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Motivating people in a job isn't that hard.

If you average out millions of replies to the question "What makes a good day at work", one thing becomes clear.

Most people are not especially lazy*, they are not greedy, they just need one thing, a sense of progress towards something that matters.

There are two things to this.

1) "That matters".

This doesn't mean each day we need to be saving the world or changing someones life, it could just mean getting a little bit of pride because your data point in a powerpoint deck felt quite helpful, or your idea made it to the final presentation, or you completed someones tax return and you know they are thankful, etc.

2) " Sense of progress"

Quite often people can't really see progress. Tasks are complex and non linear. There are generally two ways people see progress.

a) They have a clear sense of vision and clarity on their role within this, and they know themselves they've moved something on.

b) They are told they've made progress someone and they believe it.

Ideally people would get both, but frequently people see or get neither.

We need to be way better on making it clear to people we work with when they've made progress, but we also need to be way more clear on what the great goal is and how people fit within this.

Thats all, it's not that hard. It's cheaper than a pay rise, and it builds more than pride, it builds clarity, togetherness, creativity, proactivity, camaraderie and more.

* I'll come back to the lazy thing another day.

But we should have an open mind to the idea most people are quite well motivated to work, but human nature is wired to make us efficient. What we pejoratively call laziness, we should really think of as prone to efficiency. But more on this another time.

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