Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

by Richard Martin


Leaders and managers must learn how to harness their teams for effective and efficient performance. In fact, we can only accomplish great things by mobilizing people, teams and organizations to create value and change. I’ve identified seven key principles of mobilization for teams and organizations. I call it the M7M model:


  • Morale is the willingness to persevere and fight until the goal is achieved. It’s not to be confused with the mood in your organization, although that is an important indicator.
  • It depends intimately on the intrinsic motivation of the entire team. Why are you doing what you’ve undertaken? Why is it important to you, to others? Do you believe in your goal and value its realization?
  • How is your morale, and the morale of your team or organization?


  • Do you have one?
  • Is it clear, concise and well-articulated?
  • Does it communicate your purpose, your raison d’être?
  • Does everyone on the team know it? Can they communicate it verbatim, or at least paraphrase it?
  • Do they believe in it? Are they inspired by it?


  • Do you focus on the needs and wants of your clientele or constituency, or on your own?
  • Are these needs, wants and goals well defined, understood, and part of the DNA of your company, division, or association?
  • Do your people know about them and act on them consistently and coherently?


  • Have you marked your organization’s targets clearly and concisely?
  • Have they been communicated throughout the membership?
  • Are they concrete or vague and imprecise?
  • Do you have control mechanisms in place and do you apply them?
  • Have they been articulated and adapted at all levels of the organization and to short, medium and long time horizons?


  • Do you have a realistic appraisal and understanding of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, its centre of gravity, and its major vulnerabilities?
  • Do you consistently work to eliminate or mitigate non-productive or counter-productive activities, processes, and attitudes?
  • Do you focus your efforts relentlessly on your centre of gravity and your major goals and priorities?


  • Do you mobilize and mass your forces at the right time and right place to maximize their impact?
  • Are your plans fully developed and communicated with clarity and precision?
  • Have you identified who is responsible, for what, with what resources and authorizations?
  • Are your people and leaders accountable for results, behaviour, and morale?
  • Do your people and teams have the competencies to achieve their missions and goals? If not, have you built their acquisition and development into your plans and scheme of manoeuvre?


  • What messages are you conveying internally and externally?
  • Do they support your goals and mission and manoeuvres or are they in opposition to these?

New Testimonial

“Richard has been instrumental in getting me to draw on my hard-won experience and ideas to turn them into marketable intellectual property and products. His disciplined, systematic approach has already led to several significant accomplishments for me. Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, or working to get to the next level, Richard can boost your productivity and organizational effectiveness. Be forewarned, though. There is no magic formula, just systematic thinking, disciplined execution, and… Richard Martin.”

Caroline Salette, Owner and President, RE/MAX Royal Jordan Inc. and Salette Group Inc. 

Richard Martin’s Business Readiness Process:

  1. Ensure vigilance through situational awareness.
  2. Do preliminary assessment of tasks and time.
  3. Activate organization or team.
  4. Conduct reconnaissance.
  5. Do detailed situational estimate.
  6. Conduct wargame and decide on optimal course(s) of action.
  7. Perform risk management and contingency planning.
  8. Communicate plan and issue direction.
  9. Build organizational robustness.
  10. Ensure operational continuity.
  11. Lead and control execution.
  12. Assess performance.

Contact me to apply the whole thing–or just a piece, as needed–to improve your strategy, your readiness… and your results!

Did you know that an infantry battalion only needs about 3 to 4 hours of prep and planning time to be battle ready? What are you waiting for to get the same benefits for your outfit?

Why Sunday and What Does “Stand To” Mean?

Sunday? I want you to get my insights and advice first and fast, so you can prepare and up your readiness and results before others even know what’s happening!

And Stand To? It’s the order used in the military to get forces to man the parapets and be in a heightened state of situational awareness and, yes, readiness, so they can face any threat or undertake any mission.

My name is Richard Martin and I’m an expert on applying readiness principles to position companies and leaders to grow and thrive by shaping and exploiting change and opportunity, instead of just passively succumbing to uncertainty and risk.

