Almost 40 years ago, Susan Fowler saw something on TV that made her become a vegetarian overnight. This was significant, because at the time Fowler loved meat and had a pot of fat on her stove because “everything tasted better with animal fat.”
After her switch, people would say to her, “You are so disciplined about being vegetarian.” But Fowler said becoming and staying vegetarian didn’t require any discipline at all.
“I thought, ‘Why is that?’” she says in episode 81 of the CUES Podcast. “There were other things in my life that I couldn’t change that I wanted to change. I realized that motivation is at the heart of everything we do and don’t do but wish we did. I went on a quest for understanding motivation.”
Today Fowler, who will speak at CUES Symposium: A CEO/Chairman Exchange, Feb. 9-13, 2020, in Hawaii, is a world-renowned expert in the science of motivation. She’s the author of the best-selling book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work and What Does, and most recently released Master Your Motivation: Three Scientific Truths for Achieving Your Goals. She’s also co-author with Ken Blanchard of Self Leadership and One-Minute Manager.
During the episode, Fowler explains why she thinks motivation is a skill. She describes how leaders can help their teams find their own motivational outlooks during change initiatives or projects. And, she defines the spectrum of motivation outlooks, from three that are suboptimal to three that are better.
On the optimal side of the spectrum is the “aligned motivational outlook”—a key one for organizations because it involves helping employees connect their own values to the goals they’re being asked to achieve at work or the changes they’re being asked to implement.
“People can align really important values that they have, not just the values of the organization, to the changes that are taking place or the goals they’re being asked to achieve,” Fowler explains in the show. “Leaders can facilitate that understanding by having values conversations with people. Most credit unions have values (that they put on plaques or cards). But then they stop there and don’t ask the individuals working in the credit union, “What are your values?” “How do your values align to our values?” and “How do your values align to what we’re asking you to do?”
The show also gets into: