Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas about personal and professional development.

Archive for April 2011

Lack of talents or lack of motivation.

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The "Motivation machine"

Professional organizations are publicising figures about employment on a regular basis. Even these last times, things seem to be going better because the economy is recovering from the financial crisis, there is always a same finding. This finding is the difficulties that companies have to find and recruit some specific profiles. The lack of talents is a brake for the local economical development, and the problem will probably be more important in the coming years with the baby-boomers who will be retired. What are the reasons of such situation?

A first reason could be a weakness in the performances of the education system. An inefficient education system induces a lack of qualified people. Let us remind that a strong education is the basics of an harmonious personal development for people. Before to be workers, we are first human being and we are going at school to be first educated people, to be ourselves. By benefiting from a strong basic education, we increase the possibility to move to a larger range of studies at high school or university, and to have access to a larger range of jobs.

But is the education level the only reason of lack of talents? And what about remunerations? In this particular difficult time, it is often told to people that the salaries level has to be maintained. I know people around me applying for new job, who were asked to work with a salary decrease around 30%. As freelance consultant, I received some assignment proposal for a rate lower of 36%, and one of them was for a large company in the banking sector where the bonuses allowed to the top management did not know such decrease. By mentioning this, should not we allowed to think that the problem of missing profiles is not due to a lack of talent but to a lack of motivation from talented people. Some studies show that salary level is not the most important thing people are looking for, but they hope to have a decent salary for the job they are doing and for the related constraints they have to assume. Some people want one job or another, and are choosing the one that is well paid, what is understandable. But if there is no salary difference between that job and the one they really would enjoy to do, why would they continue to do it? Sometimes ago, I read some testimonials in such way about people launching their own activity, and telling that they will not probably earn more money but they will have the advantage to be their own boss.

The lack of motivation and lack of talent induce negative consequences on the economy. When some profiles are missing, companies are relocating activities in other countries. The fact that salaries are always dumped, induces a negative impact on the local economy. When people have a lower purchase power and that they are pushed and encouraged to consume, they begin to contract credits they cannot reimburse. We have seen the consequences with the financial crisis of 2008. But apparently, some people have a short mind.

The talent development is an ongoing process, producing short, mid and long-term effect. The talent development is a process having to be improved and worked on both sides. Ourselves, we have to develop our talents in order to evolve, to increase our potential and our knowledge, to get more opportunities. But we have to know that we will have possibilities to use our talent and that our talents and efforts will be correctly rewarded. That is the reason why companies, managers have to promote talents and to define clear goals and challenges, as opportunities where people can express their talent and be part of a nice project. It will make the difference between to have people who are doing their job because they have to, and they have to earn money and the one’s who have the feeling to contribute to a common project. In the second case, there will be clearly added-value for people and for the company.

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 25, 2011 at 15:28

Trust, responsibilities and motivation.

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Trust, responsibilities and motivation, ingredients of teamwork.

In the economical world, where the competitions become harder, the key factor maintaining companies in a leadership position, is the performance level. Performances of companies or organizations are related to the motivation of the personnel. The motivation is generated by different factors.

First, it is important that people have a clear idea about the content of their function, their mission, and have clearly defined objectives, mid and long-term career perspectives. This is a reason why the recruiting process is a key factor contributing to a potential long-term collaboration. Indeed, the content of the function and the targets have to match with the employee expectations. A recent study performed in the Belgian work market shows that people are according more importance to challenges and career evolutions perspectives than to the salary packages.

A second point is the trust given by the management to the employee. When people are trusted, they have the feeling that management believes in them and about their capacity to work autonomously. I remember some years ago, I was working as accountant for an American company. My boss was on holiday, and we had to face a serious trouble with the IT during an upgrade process. A part of the data’s was lost because the backup systems did not work properly. Two weeks of data were lost, and the last accounting monthly closing disappeared. I contacted a controller at the head quarter in the U.S. I explained the situation, and he told me that I would have a better overview of the situation than him, and that if it was necessary, I had to look for temp people in order to come back to a normal situation. Fortunately, an IT company where we sent the hard disks retrieved the data and we were back to the normal. The instruction of the controller was a real challenge for me, but also an evidence that he was convinced that I would be able to manage the situation. This trust evidence was a source of motivation for me. If people believe in you, you believe in yourself and are motivated to face challenges and take responsibilities. But it is obvious that we have to respect the given trust and the merit of trust is a daily exercise.

