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One more time: people are the key.

One More Time: People are the Key

Frederick Herzberg, professor and chairman of the Psychology Department at Case Western Reserve University, and well-known student of motivation, recently wrote the following in an article entitled "How Do You Motivate Employees?"

"I have a year-old Schnauzer. When it was a small puppy and I wanted it to move, I kicked it in the rear and it moved. Now that I finished its obedience training, I hold up a biscuit when I want the Schnauzer to move. In this instance, who is motivated--I or the dog? The dog wants the biscuit, but it is I who want it to move. Again, I am the one who is motivated, and the dog is the one who moves."

I wouldn't claim for a minute to understand the art of motivation, but Herzberg's message is really pretty clear. You or I as a manager, supervisor or administrator of some sort need to do a job. For whatever reason--money, security, recognition, responsibility, advancement, achievement--we are motivated to get the job done. Most of us realize that the best way to get the job done is obviously to get people to do it. The better they perform, the better the job gets done. The better the job gets done, the better we, as managers, look, and the closer we come to achieving what we want; whatever that may be.

Now, the employee or employees on whom we are counting to do the work and get the job done may or may not share or even understand what we as managers want to achieve. And with little or no other knowledge of why they do what they do or why we want them to do it, the employee is likely to do only what has to be done to get through another workday. Given little or nothing to do with little or no reason to do it, the employee acts accordingly.

This isn't an indictment of the employee, because there are plenty of middle and upper level managers who exhibit the same motivational characteristics. In other words, to motivate, you must be motivated. The manager who is not motivated cannot possibly motivate his employees.

Underlying all of this is really a very simple concept. That is, regardless of what we are trying to achieve as managers, people will always be the key element in whether we succeed or fail. If you don't believe it, try operating your business without people. Better yet, try running it with a bunch of disenchanted people who neither understand nor have reason to care about what you're trying to accomplish.

I know you've heard all this before. But I think it bears repeating one more time: People are the key, and will continue to be.

If you're interested in this subject, take a few minutes to read George Booth's article, "Footprints: The Human Dimension," which appears in this issue of modern casting. If people are important to you and your organization, it will be time well spent.

David P. Kanicki Publisher/Editor
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Foundry Society, Inc.
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Title Annotation:employee motivation
Author:Kanicki, David P.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:editorial
Date:Aug 1, 1989
Words:508
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