Book Summary: Motivation (Brian Tracy)

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Book Summary: Motivation (Brian Tracy, 2013)


  • You can remove obstacles to motivation: Fear of failure and rejection
  • The key factor is the interaction between manager and employee


The X factor

  • The psychological factor is the self-concept. All changes in the outer world of the individual begin with changes in the inner world.
  • Self-concept made up of self-ideal, self-image and self-esteem
  • Self-ideal is a summary picture of what the person aspires to be in life
  • Self-image is the way a person thinks she is viewed by others
  • Self-esteem is how much you like yourself
  • 7 ways to motivate:
    • Challenge, give them jobs that make them stretch
    • Freedom, give people sufficient autonomy to work without close supervision
    • Control, set regular times for review, feedback and discussion
    • Respect, Ask for people’s opinions and listen to them
    • Warmth, treat them like your friends and family
    • Success experiences, give people jobs they can do well
    • Positive expectations, believe in them


Select the right people

  • 95% of your success lies in selecting the right people in the first place
  • Jim Collins: “get the right people on the bus, get the right people into the right seats on the bus, and then get the wrong people off the bus”
  • Identify the qualities you want, look for the set of basic skills needed and hire for attitude, personality and character.
  • Law of Three
    • Interview at least 3 candidates for a job
    • Interview the candidate that you like 3 times in 3 different places
    • Have any candidate that impresses you interviewed by at least 3 other people on your team
    • Check at least 3 references from the candidate. Ask for strengths or weaknesses, anything that could help me in hiring decision, would you hire this person back? 
    • Check references 3 deep, ask given reference for names of other people the candidate has worked with and talk to them
    • SWAN formula: Smart, Work hard, Ambition, Nice


Start them strong

  • Self-selection must be key factor in hiring. It means they want to work for you rather than anywhere else. Never hire anyone that you have to coax into taking the job.
  • Start them off with lots of work, even an overload, from the very first day of employment. When you start them off gradually, they keep the same pace later on also.
  • Make the work interesting
  • Give new employees hands-on training and support as they have “low task-relevant maturity”. Assume they have no idea how to do something. If you have no time for training them, assign someone who can.


Communicate clear expectations

  • 5 factors for winning:
    • Clear goals and objectives which are discussed and agreed upon
    • Clear measurements and standards
    • Clear deadlines and sub-deadlines
    • Success experiences when they complete it
    • Recognition and rewards for successful task completion
  • Ask “If this job were done excellently, what would the result look like? How would I describe an excellent job?” 
  • Inspect what you expect
  • Make sure they know exactly what they are expected to do and in what order of importance, what constitutes success and the deadlines.
  • Once you have discussed and agreed upon a task, have the employee feed it back to you in his own words to ensure what you said and what he heard were identical.


Practice Participative Management  

  • 2 predictors of high achievement is positive expectations and a democratic environment
  • Let employees participate and discuss with you in determining the best way to perform the task or to achieve the goal
  • 5 keys to team building:
    • Shared goals and objectives
    • Shared values and guiding principles
    • Shared plans of action
    • An action leader, remove any hindrance
    • Regular review and feedback, “How are we doing?”
  • Keep employees “in the know”, give them a sense of ownership


The Four factors of motivation

  • Leadership style
    • Different strokes for different folks
  • Reward system
    • “What gets rewarded gets done”
    • Reward what you want more done of
  • Organisational climate
    • Make policies for no tolerance for disrespect
  • Structure of the work
    • Try to match the nature of the work with the nature of the employee and to make the work as interesting and enjoyable as possible


The Three Rs

  • Rewards
    • Only performance should be rewarded, not position or seniority
    • Tangible (money, holiday, objects): give bonus related to performance rather than increasing salary
    • Intangible: Prizes, public praise, training
  • Recognition
    • Whenever a person does anything that is exceptional (that is above and beyond the requirements of the job) the manager should give the employee recognition both in private and in public
  • Reinforcement
    • Those behaviour that you reinforce will be repeated
    • Average, Excellent, Wow and Double wow. Tie performance with bonus.


Install management by values

  • Your values -> Beliefs -> Expectations -> Attitudes -> Behaviours
  • Look at the person’s action to understand their values
  • Make a list of 3-5 most important values that you base your business or decisions. Make sure everyone knows what they are.
  • Define your work in terms of meaning and purpose it has to you and the difference it makes to your customers


Practice management by objectives

  • Refers to the practice of assigning a complete job to a competent individual and then allowing him to choose who to complete the task on schedule and on budget
  • 4 steps:
    • Get a clear agreement on exactly which goals and objectives are to be accomplished
    • Discuss with the individual the various ways that the goal might be achieved or the job completed
    • Establish clear measurements and benchmarks
    • Agree on a regular schedule to report on progress and get feedback on the job
  • Give them freedom and responsibility
  • Don’t take back the job from them. Ask them “What do you think we should do?” and then encourage them to do it. Give them feedback how to implement their idea.