A third point is to give responsibilities to the people. When you trust on them and when you know that they can work on an autonomous way, then you can delegate tasks and responsibilities, which is a key point in term of management. We are used to say that if somebody is able to perform a task or a process at around 75%, then you have to delegate it. By delegating, you are giving higher responsibilities to the people, and showing that you trust on his capabilities. You offer him also an opportunity to learn and to increase his capacities and competences.

Recognition of the work done is another important factor of motivation. We know that successful project achievement can only be done by a hard contribution from each member involved in the project. Most of the biggest challenges are achieved by hard work provided by the project team. More than a bonus or a salary increase, the recognition and the feedback about the provided work is important to motivate people.

And what about team spirit? People can only give the best of themselves, if they are working within a team where members are moved by team spirit and by the will to reach first the common goal. When people are working together and want to achieve the common goal, it means that everybody can achieve his own goal related to his function and contributing to the common goal success. In such way, people have the feeling to be really part of a team and of a project where their work is recognized.

All these points show that trust can generate a win-win relationship between employees and employers, between partners. Trust can increase the motivation and the will to take responsibilities. It is in fact a contract where each partner have to respect the clauses.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 18, 2011 at 22:40

Change, responsibility and self-confidence.

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Self-confidence & responsibility, ingredients to feed change?

When change is considered as new opportunities by some people, it is seen as a danger by others. Change is a question of mind and some people are not used to change. But the question to be asked is why there are not used to change. Or maybe why have they no motivation to operate changes.

If we are going back to many years ago, and maybe still today in some public organizations, people were supposed to do their job as it was told to them. They were not allowed to take initiatives or to change some rules. The change was only driven by some managers or responsibles, and the employees were only allowed to do things as it was decided. But is it still possible to manage things in such a way, in a fast moving environment? No, it is not.

The development of technologies has an important impact in term of organization in companies and institutions. Each change of operating mode needs also some changes in term of people management. But in order to drive this changes successfully, people have to be motivated by changes. It is only possible if some conditions are met.

  • Function and job description: people needs to have a clear job descriptions, to have a good picture about their function in the company and the implication of their work within the organization

  • Targets and objectives: Peter Drucker was saying that management by objective works if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time, you don’t. If people know their objective, they can organize their work to reach the objectives.

  • Team spirit: personal objectives are part of global objectives, the objectives of the company, of the organisation. Global objectives can only be reached if people are working together on an organized way. It implies to know how to work, who is doing what. Let us keep in mind that there is no personal success without common success.

  • Responsibilities: By defining a function and goals for each people, you are giving responsibilities. With the development of technologies, where each function requires more skills and capabilities than before, each people is playing a key role, but need to have the feeling that this role is taken into consideration by the management. People assume and are motivated to take their responsibilities if it is recognized by the management,

  • Feedback: Feedback is important. If people are doing mistake or are not going in the direction of the assigned goal, colleagues or management need to give feedback about what is going wrong, analyse the reasons of the mistake, and to discuss about the appropriate actions to be taken. We are learning more from our mistakes than from our successes. It will help people to anticipate potential mistakes and to be more proactive, and to increase the quality of work.

  • Self-confidence: By assigning clear goals, by helping people to reach these goals and by recognizing the added value of their work, people have the feeling to be part of the organization and become more self-confident. This self-confidence will make that they will not hesitate to take initiatives to improve the processes of the organization. It is clearly a win-win situation, where people are acquiring added value and the organization benefits from the work quality of dedicated people.

As we can see, change is not something we can decide in one day. It is not only a question of mind but also a question of culture of the organization. It is obvious that culture is conditioning people, but in a fast moving environment where flexibility become a key factor of success, people can only face revolutions if they are used to work within an evolution process. And in an environment where flexibility and adaptability become important factors of success, it is obvious that people have to be used to work within an evolution process.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 11, 2011 at 20:51

Those who created their job.

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Luc de Brabandere, enterprise philosopher.

