Motivation; the hidden engine of an organization’s cultural transformation.


“If You Are Working on Something That You Really Care About, You Don’t Have to Be Pushed. The Vision Pulls You.” (Steve Jobs)


Every single process of evolution or transformation born from the inside and is revealed to the outside. To change something or someone the first step is to be sure if there is a real interest on be change or transform. In other words, to achieve a transformation process there is a real desire to take an action. According to the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1841/1960), to be motivated is to be moved into action, or into a change in action. It comes from being pushed by the past and pulled by the future. (Deckers, 2018).


There are three main motivation categories: motive, goal, and incentive. A motive is a person’s relatively stable internal disposition to be concerned with and approach positive incentives bad avoid negative incentives (Atkinson, 1958). The goal is represented as the internal image of a future outcome that a person plans to achieve: an end state. And finally, the incentive can be defined as ab anticipated reward or aversive event available in the environment. Goals and incentives are connected, while goals are the focus of motivation, incentives can contribute to that motivation. Incentives contribute by making a goal seem more attractive or valuable.


As a company, we decide to start the process to achieve a new organizational culture. Our main goal is to achieve a total evolution process to a new digital transformed organization. The question should be, how we can incentive our people to totally engage with this digital transformation process? If incentives contribute by making a goal seem more attractive or valuable, which could be the incentives that we could use to achieve our final goal?


During the past months in RA Latin America, we have been working with several initiatives focused on promoting the professional development of our human capital. By the nature of some of them, I have had the opportunity to listen closely to the feelings of many of my colleagues. The reality is that our teams are very interested in continuing to receive tools that help them increase their sense of belonging in the organization. And at the same time, continue to increase their level of empowerment in their respective areas of work.

We talk about incentives making goals seem much more attractive and valuable, so we must focus our strategies on areas that allow a greater commitment to our organization (sense of belonging). People with a real sense of belonging will always demonstrate greater self-motivation and will be much more willing to be part of an organizational evolutionary process.


One of the five pillars of Emotional Intelligence that Daniel Goleman raises for us is self-motivation. Self-motivation is the ability of each worker to pursue their set goals, taking advantage of the impulse that their personal motivations offer them. It provides strength to take initiative and allows you to be more effective and persistent in the face of difficulties and frustrations that arise. Daniel Goleman (1996)


According to Goleman, self-motivation is made up of four elements; personal drive, commitment, initiative or disposition, and optimism (ability to move on).


a. Personal drive serves as a drive to achieve ambition, or perhaps the personal empowerment necessary to achieve it. However, you also must consider it in terms of mindset. There are two types of mindset, fixed and growth. Those with a fixed mindset believe that talent is ingrained and that we cannot change our skill level, while those with a growth mindset believe that they can improve their skills through hard work and effort.


b. Commitment to goals is simply having an awareness of where you want to be and understanding how you plan to get there, which is a vital part of maintaining self-motivation.


c. The Initiative, we can define as the ability to take advantage of opportunities. The initiative can be seen as a combination of courage, which is necessary to overcome the fear of the unknown inherent in new opportunities, and at the same time, it can be good risk management, which ensures that the right opportunities are identified and whose level of uncertainty or risk can be assumed.


d. Optimism (Resilience), is the ability to fix our eyes on the positive side or simply think positively. Resilience is that wonderful capacity that all human beings have for a speedy recovery after going through a negative experience. These two concepts are closely related, although they are not the same. Resilient people use their ability to think to handle negative emotional responses to events.


To provide tools that allow a higher level of empowerment we need to work with the level of self-efficacy of our human capital. "Perceived self-efficacy are beliefs in one's own abilities to achieve certain goals." (Bandura 1997). For Bandura, the achievement of the set objectives is achieved thanks to the self-regulatory processes that the workers put into operation, and that involves, as M. Rodríguez and A. Osca (2004) point out, several components: a. Establishment of objectives or goals, b. Self-observation, c. Self-assessment, and d. Self-reaction.


The reality is that the starting point of self-regulatory processes is found in the establishment of the objectives that the workers propose to achieve and their role in the change process, however, the establishment of these goals is determined by two aspects:


a. The perception of self-efficacy, of each person according to their experiences with similar goals in the past.


b. The assessment, that each worker makes of their ability to obtain success with their effort.

When each member of the organization has established their objectives, they carry out a self-observation of their performance to check if they are close to achieving them.

Afterward, the self-evaluation of the results obtained provides them with information about their performance, by comparing the objectives they had set out to achieve and the real result obtained with their work. If they obtain positive conclusions from this comparison for having achieved the goals set, their perception of self-efficacy increases, positively affecting their self-esteem and job satisfaction.


On the other hand, when the self-evaluation carries negative results for not having reached its objectives, a feeling of dissatisfaction and a negative emotional reaction is produced, reducing the worker's perception of self-efficacy. However, (Bandura 1997) affirms that, with these negative results, the motivation that pushes to try to reduce the discrepancy between the goal and the achieved result comes into play, through the use of alternative strategies, increasing the level of effort or decreasing the requirement of goals.


To achieve greater involvement of our human capital in the evolutionary development process of an organization of a total digital transformation, we must listen to the internal voices of our teams. We need to continue working with strategies that pave the way for concepts such as emotional intelligence, assertiveness, and organizational loyalty. We are certainly moving on the right path. At LATAM we are going a step forward in ​​data management, with several projects in which we are using tools such as Microsoft Power BI to create smart dashboards that allow a much more effective decision-making process.


We are on the way to train our teams in tools like SCRUM, which allow us to offer training processes in a much more playful way. In the same way, we are working to provide tools to our leaders that bring them closer to a higher level of digital transformation every day. Tools such as Management 3.0 will allow them to develop and implement more accurate process management strategies focused on interdepartmental interconnection.


At LATAM we have decided to say NO to ordinary processes and to focus totally on processes and tools that reach us at a higher level of excellence in our performance.

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