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Motivating the Team

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on Oct 7, 2009. It is being re-run as Steve is away on sabbatical.

You're a corporate worker, building applications that your business uses to sell it's widgets, gizmos, doohickeys, or ho-hums. Whether you're a developer or a DBA, it's not exciting work. Nothing to write home to Mom about with any level of enthusiasm. It's a daily grind of CRUD applications designed to improve the efficiency of business workers who enter data, or view reports about how things work in the real world.

That seems to be a story played out in many companies all around the world. Lots of creative, talented people, all stuck in boring jobs cranking out code that supports the business. Over time they become jaded, un-motivated, or burned out at their jobs, perhaps even questioning their choice of career.

How do you motivate people in that situation?

I've seen lots of business seminars and presentations designed to increase moral, or somehow get people excited about their company. Most of them have failed miserably for me. I haven't left feeling motivated, especially  over the couple last decades where it seems so many corporations' management care little about their employees, and only about what their quarterly number will be. Or what their bonus might be as executives.

Even though they are paid differently, everyone has to feel appreciated. - Roger Staubach

It's a great quote, and one that I think tells us what motivates people. We want praise, we want to be challenged, and we want to enjoy our work, but what we really need is to be appreciated. Make a worker feel like they matter and they will put up with and even enjoy their jobs more.

Steve Jones


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