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Optimizing Employee Motivation

Optimizing Employee Motivation — Core Basics

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You already know human beings are far more complex than today’s modern automobile.  So grab yourself a beverage and give yourself a good ten minutes to read and reflect upon the following high-speed yet specific overview of what’s at the bottom of what you must know and work with to optimize human motivation on behalf of performance.

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Modern neurobiological science has sharpened our understandings of human awareness as an integrated interplay of four (4) primary human CNS (Central Nervous System) sub-systems (from most to least complex):

(1) our logic

(2) our emotions

(3) our proprioceptive balance

(4) our five senses

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Modern neuro-science points to the cardinal roles that these four CNS sub-systems play — in unison — in human consciousness, understanding, and performance.

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If we could eliminate any one sub-system from human consciousness, performance for sustaining survival becomes severely compromised, if not literally impossible.

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Each sub-system plays a different yet essential role for effective human information processing.

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This also goes for logic and feelings, which play distinctly different, complementary, and indispensable roles in human understanding and performance.

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Most people experience and consider themselves to be motivated by their logic.

Neuro-science informs us that people are motivated by their feelings.

What’s up?

Both private and public education in the USA have historically and currently emphasized the logic of academics, often to the detriment of education about feelings and what to do with feelings.  In our “think-do” North American culture, we tend to justify and to describe our motivations in logical terms, and less so in emotional terms.  In many cases, logically describing and justifying our “why” is emphasized and expected.

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Why is this?

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In a nutshell, logic tends to be viewed as “superior” to feelings.  After all, logic represents an attempt to be objective.

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Our pre-frontal lobes facilitate logical thinking and represent the newest development of our human CNS, first appearing some 50,000 years ago.

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Our having more of this “pre-frontal lobe” stuff differentiates us and our abilities from all other animals.

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Logical thought represents a clearly progressive dimension of human understanding of ever-increasing complexity.

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Indeed, where would we be today without logical thought and its products?

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Unfortunately, in our excitement concerning the clear importance of logic for human accomplishment, many of us may have, or act as if we have, “forgotten” the simultaneous importance of feelings.

While logic is what can guide us, feelings are what motivate us.

What is the basic emotional experience of your employees on the job?  Their emotions will influence their thinking and logic on the job.

Many people consider feelings to be “unreliable,” since feelings can differ from person to person or in the same person across time.

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☞  I, however, am clear to make a distinction that “different” — from person to person or across time — does not necessarily mean “unreliable.”  It simply means “different” as a function of individual perspective and context.

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When discovery of what is important to human beings is involved, so are feelings.

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Consistent with these neurobiological understandings are basic tenets of Dr. Abraham Maslow’s model of the hierarchy of human needs or motivations.  (We add to while including Wikipedia as one source of reference.)

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Maslow'sHierarchyOfNeeds(Orig'l 5Levels)Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is typically portrayed as a pyramid.

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The most fundamental “life versus death” levels of needs, from our CNS’s perspective, are toward the bottom.  The need for self-actualization, also of value, is at the top.

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The four bottom layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs”:  esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs.

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Maslow labeled these as “deficiency needs,” because if not met, the individual will feel anxious and tense — consciously or not.

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People’s most basic four levels of needs must typically be met before an individual will be able to more consistently and substantially personally focus much motivation, time, or tangible resources upon these secondary or “higher level” needs.

A higher level of “actualization” (and, more technically, “self-actualization”) is where people’s motives go beyond the scope of basic needs and they can more consistently and constructively strive for constant betterment — of themselves and others.

When we become sufficiently anxious or tense, our options for optimal human discretion and discernment become diminished.

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To the extent there are unaddressed factors or conditions in your organization that contribute to anxiety or tension among employees, your organization’s potential performance will be reduced.

There are two primary sources of factors or conditions in your organization that contribute most directly to how your employees feel when they are at work.  For many people, these two factors are even more important — at a gut level — than how much they earn.

These are your company’s climate and culture.

In a nutshell, your company’s climate refers to the physical and interpersonal conditions within which your employees must perform their work.

Your company’s culture refers to the declarations and values your employees bring to their work, influencing their interpersonal relationships and task performance.

Climate and culture are closely related.

We help you create the optimal conditions (climate) for bringing out the most desirable declarations and values (culture) for optimal individual, team, and organizational performance.

This is our Logo-BCSspecialty, backed by the very best science, personal experiences, personnel, and tools in our industry.

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When you are ready to take your organization’s performance to the highest level possible, by including a constructive focus on the people side of your operations on behalf of your most pressing organizational goals — using the best tools available —  you enter into the realm of what we provide.

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Years ago, Abraham Maslow presaged many modern neuro-biological findings:

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[Maslow asserted that] the human mind and brain are complex and have parallel processes running at the same time, thus many different motivations from various levels of Maslow’s hierarchy can occur at the same time.  Maslow spoke clearly about these levels and their satisfaction…  Maslow acknowledged the likelihood that the different levels of motivation could occur at any time in the human mind, but he focused on identifying the basic types of motivation and the order in which they should be met.  ~Wikipedia.

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