaning, that helps to boost motivation And vice versa. Making sure that local work, right? Local activities people understand those as making a contribution to a global agenda To a, a global goals for the organization. Raising the stakes that way to highlight the value and the contributions that, that individuals make. That might not always be obvious to everyone Articulating that clearly, that creates meaning that can boost motivation That's one of the challenges, one of the areas of work for, for leaders. To articulate that, that meaning, that value in the work of followers. Now, we have to be realistic that not, not everybody finds meaning in, in their work And very few people find meaning in their lives exclusively from work. But to the degree that leaders can help people to find part of the meaning in their lives from their work. And to the degree that that actually causes them to exert effort to contribute their talents to their organizations worthy causes. That is a big achievement for a leader.