Thursday, May 23, 2013

MOTIVATION Part 3: Establish Clear Expectations

In Part 2 of this series, we discussed the strategy of getting reacquainted with your staff. Here is another strategy for creating a culture of motivation in your organization.

Make sure that managers understand  the importance of starting each project  clearly, stating the desired end result  and parameters for achievement. Once  clear expectations are established, it is  critical that managers provide the latitude to let people determine how they  are going to achieve them. By nature,  people are problem solvers. We like to  figure things out and determine how  things are done, especially when we’re  the ones charged with doing it.

When managers give people the  opportunity to provide input into the  work process, they create buy-in and  a sense of ownership. People who feel  ownership of their work are likely to  find work more meaningful than people  who have no say in how goals are  accomplished. And meaningful work is  much more motivating. 

Recognizing this natural human  drive to be a part of the solution is a  critical first step in motivating people.  Here are some suggestions to help managers in your organization begin to set  clearer expectations: 

Require all leaders to clearly state  goals of any new project before it is  started.
This will ensure everyone is on  the same page. Also, everyone will know  whether the project is successful, as  well as what could be done to increase  success on future projects. 

Set measurable objectives.
Don’t put  requirements in performance appraisals that cannot be measured. Use the  SMART system (specific, measurable,  attainable, relevant, and time-bound) of  developing objectives. 

Model behavior. 
As the leader, be the  first to meet (and exceed) the standards  set for others.

Links to other posts in this Motivation series

Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
Part 3: Establish clear expectations
Part 4: Provide good feedback
Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at or email us at

This is one of the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation" by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in T&D, a publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). 

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