Let me say from the outset that I'm not a sappy person. I'm not afraid of a hug, but I'm not a touchy feely person. But there is something that I've learned and thought about over the last 20 years that applies to any aspect of life and has great application in the workplace. That is the concept of love. If you want your business to succeed, if you want to find personal success and satisfaction there are few things that will drive that success greater than love. Am I talking about going around and huging your employees and clients? No (although it might not hurt). What I am talking about is the source of your motivation and your employees motivation in building the business.
I've found in my career and in life that there tends to be three things that motivate people. You might think that money would be one of the three and it is definitely a contributor, particularly in the workplace for some people, but money actually fits into an aspect of the three motivations, but it isn't one by itself. The three motivations are fear, reward and love.
People that are motivated by fear tend to be people that do the bare minimum. Some are great at what they do, but most will just do what they need to in order toget by and if they think people aren't watching or the fear factor is diminished then the performance goes down.
People that are motivated by reward tend to be more productive than those motivated by fear. Like people motivated by fear, they can be great at what they do, but if the preception that the reward is going away or diminished then the motivation goes away. Business people that are motivated by money usually are people that are motivated by the reward. Many times they tend to not be good team players all the time because if they have to step on other people to get their reward they often times will do so, because it is their main motivation.
The last group of people are motivated by love. They tend to be people that have a passion for what they are doing. They tend to be people that are team players because they have the end goal in mind and they will do whatever it takes, even sacrificing what may be in their own self interest to achieve it. These people ultimately tend to be the best business people, the best employees and the best overall people. All three groups can find great levels of success, but statistically speaking, the cream rises to the top because there are less things that can impeed them.
For example, if a young child ran out into a busy street, the person may run out to save them for, at their own risk, for fear of people looking down on them or fear of punishment for not doing anything. They may hesitate in the moment as they way the consequences and for fear of injury to their own selves they may not try to save the child at all or give a minimal effort.
A person motivated by reward may go after the child, but for the same reasons there may be hesitation or they may not act at all if they perceive that the reward isn't great enough. For praise or some monetary value they may try to save the child, but there are many things that might keep the reward motivated individual from succeeding.
A person, like a mother, that is motivated by love however will not hesitate, even if the odds are that they will not survive the rescue, if they can save the child. Pure love of business, family or any other worthwhile endeavor trumps all other motivations in all situations because it is following the most basic of instincts and drive. It will not always succeed, but none of the motivations always succeed. It will succeed more often than most. Look at the character Rudy of Notre Dame fame. There were frustrations along the way and he never became a starting football player, but he overcame obstacles that many would call insurmountable because of the love he had for the sport, his team and his university.
What is your motivation? What is the motivation of your employees? I suggest that if you ask yourself that question every month and evaluate were you are at and think about how you can put more love into your job, family and other relationships that with time the rewards will be great and you will find great "success" in everything you do.