Your Personal Self Can Improve Your Professional Performance

Putting the McClelland Theory or Motivation into Practice

The McClelland Theory of Motivation is an excellent tool to turn to when you are finding it hard to drum up any enthusiasm. You know, those days when you’d rather stay curled up in your bed, or out on the golf course, despite a mountain of things you need to do. The times when your head says, “Screw the email, phone calls, and paperwork that are waiting for me.”

The problem is that this voice in your head doesn’t do you any favors. All the work that you’re putting off today is still there tomorrow – and you’ll have tomorrow’s tasks to add to your to-do list.

The McClelland Theory of Motivation really can help you get over your personal lack of enthusiasm, and we explain how in this article.

It’s the Voice in Your Head That You Need to Master

In a recent Black Diamond Podcast, we discussed mastering the voice in your head with Arjun Channa, a seasoned hotel operations professional. He spoke to us about the difficulty of managing negative situations.

“They can have really dire effects on your life, because they begin to create habits that are counterproductive to what it is you say you want to accomplish,” Arjun says. “It’s the voice in your head that you really need to manage. Not the fact that you got an account or not, did you get the job or not, or whatever is going on in your personal life or your work life. It’s actually the voice in your head that you really need to master.”

When we spoke with Jennifer Helene, an expert in health and nutrition and a serial entrepreneur, she, too, discussed the importance of your inner voice.

“It’s the mindset piece ontological piece, which some could say ‘spirituality’, but I like mindset, because it’s really, you know, what catapults us to the next level. How we’re seeing things. The lens we’re looking through, and all of that,” she explains, “and this magical formula that I see the most traction with, and that I’m able to now build programs for organizations, institutions, universities, and I can train people. And it’s like… it’s so rewarding and so fulfilling. I love it.”

Motivating Yourself to Do the Hard Things

Ok, so motivation is a mindset. It’s about controlling the voice in your head, and persuading it to push you to get things done. 

Those things you need to do become harder to do when you lack the motivation to do them. Yet doing those hard things can be motivating itself. For example, Eric takes a cold shower first thing in the morning. Sometimes that isn’t the most pleasurable experience to look forward to.

“Is it really difficult just to turn on the shower?” he asks Jaala Shaw, when discussing doing hard things in episode 41 of the Black Diamond Podcast. “But it kind of is, right? And just by doing that, even because after the first 3,060 seconds of that cold shower, you’re like, Alright, I’m awake. I’m alive. I did something hard. I can check off that box. And now everything else may seem just a little bit easier, whether it’s conscious or subconscious.”

So, how does the McClelland Theory of Motivation help?

What is the McClelland Theory of Motivation?

Also called the Human Motivation Theory or the Theory of Needs, McClelland’s Theory of Motivation says that we all have one of three dominant motivational drivers (or needs):

  • The need for achievement

  • The need for affiliation

  • The need for power

The need for achievement

Do you desire to accomplish things in your specialty? Perhaps you get a kick out of publishing a book (if you’re a writer), or designing an eco-friendly house (if you’re an architect), or winning a gold medal at the Olympics (if you’re an athlete).

The need for affiliation

Maybe it’s the relationships that you build that drive you. The sense of working in a team, and achieving success for all, and being well-liked by others.

The need for power

Do you want to lead, and be in control of others? If so, then your dominant need is for power: either personal (you want to have control over others) or institutional (you want to lead a team to achieve a larger goal).

Use Your Dominant Need to Motivate Yourself

How do you use the Theory of Needs to motivate yourself? Here are three steps:

  1. Identify your dominant driver

This can be harder than you think. You’ll need to analyze your behavior and ask questions such as:

  • Do I like problem solving?

  • Will I keep my real views to myself to maintain a good relationship?

  • Do I prefer to give or take direction?

(Actually, answering these types of questions will also help you to instill your business with your personality, and differentiate it from others.)

  1. Put your dominant driver to work

Now, it’s time to find ways to put your dominant driver to work. 

For example, if you’re motivated by achievement, start ticking things off your to-do list (like Eric does when he takes that cold shower first thing in the morning). Reduce large tasks to smaller milestones. You’ll find that each milestone achieved drives you to do the next.

If affiliation is your motivator, then don’t work alone. Get yourself to a coffee shop to complete that report. The sense of people around you will enthuse you.

If taking control is your bag, then look at the tasks you must do, and delegate. 

Of course, these are only examples of what you can do to get that motivation buzzing. You’ll need to find what works best for you.

  1. Review, revise, rinse, repeat

Finally, understand that just because something works now, doesn’t mean it will always work. So, you should continually monitor what drives you and what methods of motivation work best for you: review, revise, rinse, repeat.

Drive Your Professional Performance

Motivation is personal. By understanding your personal motivational drivers better, you can start to alter your mindset to create more positivity at those times when you lack drive. 

With a positive mindset, you can devise strategies that help you to maintain your motivation – and this will drive your professional performance.

Here’s your challenge for today. Sit down for half an hour, and think about what it is that drives you. What motivates you to get up in the morning? What compels you to work thorough your to-do list?

What tactics and strategies could you devise to put your dominant driver into play?

Get in touch with us. Let’s help you find the carrot that drives you. Let’s talk motivational techniques, and develop a plan that will propel your professional performance.

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