Ch. 6 Nurturing Motivation:
Over chapter focused on one overlying idea, “Can You Motivate Geeks?” and I felt this was adequate because everyone wants to be in a group that is highly motivated. Even our author points out that highly motivated groups are more productive and more fun to be around. But where does this motivation come from? Our author argues that motivation comes from four main sources:
1) Biological imperatives – the drives for food, shelter, etc
2) Personality – the patterns of behavioral dispositions that remain relatively static within each person over all
3) High-level cognitive needs – such as self-expression and fulfillment
4) Social environmental factors
While this sounds good I believe the author forgot to point out that you can’t be 100% motivated by each. Personally I could classify my motivation as maybe 10%, 35%, 40%, 15% (respectively) because in my current life situation I’m not “fighting to get by” so I’m much less motivated by Biological imperatives. Likewise there are additional forces that bring down each of these such as pure laziness. These additional forces act like gravity would on a person trying to jump because pure laziness will always be there. An interesting article I found online that addresses laziness is here.
The picture of the kitten: http://www.esoftload.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/laziness.jpg
From here our chapter takes an interesting turn to discuss intrinsic motivation by selecting the right people to do the right project. This idea has been something expressed by many authors (not just our author) and it even goes back to the expression “having the right tool for the right job.” In this situation the right tool would be the right employee and the assumption is that the right employee will always be motivated, but leadership isn’t that easy. If it were then we wouldn’t pay people so much money to tell us how to be motivated and how to motivate others because we’d simply recruit better people.
Another source I found online that discussed the right person for the right job concept can be found here, and it’s a good document relating the above expression with the concept of Job-Fit. Summarized the article states that job fit is, “having a positive orientation to the nature of
the work to be performed, the characteristics of the work environment, and the other demands and
conditions of the work opportunity” which goes hand in hand with our authors idea of selecting the right person for the right job.
A video I found that is kind of funny to listen to is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z72K45foxH4.
The guy is discussing knives and not Geeks, but the general idea is the same so I thought it would relevant to show that the idea isn’t something cornered in the IT world, but rather in every type of job or task that is available. In the video the man says several times that, “There is no one best tool and there is no tool for every job.” This saying fits perfectly with our book because it goes to show that performance in one single project doesn’t define who is “the best Geek for the job” because maybe you’re good at Java, but when you’re thrown into a C project things are different.
From there the video says, “Some people prefer one knife, and I really don’t like that.” Shifted into the IT world it can be related to managers who prefer the same Geek for everything. While they may have a good track record for performance it can often prove inefficient to use the same Geek for every project. Eventually the video says, "I enjoy using a knife, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to use a chainsaw to cut down a tree." I thought this point was important because it goes to show that just because you don't choose Geek A for a project that doesn't mean you don't like them. It simply means they weren't the right person for the right job.