Tag Archives: motivation

Markel Debuts Pivot on Best-Selling Business List

Only one book debuted on the Wall Street Journal business best-seller list this week (July 23-24, p. C14).

The book is entitled Pivot:  The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life Pivot book cover(Atria Books, 2016).  It entered the list at #7, and has been available since mid-April of this year.

The author is Adam Markel.  He is the CEO of Peak Potentials.  Over the years, he has trained thousands of people to find new jobs, careers, and directions.  In addition to being an author, he is a keynote speaker, real estate developer, entrepreneur, and attorney. Having run his private law practice for more than 17 years, Adam underwent a career change by creating a successful commercial real estate investment firm, title insurance company, and social media start-up.  You can read more about him by clicking HERE to find his website.

Adam Markel pictureHis website describes the book as follows:

Adam reveals his top strategies and tools to creating a new path towards your ultimate happiness and fulfillment by finding your big ‘why’ for living. Adam shares powerful and life-changing exercises, declarations and challenges with you, as a way to help you start taking action, releasing negative beliefs and patterns and replacing them with powerful Intentions and daily rituals.

Markel also publishes a downloadable Pivot Journal, to help you track your progress toward the reinvention of your career and life that you desire.

We have not yet determined if we will present this book at an upcoming First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.  While it qualifies since it is on a national best-seller list, one factor will be whether it maintains its popularity, and appears on other lists.  As I am writing this post, the book is at #157 on the Motivation and Self-Improvement business sub-category on Amazon.com.

So, stay tuned as we monitor its progress.


Getting Motivated about Motivation? I Don’t Think So!

Many of you know that I am a 12-year member of the National Speakers Association and a Past President of the North Texas Chapter.  Therefore, I run in circles with all types of speakers, including the highly-paid keynote style.

I found this point interesting in a article published last year in Meetings and Conventions magazine (July 1, 2010).  Key subscribers to the magazine are meeting planners, who often have the responsibility to book keynote speakers for conventions, annual meetings, and other large-scale events.

The article noted that motivational messages are among the most appropriate keynote categories.  Of the 116 meeting planners who responded, 69 percent say an uplifting speech is highly appropriate for their groups.  Also popular are industry-related topics, cited by 62 percent, future trends (47 percent) and humor (41 percent).

Why is this of interest to me?  Because the factors that have actually motivated workers has been consistent for more than 25 years.  And, “feeling motivated” is not in the list.

Beginning in the mid-’80s, lists of “what motivates employees” started to include items such as:  feeling “in” on things, doing work that matters, and being recognized for a job well done.  Pay slipped from the # 1 spot, and has consistently fallen below items such as those that I listed in the previous sentence.

So, what I don’t get is why do people want to hear motivating messages as their # 1 topic from a keynote speaker, rather than about content or process items that actually motivate them on the job?  If people are motivated by content or process items in the jobs that they do, then why would they not want to hear about those items from keynote speakers?

I will admit to you that this is close.  Notice that industry-related topics (62%) and future trends (47%) are not far from motivation (69%).  Yet, motivation remains at the top.

I personally find that motivational messages have a “glow.”  You feel good after it is over, but  it wears off quickly.  And, I never seem to feel the same again.   When I hear messages with tangible content, at least I have some knowledge of what to do, how to do it, and so forth.  It really doesn’t matter how I feel, or if I am motivated about it – I know where to find it, and what it is.

How about you?  Are you surprised by this finding?  What do you think about motivational messages?

Let’s talk about it!

How Do You Motivate An Employee? — How Do You Motivate Yourself?

Recently, after my first presentation of my synopsis/briefing of Daniel Pink’s Drive, I wrote these observations and questions/implications:

• Some observations:

1.              Different jobs require different approaches to motivation.
2.              Different people require different approaches to motivation.
3.              The extrinsic motivation of the last century works best for “routine” jobs.
4.              Extrinsic motivation can actually de-motivate for creative jobs.
5.              Jobs that require a great deal of creativity and innovation require intrinsic motivation.
6.              Intrinsic motivation is related to the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, and to the concept of Flow popularized by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
7.              The new workplace is one that must evolve into a workplace of intrinsic motivation.

• Some questions/implications:

1.              Are you primarily intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated?
2.              How do you know which approach is the one that works best for you?
3.              When have you found yourself in the “state of flow?”
4.              How can you provide more autonomy for yourself, and others, in your workplace?
5.              How can you better affirm the desire for/need for mastery in your workplace?
6.              How can you help yourself and others strive to fulfill a higher purpose in your workplace?

I have long recommended Encouraging the Heart: A Leaders Guide to Rewarding and Encouraging Others by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner as the best book available on how to get the best out of employees.

Here’s my current reflection…  First, look at my first two observations:  different jobs do require different approaches to motivation.  A person repairing potholes likely needs a different set of rewards than a person who is tasked with coming up with a new marketing campaign.  And, two different people likely are motivated in different ways.  Kouzes and Posner strongly argue that all rewards should be personalized – i.e., designed for the person as in individual.

But for an increasing number of us, we work “alone.”  We have to manage our own work, we have to schedule our own time, and we have to “motivate ourselves.”  Though clients and others might encourage us some, we have to get going, day in and day out, on our own.

So – the question for me, and for a lot of you, is this question  — how do I motivate myself?

