often asked to come in to organizations
and give a motivational
speech to their employees.
I reply that I'm not a motivational speaker.
Never have been. Never will be. Don't
want to be. I do something else. I teach
their people how to become motivational
That's a far more productive endeavor.
The concept and application of motivation
are misunderstood in most organizations.
The motivational industry is based on
a fundamental contradiction; because the
focus of motivation is misplaced. After
all, leaders (salespeople
included) should be motivated. If they
aren't, they shouldn't be leaders.
Here's where the focus
should be: not on the leaders themselves
but on the people
they lead. Can those leaders transfer
their motivation to other people so those
people are as motivated
as they are about the challenges
Furthermore: Can those people who "catch"
the motivation of their leaders then go
out and motivate others -- and those others
go out themselves and motivate still others..
and on and on?
Finally, can people at each phase of this
"cascading of cause leaders"
translate motivation into action that
results -- and not just average results
but more results faster on a continual
All my books, articles, courses, seminars,
workbooks and interviews are based on
that simple sequence of ideas.
I have written many articles on motivation
and how to transfer your motivation to
But there is another way of transforming
your motivation to others that doesn't
take much explaining. It's surprisingly
simple, easy to use, and effective. Yet
few leaders I've encountered use it, and
those who use it, don't use it well.
It's the Way of the Question
Mark. A "way" is a course
of life one undertakes to advance in a
So it is with the Way of the Question
Mark. It is not simply a technique; you'll
find it is actually a disciplined course
(I've been using it for years and am still
a long way from mastering it. Because
the question mark is often particularly
appropriate in a highly charged emotional
situation. However, in such situations,
when strong emotions are getting the better
of me, it takes practice and discipline
to step back, gather my thoughts, and
ask a question.)
Practicing the Way of the Question Mark
can enhance your relationships with the
people you lead so you get a lot more
results as a leader.
From now on in all your leadership endeavors,
make a conscious effort to put a question
mark at what would otherwise be declarative
Asking the question rather than using
a declarative is usually more effective
because it gets people reflecting upon
their situation. After all, we can't motivate
anyone to do anything. They have to motivate
themselves. And they best motivate themselves
when they reflect on their character and
their situation. The question prompts
people to answer, and when they are answering,
they may engage in such reflection. You
may not like the answer; but often their
answer, no matter what it is, is better
in terms of advancing results than your
declaration. Also, their answering the
question may prompt them to think they
have come up with a good idea. People
are less enamored of your great ideas
than they are of their ideas, even if
those ideas are simply average.
For instance, your organization needs
to have people to from point A to point
B. An order leader might say, "Go
from A to B."
Practicing the Way, one might ask: "Tell
me what you think about going from A to
B?" or "What's the best way
for you to go from A to B?" or "Tell
me how I can support you going from A
to B?" or "How will you take
leadership of others going from A to B?"
Mind you, I'm not talking about pandering
to people's whims. I'm talking motivation,
motivating people to get more results
faster on a continual basis. (In fact,
you can't order people to get more results
faster continually. Only motivated people
can do it.) I'm talking about challenging
people to undertake extraordinary things,
to be better than they think they are.
The question mark, as opposed to the simple
declarative, opens up a world of results-producing
possibilities. And it's a world predicated
on their choices.
Make the Way of the Question Mark your
way. Discipline yourself to ask questions
rather than make statements. You'll start
getting more results.
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