Most of you already heard about that quote from Abraham Lincoln saying that “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This quote have more and more sense in a fast moving environment where we don’t know what will be our future. Today, job security is an oxymoron. As already written in a previous posting on this blog, the only existing job security is to expand our knowledge and capabilities. All what you can learn will probably be helpful for you in order to find and to get new opportunities. More than this, when something seems to begin obsolete, it is time to invent something, to find other solutions, to be creative. It is true for business, for product and services, but also for our career.

Each of us, we hope to meet success in our professional and private life. Some years ago, the success was to join a known company or group, and to make a whole career, joining a stable environment where you were benefiting from a good salary with a range of benefits. Today, such career perspectives are more improbable, in a fast moving economical environment where restructuring processes in companies imply jobs cutting as negative effects. Does it mean that success became also something improbable? It depends how we are defining success.

In our society, work is often considered as a constraint. By seeing work in such point of view, people will choose a job for bad reasons. Is it forbidden to believe that job could be something very enjoyable? It is up to us to decide it. Some people decided to do their job enjoyable, and some of them came to invent, to create their own job.

I will take the example of Luc De Branbandere, a Belgian consultant in creativity. This man has a diploma in mathematic sciences and started his career in a bank. He was quickly interested by all what is related to creativity. In order to move further in that subject, he made studies in philosophy. He wrote several books about ideas and creativity, books that I highly recommend. Luc De Brabandere is defining himself as an enterprise philosopher, coaching and helping companies in creativity processes.

 

Marc Ysaye, director of Classic 21

Let us take another example. Marc Ysaye, who is the drummer of the Belgian rock group Machiavel, made several small jobs during his youth, from taxi driver to trucks driver. He is passionate by rock’n roll music, and his knowledge of the rock’n roll is impressive. He joined the Belgian radio (RTBF) in 1982. In 1988, he created a radio broadcast, “Les Classiques”, presenting a rock’n roll group every Sunday morning on Classic 21, a chain of the RTBF. This radio broadcast is still a success today, and Marc Ysaye is the director of Classic 21 since 2004. Classic 21 is one of the most successful Belgian radio station dedicated to rock’n roll music.

We can find numerous example of self-made man, people meeting success by creating their own job, their own project. There are several reason why they meet such success, and some of them are the following:

  • The passion. Somebody who creates his own job is moved by a passion. Of course, he has to work hardly to build his project, but this work driven by passion make that he is considering his job as a hobby, as a game and not as a binding job.

  • The curiosity and the passion to learn. A self-made man wants to discover, to learn every day. His passion is a never-ending story, and by knowing that he can learn everyday, he has a feeling of happiness and is conquering his freedom day-after-day. All what he can learn and discover will be a strong row material to develop new projects and ideas.

  • Be the original instead of the copy. Oliviero Tuscani said that “We have not only to be the best, we have to be unique”. It is when you build your project based on your own experiences and passions that you build something unique and original. Of course, we are often inspired by other people, but this inspiration has to be only the needed energy to build our own project, our own legend as Paolo Coelho says.

  • Goal and conviction: Building your own project means that you have a goal, your own goal, and that you are convinced by what you are doing. Conviction is close to passion. It is only when you are convinced yourself that you will convince the other people. It is also when you are convinced by what you are doing that you maximize the chance to reach your goal.

  • Pay attention to opportunities: we are used to say that an opportunity is coming one time to you, not twice. It is important to pay attention to each opportunity. Meeting the right people at the right time and in the right place is not something that happen everyday. You cannot miss such chance. We are responsible of our successes and of our failures.

  • Work and perseverance: The most important and main project we have is our own life. It is something we have to build everyday in order to get long term results. By facing challenges and issues, and by working hard in order to find solutions and to reach your goal, you will learn about yourself, you will be more self -confident. It is by learning everyday, by increasing your skills and capabilities that you will be able to move your limits and face bigger challenges.

Is it possible to create our own future, our own job? Yes, it is, but a major point is to know how we define the success. Our definition will be related to our value. Is the success related to the money we are earning, to the projects we are winning, to the satisfaction level we are gaining from our activities? Success will be defined differently by each of us. But success will have to be integrated and found in our moving environment. It will be related to our value, but also linked to our capacity of change, of adaptability. As entrepreneurs of our own life, we need to have always a project in advance, to have always different interests, and to make them growth everyday. Is it impossible to create our future. Some people will answer they did not know it was impossible, so they did it !

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 3, 2011 at 22:34