That is the challenge.

One Size Fits All; Right?! – Not Any More (Motivation 3.0 Has Arrived)

One Size Fits All; Right?! – Not Any More.  This is true in so many ways.  And one way is “motivation.”  In the old days, the days that Daniel Pink calls Motivation 2.0, motivation was simple.  Carrots and sticks. Going back to the days of Frederick Winslow Taylor:

You simply rewarded the behavior you sought and punished the behavior you discouraged.  The way to improve performance, increase productivity, and encourage excellence is to reward the good and punish the bad.  Rewarding an activity will get you more of it.  Punishing an activity will get you less of it.

But we have now moved into the new era of Motivation 3.0.  This is the premise of the book DRiVE:  The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.  For much of the working population, we still need to use the carrot & stick/rewards approach.  In fact, Karl, my colleague at the First Friday Book Synopsis, presented a synopsis of the practical book, Make Their Day:  Employee Recognition that Works by Cindy Ventrice.  One key piece of advice is this:  “recognize unique contributions with personalized recognition.” And the book has tangible ways to make this work to maximum effect.  This is common, common-sense advice.  (It is also a critical part of the plan recommended in the terrific book Encouraging the Heart by Kouzes and Posner).

But, for the newest “heuristic” workers (Pink’s term), there must be a new understanding of and approach to motivation.  Here is my attempt to summarize the key findings in Pink’s book:

The Three Elements

Of Motivation 3.0

What This Might Mean/

Might Look Like

Autonomy:  a renaissance of self-direction “ROWE” – Results Only Work Environment – everyone is/has to be/wants to be a self-starting, self-directing person
Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters (only engagement leads to mastery) (to learn, to create, to better the world) Individuals always keep learning.  With deliberate practice.  (the 10,000 hour rule, with deliberate practice — deep, deepening abilities)
Purpose:  very simply, doing something that matters because it should matter; something done in the service of something larger than ourselves Either have a product/service that matters; or, provide “work time” to do something that matters…

And here is Pink’s own “twitter length” summary of his book:

“Carrots & sticks are so last century.  Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery, & purpose.”

Who should read the Pink book?  If you work alone, and you have to be your own self-starting, self-directed worker, you should read it.  If the people you supervise are heuristic workers, you should read it.

And what is a heuristic job – any job that requires creativity, any job that creates something “new.”  From the book:

Working as a grocery checkout clerk is mostly algorithmic.  You do pretty much the same thing over and over in a certain way.  Creating an ad campaign is mostly heuristic.  You have to come up with something new…

Whatever your own job, you should read it.  Because, more and more, you will have to rely on internal/intrinsic motivation.  Because, in my opinion, “carrots and sticks” will slowly disappear from the scene.  Because, to quote Pink again:

…in today’s environment, people have to be ever more self-directed.  “If you need me to motivate you, I probably won’t hire you.”


{To watch Dan Pink speaking on the key principles found in this book, from a recent Ted Conference, go here).

(I presented my synopsis of Drive this morning at the First Friday Book Synopsis. The two synopses from this morning will be available soon, with audio + handout, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.  And, Encouraging the Heart is available on the site now).

Do You Suffer from a Motivation Deficit?

There are business books that deal with practically every business issue you can imagine.  But there is one theme that never disappears, that is perpetually resurrected, because it deals with such a basic human problem.  It goes by a lot of names:  motivation; self-improvement; self-help.  The idea is simple – how can I get better at what I do? — every day.  Over and over again, I need to improve…myself.

And there are two parts to this getting better battle.  One part is skill development.  The other part is, where will I find the energy/focus/motivation to get better?

I recently re-read my handout to a book I presented back in July, 2001:  The Other 90%:  How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life by Robert W. Cooper.  The book reminds us all that we simply are not living up to our possibilities, our capacities, our capabilities.  We can get better at what we do! We can do better at our job, at our relationships, at our lives.

The book is filled with quotes like these:

“What if every day I had questioned yesterday’s definition of my best?  What if I’d listened to my own heart instead of their words.  Then I might have kept looking deeper and giving the world more of the best that was hidden inside me.  All of us are mostly unused potential.”  (Hugh Cooper Sr., the author’s grandfather)

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  (Nelson Mandela)

“The world belongs to those with the most energy.”  (Alexis de Tocqueville)

First thing Monday morning, do you wake up envisioning – “Another week of stress and strain at work” – or “Another chance to do more of the things I love”?

As Hegel observed, “We may affirm that absolutely nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”

No matter who you are, no matter how hard your life has been, no matter what challenges you are facing right now, every moment you have within your reach what my grandfather knew we all have – the opportunity to shape what you are becoming.

Here’s what I think. People who only listen to motivational speakers, people who only read self-help books, are probably not tackling the skill development they need to tackle.  Motivation help alone does not cut it.

But, on the other hand, we probably could all do better than we are doing.  After the skill development, there is an attitude adjustment and improvement, a raising of the energy bar, that we all need to tackle.  Over and over again.  So maybe we should read an occasional book that in one way or another reminds us that we really could and probably should become all that we can be.

The Other 90% is a good book to choose.


The book is filled with practical suggestions, such as how to take a short break during the day that helps you renew your energy.  You can purchase my synopsis of this book, with handout + audio, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.