Use management by exception

  • You give the person a full job and leave them to do the job except when there is a variance from the agreed-on standards or if something unexpected goes wrong.
  • You only need to occasionally check on the job to see how things are going
  • Two basic needs: Autonomy need is to be seen and respected, Dependency need is to be accepted as part of a group of people in the workplace.


Apply the Pareto Principle

  • 20% of your activities will count for 80% of the value of the results
  • Rule of Three: If you make a list of everything you do, only 3 of those activities account for 90% of the value of all the work you do
  • Qn 1: If you could only do one thing all day long, which one activity would contribute the most value to your business or organisation?
  • QN 2: If I could only do two things all day long, what would be the 2nd most valuable thing that I do?
  • QN 3: If I could only do three things all day long, what would be the 3rd? Focus your attention on those 3 things all day
  • Do fewer things, but do more important things, and do them more of the time and get better at each one of them.


Be a Teacher

  • Teaching is not a side issue or a distraction. It is a key part of my work to help others learn things I’ve already mastered.
  • Never assume that they know how to perform difficult tasks
  • Take time to instruct, answer questions and give feedback to increase their earning ability in the long term.


Train and Educate Continuously

  • The wrong question is “What if we train them and they leave?”. The right question is “What if you don’t train them and they stay?” 
  • There is a link between training  and increased growth and self-esteem.
  • Develop the skills a person needs and set up a training schedule of reading, audio programs, seminars, practicing the skills etc.


Insist on the zero defects principle

  • Quality means your product or service always does what you said it would do when you sold it to your customers
  • Set an example by doing high-quality work yourself in every area and continually strive to become even better at the most important things you do


Introduce Quality Circles, Quality Teams

  • Quality teams are assembled by management but consist only of staff members. Each team select their own leader for the group. They are to meet on company time to talk about ways that they can improve the quality of their work and the way the business operates in their area of responsibility
  • When team members are asked for their opinions and ideas on how to improve the quality of the work, they feel more valuable and important and motivated to do better work  future
  • Set specific measures of quality in each important area of the business and look for ways to practice continuous and never ending improvement (CANEI)


Practice brainstorming regularly

  • Help to unleash the creativity of everyone in your organisation
  • Never underestimate the creative capability of your staff members
  • 7 parts of the process:
    • Choose an optimum group size – 4-7 people
    • Select both a leader for the table and a recorder. Leader is to facilitate making sure all contribute, recorder record all ideas quickly
    • Set a specific time limit for the brainstorming session – 15 to 45 mins
    • Define a specific problem or question that demands practical answers
    • Focus on quantity of ides rather than the quality of ideas – make it like a game
    • Suspend all judgment
    • Gather up all the ideas generated for evaluation at a later time
  • After brainstorming, best to give all ideas to another group for evaluation as there is no ego involvement. Divide into groups and swap ideas for evaluation.


Become a Mentor

  • Types of mentoring, direct and indirect
  • Take an active interest in the careers of the people who report to you. Take time to pick one or two people in your company to mentor
  • When we pay attention to someone, we are also paying value to that person
  • Must consider compatibility or chemistry to work together
  • If you’re looking for a mentor, start with a cup of coffee and explain to the person that you would very much appreciate occasional input and guidance in your career. If he agrees, keep your mentoring sessions to ten mins. Have a list of questions, concerns or observations that you would like to discuss. Give a copy to your mentor also. When your mentor gives you recommendations of books to read or courses to take, do it immediately. Report back to them what you did and learnt.
  • If you’re a mentor, use these rules and guidelines. Use 10 min blocks or longer and have a specific starting and stopping time. Be punctual. Parkinson’s Law “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.


Lead by example

  • You do not raise the morale in an organisation. It filters down from the top. Manager sets the tone of the whole department. 
  • Ask “What kind of company would my company be if everyone in it was just like me?
  • Employees (pastoral staff) treat customers (members) the way they are treated by their managers (pastors)
  • Adopt a warm, friendly and supportive personality around your people
  • Everyone is watching you all the time. Always be calm and positive even during hard times.


Listen to your staff

  • Listening is white magic as it makes people feel terrific about themselves
  • 4 keys:
    • Listen attentively: remove all distractions, lean in, don’t interrupt
    • Pause before replying: Tells people you are thinking about what they said, avoid the risk of interrupting others people, hear their meaning on a deeper level
    • Question for clarification: “How do you mean?” The person who asks questions has control
    • Paraphrase the speaker’s words: Check your understanding 
  • Listening builds trust and character


Remember the friendship factor

  • Best bosses are those who care about employees as a person
  • Balance clarity and consideration. Be clear about the tasks (clarity) and ask them about their lives outside the workplace (consideration, caring, courtesy).
  • Express care when they tell you of a problem and you immediately stop and make an effort to help them solve it e.g. “Children come first”
  • Express courtesy when you show respect for them. Treat other people the way you would like to be treated by your superiors. Imagine they might become your managers the next year!


Create motivational magic

  • Smile
  • Ask people questions
  • Listen to them
  • Be polite
  • Say thank you 
  • Keep people informed
  • Encourage continuous improvement 

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