The Surprising Truth About Personal Motivation
For years as an EMS supervisor I sat in operations meetings discussing the timeless business question, “How do we motivate people to be high performers?” Since most everyone in the room was a current or former field paramedic, you’d think we’d have an edge in answering the question. We didn’t.
It’s worth considering while your sitting around with your partner, hashing out the latest management blunders and explaining how you’d fix everything. If it was you sitting in the agonizingly long staff meeting throwing around ideas, chances are, you wouldn’t do much better.
I do know that the one opportunity I had to work on a true high-performance EMS team, these were the basic ingredients.
- We were a relatively small group
- We weren’t highly paid
- We were on a mission
- We respected our leader
- We had a lot of freedom
- We all felt accountable to the team
- We all felt like our role was important
It was fun while it lasted. And then we were successful. And we got big and corporate. And the team got bigger and the rule book got thicker and the memos got longer (I wrote many of them.) and the motivation dropped.
One interesting dynamic I noticed. When I was being paid the highest by the organization, my motivation was the lowest. No amount of money could make up for the sense of loss I felt. The loss of freedom, autonomy and contribution. Getting paid well to be a cog just sucked the life out of me and every other high performer in the group. So I left.
Based on that experience, this video made a lot of sense. I wish I had seen it 10 years ago. I don’t know if it would have helped, but at least I would have understood what was happening better.
Now it’s your turn: Do you still feel like more money would help motivate you to be better at what you do? Leave a comment and let me know.