“How can I motivate people… to be more motivated?” This was the question of my client who was struggling with performance issues of her team members. The short answer is–“You can’t.” Let’s face it, internal motivation can only be changed by the individual. The question is—how do you find out what motivates someone and how do you speak to that in order to bring about behavior change? And how do you influence those over which you have no authority? Good questions.

The book Influencer is an excellent resource for those that are looking for ways to motivate and lead through influence.

Things to Consider

1. Determine what the key behaviors are that are affecting the negative result you are addressing. If the negative result is that balls are being dropped and people aren’t keeping timelines for example, what are the behaviors that they are exhibiting? Are they over scheduled in meetings, is there confusion on ownership of tasks, are assumptions being made during handoffs? This will take a little research, but identify the behaviors that are occurring.

2. Identify a few key behaviors that are exhibited by those that are successful in the behavior you want to incorporate. When a study was done to determine what behaviors were exhibited by those that had lost weight and kept it off for more than 6 years, those behaviors were 1) they ate breakfast, 2) they exercised on home equipment, and 3) they weighed themselves every day. What are some key behaviors that may bring success to your current issue? For example, people who deliver consistently put time in their schedule to ‘get the work done’. How can you convince others to put ‘work time’ in their schedule and protect it from other meetings or interruptions?

3. Come up with a plan. Once you determine some key behaviors that will lead to success, you now need to convince others to adapt those behaviors. Studies have found that those that incorporate at least 4 of the 6 influence factors are 10x more likely to be successful.

See the 6 factors to influencing others below

  • What will personally motivate them? What are their core values? Speak to those.
  • Is this person personally capable of exhibiting the new behavior? Do they need any training or tools?
  • Are they socially motivated? Is there any peer pressure that can be used?
  • Do they have the social tools and capabilities for the new behavior?
  • Are their structural motivations within the organization? What will motivate them structurally?
  • What structural tools and support are available?

This is by no means a quick fix. Moreover, behavior change or culture change is complex and takes focused attention. Work with a coach to put your plan together.

For more extensive analysis, buy the book Influencer.

Take the time to really address the behaviors and you’ll be much more likely to succeed at influencing others.