Where Does Positive Motivation Come From And How Do We Use It?

I work with many companies in Japan on change management and turnaround projects. One question that often comes up is: “When do we start being successful?” The answer is simple: As soon as we recognize that people are becoming engaged and start to show commitment.


Before this translates into financial results, one can see the projects’ successes in the faces and body language of the employees. Even for an external project partner like me, this is when my projects become real “fun”; Teamwork and positive interpersonal behaviors are the foundations of success and the better these foundations, the happier the employees.


The question to ask is “How do you make sure that your organisation and its employees are having fun?”


The Herzberg model says: “Fix the salaries, your targets, your promotion plans, your organizational structure, your processes…” and create a clean environment. If people know what companies expect them to do and empower them correctly, they will perform…

Japanese companies are extremely good at this and are forced to be perfect by an increasingly tight legal framework, designed to protect employees, which is correct and essential. Unfortunately, the Japanese work ethic of literally working oneself to death for the company and the gender glass-ceiling still push back the reality of a really “clean work environment”.


If you do not do your homework on your HR management and organizational development basics, you will not succeed. The same applies to governance and, diversity.

In the meantime, the real challenge for most corporations is to fulfil the other component of the Herzberg model “Motivation Factors”.


Top managers know that they must tackle these “Motivation Factors”, but the area they are working on most is “hygiene factors”, mainly because this is easy to measure, to put KPIs against the checklist. But what we want is the drive that brings a smile to the employees’ faces, the change in mood, and significant positive vibes, making teams walk the extra mile, if necessary, and bring out their creativity and entrepreneurship.


When I discuss these questions with the managers I work with, they all understand the needs and the basic theory, but they also know that they are missing the complementary part of the Herzberg model in their HR strategies and that without this their team will remain average. In addition, especially generation Y and Z do not stay with their organizations if the environment does not provide motivation factors that match their values.


At Hansen Beck we have been working with motivation psychology since 1963 and we know that motivation is the result of certain attitudes.

As soon as people understand that they are the organization and that the company wants them to influence in all directions, interact, and develop a feedback culture, a drive starts that no hygienic factor can create.

Hansen Beck can ignite that spirit in teams and people. We help them to understand that their visions determine their behaviors and that they have the ultimate choice. As Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or you cannot, you are right”.


Developing visions with a team requires a positive attitude towards customers, colleagues, superiors, and yourself, and one of the bases for this is excellent communication skills. Once people understand all the mechanisms driving their own behaviors and those of their business partners, they no longer see obstacles as a burden, but instead as part of their responsibility to succeed as a team. The more people become aware of all these things, the more it becomes fun for them to take responsibility for results and relationships!


So as a philosophy: Yes, a clean environment is the base, but it will not create outstanding motivation. Motivation is created by a positive attitude in a healthy environment, and people can be trained to understand that the only obstacle we can control in life is ourselves!

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