Motivation in Motion: Practical Motivational Techniques for Your Business

Whether you’re looking for the motivation to start your own business or your team is struggling to find the inspiration to drive your organisation forward, a prolonged lack of ambition can severely impact on performance. Although it’s impossible for all of us to feel completely motivated all the time, only 15% of employees worldwide say they feel entirely engaged at work. 

So how can you prevent a lack of motivation from impacting your business performance in the long-term? 


Why do we struggle with motivation?

No matter how driven or ambitious you are, no one can be 100% motivated everyday of the year. However, if you find that you’re lacking a desire or willingness to work on a regular basis, then there’s likely to be an underlying cause. Some of the most common reasons for feeling unmotivated include: 

  • A lack of purpose: to be motivated, you’ve got to set  a goal or objective that you want to reach. You also need to genuinely want to achieve the end point that’s being put in front of you. If there’s no direction or you don’t buy into the final objective, you can start to procrastinate or lack focus and commitment to your work.
  • Self-doubt: if you don’t feel able or confident enough to take on a project, task or role, then you can start to actively avoid it. If  a situation feels outside of your skill set, puts you under pressure or makes you feel uncomfortable, then you’re unlikely to feel motivated to do it. 
  • Feeling overwhelmed: whether you’ve been given too much work and responsibility or are suffering from stress, depression or anxiety, having lots going on in your mind can zap your energy and leave you unmotivated. 

To reignite your motivation, it’s not just important to understand why you’re unmotivated, but to also know what drives your ambitions. This will help you to establish goals that you’re invested in and keep your business moving forward, whether you work for yourself or others. 

What motivates individuals?

There are two main types of motivation in business: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is when you’re driven by personal rewards or achievements. These may include making other people’s lives better or improving your own skillset. In contrast, extrinsic motivation is when you’re driven by external rewards like money or praise. This can include promotions, bonuses or recognitions and awards. 

These motivation types can be broken down further into individual elements. Take a look below to see which one you think might apply to your own personality. 

Intrinsic types of motivation 

Some of the most common types of intrinsic motivation include: 

  • Competence: those who want to constantly improve their skill set, produce high quality work or become masters or specialists at something are driven by competence and motivation. 
  • Attitude: attitude-motivated people want to change how they or others think and feel. They are driven by work that makes people feel better, uplifted or more positive. 
  • Achievement: those who seek achievements are driven by reaching goals and objectives, not for any external reward, but for the sense of self-worth that reaching a milestone provides. These are some of the most self-motivated and process-orientated individuals. 
  • Expressive: whether it’s expressing their creativity, feelings or innate impulses, expressively motivated people find fulfilment in the process itself. They are purely driven by internal forces and feel no need to set goals or objectives but simply enjoy the process in and of itself. 

Extrinsic types of motivation

Alternatively, extrinsic motivators can include: 

  • Incentive: whether it’s a bonus, promotion or award, these individuals are driven by achieving external rewards. Unlike those who are achievement motivated, they expect a reward at the end of the process and will only be satisfied once  they receive it. 
  • Power: these people want to achieve control over their own and others’ lives. They’re driven by affecting the direction of the environment around them. 
  • Affiliation: belonging and acceptance are one of the most instinctive human desires. For some, this is a primary motivation in their life and work. They thrive on being part of a team and will go out of their way to connect with others. 
  • Fear: these personalities are driven by the consequences or punishment that they could attract as a result of not achieving a goal or objective. 

Once you’ve understood what motivates you and why, you can then start to put techniques in place to improve your motivation for now and the long-term. 


Are there effective motivational techniques in business? 

The exact methods used to improve motivation will change depending on whether you’re wanting to motivate yourself or your team more effectively. However, if you suspect that yours or another’s lack of motivation may be due to mental health, then it’s important to access professional help and advice, whether it’s a helpline, internal or private counselling.

Self-motivation tips

Once you’ve figured out what exactly motivates you, you can start to set out a better plan of action. Whether you’re driven by competence, incentives, affiliation or another type entirely, setting yourself clear, specific goals, tasks or deliverables is key to staying motivated. 

Chat to your manager, advisor or friend about what you think your goals could  be and make sure they meet the SMART criteria. Write them down and, if you find it helpful, set a deadline. The way you motivate yourself will then drive the way you get to your end point. For example, if you’re expressively motivated, embrace your natural impulses and don’t worry if you don’t get to exactly where you set out to go. 

If you’re struggling for ideas on how to keep yourself inspired and ambitious, these business motivation podcasts and books will provide you with lots of tips to try. 

Motivation tips for teams

When motivating teams, it’s important that everyone recognises that each individual is driven by different impulses, goals and ambitions. By educating colleagues and leaders about the types of motivators, you can open up a dialogue into how best to motivate each other. Taking personality tests to find your motivator type and ensuring that objectives are adjusted accordingly may also be helpful. 

Setting up structures within your business that ensure each type of motivation is fulfilled and encouraged is also key. This could range from bonus structures, to skills training or giving free time to be expressive and creative. Asking your employees about what these structures should be and ensuring you have regular check-ins will also help to keep colleagues engaged and motivated. 

Finally, it’s essential that everyone recognises that not everyone is going to be motivated all the time. However, by taking a positive approach and engaging in an open, honest dialogue, you can ensure that you or your team can work at their very best and drive your business forward.

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Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.