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Is money really that motivating?

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Getting Motivation right
This article is based on the free ebook "Getting Motivation right"

It is often considered that money is the most important motivator. For some that may be true, but it is not universally the case. Money does not feature as one of the sources of pleasure, and it is important to understand why not.

Ask yourself: What do you want money for?

Money is purely a symbol. It is just a token that can represent or be exchanged for other things. Money only has real value when it is spent or exchanged for something else that is wanted or needed. Up until that point its only value is one of potential. Therefore to understand why money is important to you, you really need to know what you want it for. With a little contemplation you will discover that what you really want is to use the money to get you more of one, or several, of the main ‘Positive Motivators’.

For instance, you may want to buy some more possessions or you may want to gain some more independence in your life. There are many reasons why we want money, but money is not the real reason – there is always something behind that desire which is more important, and for which money is merely the means to attaining that.

The real motive is success

In some cases it may appear that people want to accumulate more and more money, which would seem to contradict the above. However, once again, there will be a reason for this. It may be because money is the ‘point system’ by which they measure their success or their self-esteem, in which case success is the real motive. It may be that they wish to become major benefactors later in life, or it may be that they wish for fame and recognition. Perhaps they see the accumulation of money as a way of gaining power and influence in the world, or it may be to insulate against the threat of poverty and deprivation. Unless you are a coin collector, it is unlikely that amassing money is just to have the money itself.

Money compensates other needs

Another reason that money is complicated is that when people ask for more money in their job, it may be that the money is not the real problem. For instance, if someone perceives their work as being dull, tedious and monotonous they may demand more money, not because they need more money but as a form of compensation for not being able to get one of their key motivators, namely ‘stimulation’. In other words, asking for more money may actually be a cover for some other dissatisfaction. The difficulty with this is that paying more money will not solve the underlying problem, which will surface again shortly as another request for more money, and so on.

Recognizing that money is only a representative of other more important requirements, will enable you to focus on the real underlying needs and motivations of your staff and so become far more effective in motivating them.

To get to know the real motivators have a look at “Getting Motivation Right – How to get everyone in your business motivated” written by Anthony Bagshawe.

Download the free eBook Getting Motivation Right