Report on the lunchtime CPD talk given on 27th August 2015 by Steven Turnbull of Professional Motivation.
business matters are grateful to Lindsays who hosted this talk and provided a working lunch for those attending.
Ruth Penman welcomed Steven on behalf of business matters, introducing him as a psychologist and specialist coach.
Steven promised to give those present a flavour of motivation and how it could help individuals or their organisations.
You can view the PowerPoint presentation Steven used and listen to a recording of his talk by using the icons at the foot of this report.
He started by asking the question “Am I qualified to come and talk about motivation?” Outlining a bit about himself and his career he attempted to answer that question. He is currently a psychologist involved in many professional bodies but this is, in fact, a second career for him. Going back to childhood, Steven admitted that he wasn’t the most motivated of people, being quite “relaxed and laid back (and very happy)”. Approaching O Grade exams, his confidence in his abilities in one particular subject led him to assume that, since he had “breezed” through class work, he could afford to ease back on study and focus on his other work. In his own words, “failing spectacularly” in his prelim was a wake-up call and sparked the first feelings of motivation as he realised he had let himself down. Working and studying allowed him to attain very high marks in the actual exam and he took this “lesson learned” into the rest of his education and subsequent career.
He progressed “up the ladder” in a Quantity Surveying career, becoming a chief QS very rapidly and then, in 2006, deciding that he wanted to use his knowledge to be in business for himself as a house builder, starting his own company. It was at this point that he realised he had to motivate a huge range of people from bankers to bricklayers as he attempted to grow the company. Two years saw the company grow to £3m annual turnover and win a number of awards. This took Steven to a point where all was going very well… …and then the recession kicked in.
As well as the monetary effect on his business, Steven noticed that there was a significant effect on those around him in the industry; other developers were struggling with the emotional and health effects of perceived and actual failure. Having studied elements of psychology over the years in order to give him an edge in negotiation and improve sales techniques, Steven found himself being approached by others in the industry asking how he was coping so relatively well with the difficulties of recession and so, increasingly, he began to offer advice, at first informally and then as a formal service at the request of former competitors who were now clients.
This led to his current career where roughly 50% of his time is spent working with professional sports, with other work for businesses, charities and also individuals. He gave some examples of this and highlighted the success rate of what he does.
Having answered his first question, and acknowledging that those present were not there to hear about him, Steven moved on to look at motivation.
He suggested that many would perhaps recognise motivation as “shout louder” or give someone a “kick”. In his words, “what a nonsense”. The reality is that we all stand at a crossroads where we can move forward and achieve our full potential or can languish in a state of lack of confidence and low self-belief. Statistically only 1% of people achieve their full potential but Steven suggested that, if we take on board some of the pointers which follow, then we could move out of the 99% and into that 1%.
He showed the dictionary definition of motivation and highlighted that it comes from the Latin word “to move”. That movement can be personal, physical, spiritual, professional – in fact covering all areas of life. Motivation is a process not an event, ongoing and alive.
Steven outlined Maslow’s pyramid of motivation and how, progressively, mankind positions itself on the scale, from physiological security, through safety, love/belonging, esteem, right up to the 1% who have managed to reach the level of self-actualisation. Steven suggested that only we, as individuals, can gauge where we are on that scale. Looking at the pyramid another way, he drew out the difference between extrinsic motivation, where we seek the approval and feedback of others, looking for reward of some sort, and intrinsic motivation, at the highest level, where we are motivated by the sheer delight of doing something.
The “carrot and stick” model, as often operated in the business world, is not the best or most effective way of motivating people. Unpacking it a bit further Steven showed a 2×2 matrix highlighting that motivating someone towards a goal that they want to achieve is really the only way that works and achieves results.
Steven moved on to talk about the theory, developed by Steven Reiss in 2001 and building on Maslow’s hierarchy, that human needs are the key elements in driving personality and behaviour. He listed the 7 human needs according to Reiss:
It is asserted that satisfying three or more of these needs simultaneously is a powerful motivator. Getting to know your workforce and letting them see that you are genuinely interested in them, allowing them to have a real and meaningful voice in your team or company, can bear immense fruit as you seek to motivate them and Steven outlined how, in his own house-building company, he had tried to do this.
Moving on, Steven outlined the formula for motivation which includes the four elements Ambition (dream, goal), Expectation, Time and Effort. Giving each of these a value ranging between 0 and 1 (0 and 100%) and multiplying them together allows you to quantify the “Motivation Coefficient” of what you are doing – for example if Ambition is 100%, Expectation is 100% but Time and Effort are both limited to 75% then the overall result is
1 x 1 x 0.75 x 0.75 = 0.56 or 56%
Each part of this formula is vital in achieving a high Motivation result – Steven reworded the terms into something that we might find less abstract and more active so
Ambition, Expectation, Time, Effort can be reframed as
Dream > Believe > Apply > Achieve.
He quoted Henry Ford “If you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right” – it is important to revisit the dream and revitalise the belief in that dream if we are to be motivated and succeed. It is equally important that our sleep patterns, diet etc. are in good shape since they will affect the Effort or Achieve part of the formula.
Steven also cited many well-known historical and current figures as examples – Martin Luther King was on the point of quitting his campaign but was motivated by Dr Howard Thurman who emphasised to him that his dreams could and should make a difference for others. John D Rockefeller grew up in an intensely unhappy and difficult childhood but was motivated by a desire to get out of poverty, be a better man than his father and make the world a better place. Steven asked us to think about what motivates each one of us and use that as the springboard to increase each element in the motivation formula.
Moving on to belief, Steven illustrated this with the story of Cliff Young, an Australian who wasn’t limited by his beliefs in the 1980s in running a road race from Sydney to Melbourne without the benefit of a backup team or entourage. He ran the race in two days less than ever before – just because he believed that he could do it. How can you boost your self-belief? Steven outlined exercises that can achieve this.
For the Apply and Achieve elements of the formula Steven again quoted Martin Luther King: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do keep moving”. Each time you move towards your goal you are making progress.
Steven outlined some practical tips for getting motivated including music and visualisation – picture what you look to achieve. Focus on what you want not what you don’t want.
Finally, Steven pointed us towards a website which he has set up at www.thinkingbetter.org.uk
A short Q&A session followed including the effectiveness of negative motivators as opposed to positive. Steven agreed that sometimes negativity is necessary but suggested that positivity is better.
Those present thanked Steven for his input.