Who is Minding the Store?

Motivation maybe the most important management buzzword, because quite simply we are told, if you motivate your soft assets (people) to leverage your other ones, then you get big-time ROI.

We saw a presentation this week from Daniel Pink about autonomy and the value of intrinsic motivators (great!) and external motivators (not so great).  On the other hand, books like Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics by Levitt & Dubner, show clearly that external motivators have been the standard currency of achievement for centuries!

And everywhere we turn, we are told that organizations must have their staff feel like they are part of something purposeful, something bigger than they are.  Yet, we are also instructed that everyone is a complex individual who must be cultivated singularly.  Where is the balance?  Where can you start without an expert debunking your every move in their next book or lecture?

Let’s start with hiring.

After all, workplace productivity is a product of how well an employee’s personality functions together with an organization’s culture. Yes, there is give and take, but let’s face it, when you are an adult and you begin working somewhere, both you and the organization already have a lot of hardwiring already in place.  Could Alan Mulally run Google?  Could Eric Schmidt turn around Ford?

I turn your attention to the best business read (in my opinion) Corner Office by Adam Bryant, which appears every week in the NY Times Sunday Business section.  Each week Adam Bryant masterfully interviews industry leaders on how they select and build teams.  The responses at times come across as self-serving and smarmy, but Bryant handles them deftly and gets to what seasoned veterans do and vow never to do again.

So, if you are looking for a job, or maybe you want some fresh questions to ask the next person you are teamed with, or may be adding to your team, Corner Office is a constant supply of varied insights into the minds that run the store.

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