Focus on Inspiration, Not Satisfaction!

What makes the difference in qualities between employees? What makes staff members act in different ways? There are as many characteristics and personalities as there are people. Two qualities, however, affect employee engagement and performance: satisfaction and inspiration. Would you prefer a satisfied staff or an inspired staff?

Satisfaction and performance seem to be inextricably linked within organizations. No one complains as long as we comply with specified standards. However, the risk of complacency seems to loom around every corner. Satisfaction and complacency go hand in hand, and I believe that may be the root of the problem.

Source: satisfied implies that we have already reached our predefined goals, an insight we can all agree on. We do not have to go any further, reach any higher, or be any better than we currently are. In our minds our work performance is considered satisfactory. We believe we are meeting what our organization has outlined as our 'job requirements’ and everyone is satisfied from our point of view.

If an organization (or a sports team) aims for satisfied people, it seems that the drive or spark is gone. For instance, being ranked second in a national sports league is seen as excellent performance by a team. Getting as far as the semifinals in the play-offs is “good enough.” Finishing as a runner-up in a contest is worthy of celebration. Positive scores in a staff satisfaction survey makes management believe they are on the right track. In my opinion, this is the wrong perspective to take.

The overall belief regarding job satisfaction is that we must  be mentally and emotionally in-line with others’ expectations of us. As long as we are mentally fit for a position and as long as we like our job, we generally believe we should be satisfied. By mere definition, satisfied employees are underperforming. It is widely known that satisfied reserve players contribute very little to the team’s overall performance. Instead of focusing on increasing the satisfaction of people in an organization focus on inspiration to generate higher levels of performance and drive engagement.

Source: people to continuously perform for an organization in a sustainable manner. Skilled employees who are a proper fit for their roles and are physically and mentally challenged tend to achieve greater performance levels. Stimulate employees to keep them engaged and active in a sustainable way: engaged with the organization, with their coworkers, and – most important of all - with their own careers!

Eagerness, passion, and enthusiasm are the result of inspiration. Inspiration is not an inherent mental state. Passion and fun inspire feelings that generate energy and drive. Inspired people have no limits when it comes to performance. The one and only reason why they stand out is that satisfaction is not their ultimate goal. Inspired people like a challenge and the mental stimulation of a debate. They stand out within their organization. They strive to learn and improve beyond any pre-set expectations held of them. Their desire for growth and development drives their ever increasing engagement in the workplace.

Leave satisfaction out of the equation, and strive to inspire your employees instead. Engage not only their minds, but their hearts’ to grow and soar to new heights. How will you inspire your workforce to never be satisfied and always strive to achieve more?

Jan Buitendijk, Regional Director of Focus since 2008, has 28 years experience in education, training, coaching, advising and management. Experienced in a wide range of human resource development services, Jan's experience with companies and people of all levels enables him to successfully work with people on business productivity and performance. He has worked in management positions in education, training and career coaching for both national and international companies.

Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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