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Inspiration is usually associated with creative work, and it is thought that regular work does not need inspiration. I would like to contest this thinking in this blogpost.
Inspiration is defined variously as ‘an animating action or influence’; something that influences or impels; something that pushes to do something; and something that arouses interest to go for something. Implicit in the definition are two things; drive, and to do better. We get inspired by stories of other people, of other times, of our times and so on.
There are fundamental differences between Motivation and Inspiration. Motivation usually comes from outside, whereas Inspiration arises from within. Motivation is linked to some specific stimulus while inspiration is linked to a concept. MOTIVATION is short-lived while Inspiration is a state which may last quite long, or even indefinitely.
The work environment in almost all companies is based on insistence on drudgery, importance of time discipline, importance of maintaining status quo, and keeping mouth shut most of the time. The seniors have their own long-standing grudges and unhappinesses which they wish to take out on juniors. If they had not grown in time, they would like to make sure no one else grows. If they are not paid well, they wish that no one is paid well. In summary, most seniors are a spent, dejected and frustrated lot. Unfortunately, not much good can be expected from them.
If the above scenario seems excessive, please revisit some of the organizations you know. If you still feel the same way, you may make it a little less drastic.
HR department can possibly play a great role to bring change, but they are either handicapped, and/or incapable. The result is that the HR people end up making more and more documents only that perpetuate the sorry state of affairs.
In these circumstances, motivating employees is doubly difficult. At once, everyone appears to be demotivated and has accepted it as a matter of fate. It is a quandary as to who will motivate whom.
Motivation is a rather misused or abused word and action in itself. Managers are desperately trying to motivate their staff and the staff is desperately waiting to get motivated. It is a no-win circle where motivation is being chased by managers and their staff alternatively.
I am proposing here that the effort should be changed. Rather than trying to motivate staff, they should be inspired instead.
The logical question would be how to do this?
Following suggestions may help as broad guidelines. Finer adjustments need to be done to make these more relevant.
The Process should be Started from the Beginning
Most organizations have some sort of orientation in place. The new hire, disregarding her/his level of experience is given a similar orientation.
- The new hire is introduced to the company, its structure and hierarchy etc.
- There is physical introduction to key/relevant members of staff
- The company policies and procedures are introduced
- Employment rules are informed
- New hire’s job description is informed
- New hire’s reporting lines are informed
- New hire’s place, facilities are informed
If you see this list, there is nothing inspiring at all here. Even the standard appointment letters in vogue are pathetic in the sense that they mention ‘Appointment’ one time and ‘Separation’ probably seven times. The following points may be considered for addition.
- The role of the function in the overall context of organization
- The importance of the position for which the person has been hired
- The expectations from the new hire
- The support system available for the new hire
- The development opportunities available for personal and career growth
If these points are added and discussed, the employee shall start with inspiration which shall continue in the future.
To be Continued……
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