Motivating the Innovation Team

Achievement, Empowerment, and Involvement are good motivators for a team. So say the authors of this book. And you want your innovation team motivated. You need them on that wall.

Achievement is easy – people want to make a positive contribution to their careers.

Empowerment is similar to autonomy. Nobody likes to be micromanaged at work or in their personal life. Agency is one of those universal things you read about as being critical to an enjoyable career. Give people the power to make a difference, and on the flip-side, if nobody is giving you the power, take it. Seriously – solve problems without being asked to do so.

Involvement is like engagement. This is a “no duh” element of motivation. If someone is not involved with the process or outcome of your team, they’re not going to be motivated. (The quintessential book on motivation is DRIVE by Daniel Pink. And if you want to go down the rabbit hole of the psychology of personal motivation, read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.)

Though I am not really finding a whole lot of unique insight in this section of the book, there is a great little list on page 226. It’s called the failure formula. Step 1: “Bring in a grand vision that others didn’t help create.” Step 2: “Make pronouncements about what needs to change without first talking to those who will be affected.” You get the idea. I would highly recommend looking up this list and putting it on the wall, especially if you’re a manager. It’s a great “what not to do” list and it’s scary accurate.