© 2017 Alcera Consulting Inc. This article may be used for non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Leadership is the art of influencing others in the accomplishment of a task or mission.

Many people automatically default to using rewards and punishments and various other forms of transactional leadership to influence followers and subordinates. The problem with this though is that people habituate quickly to rewards and punishments (assuming the latter aren’t extremely abusive). It’s like jumping into a swimming pool. There can be an initial shock of cold or pleasurable cooling sensation, but you get used to it fairly quickly. Once people are habituated to transactional leadership tactics, they tend to fade into the background and lose their effectiveness.

Another problem with transactional approaches to leadership is that they can initiate an unintended train of cause and effect. If you promise bonuses to your sales people so they focus on clearing out inventory of a particular product, you shouldn’t be surprised if they focus almost exclusively on that to the detriment of other products and services.

Leading from the inside out involves finding what motivates people internally, and working to either modify or leverage those intrinsic motivations. Here are some key approaches for “leading from the inside out.”

  • Lead by example.
  • Say what you do, and do what you say.
  • Give people the end state, overarching vision, and goals, and let them find the best way to achieve these (assuming legality and reasonable standardization of processes and procedures). In other words, specify what to achieve, not how to achieve it.
  • Involve people in setting goals and the overall vision, if relevant.
  • Let people define their own contributions and mission statement.
  • Provide resources and inputs subject to the requests and needs of subordinates.
  • Give them as much situational information as feasible within the constraints of business secrecy and personal confidentiality.
  • Find what makes each of your direct subordinates or followers tick, what their strengths personal goals are, what their personal preferences are, then try to assign them tasks and responsibilities that will leverage these and stretch their capabilities.
  • Give people general functional responsibilities and let them figure out the details.
  • Ask for their advice on important matters, not just trivial ones (sales planning vs the color scheme in the break room).

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Richard gave a speech on 31 October 2012 at Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) on How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles. The speech was based on Richard’s book, Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles. In the speech, Richard gives his most detailed explanation yet of the timeless military principle of “following the path of least resistance” and how that applies in competitive strategy, motivation and influence, and organizational leadership.

View the video of the entire speech here.

As we say in French, plus çà change, plus c’est la même chose. We also say la nature revient vite au galop. Loosely translated, that means that nature always comes galoping back. Another way of saying a leopard can’t change it’s spots.

All these aphorisms convey the folk wisdom that people are basically the way they are, and that not much can change them. I know, that sounds so final, but I’ve been doing a ton of reading on the topic of personality, intelligence, performance and other life outcomes. Basically, what the research shows is that our personalities and talents are about 50% heritable on average. In other words, about half of who we are is directly attributable to our genetic makeup. The other half represents environmental influences, but even then, it appears that these can be strongly mediated by inherited traits and dispositions.

It seems we just can’t deny the fact that the old nature vs nurture debate is coming out strongly in favour of nature. Consider the following:

  • By the time of adulthood, about 80 % of the average person’s IQ is attributable to genetics. In other words, you inherit most of your cognitive abilities.
  • Families affect personality and cognition while a person is growing up in that family, but once they are out of the nest, individuals tend pretty much to revert to their natural disposition. They make choices and behave in a manner that corresponds to their personality, character, and intelligence.
  • Training has a limited impact on native intellectual capacity. Individuals can learn task-specific skills, but they don’t get translated to other domains unless they have sufficient intelligence to allow this to occur.
  • The overarching general factor of intelligence, known as g and measured in scholastic achievement tests and various IQ metrics, is the most consistent and predictive dispositional trait of all.
  • General intelligence is not domain-specific. It can be applied to good effect across all domains, though with varying degrees of success and performance. I also estimate that it interacts with more domain-specific skills to create occasionally outstanding results. For instance, an individual with high cognitive capacity who also happens to have outstanding athletic talents and a temperament and energy-level suited to the sacrifices and singleness of purpose required to excel in a sporting activity may actually reach very high levels of competency in that sport, maybe even world-class level.
  • The greatest predictor of job performance is this same general factor of intelligence. The greatest correlation between IQ scores and job performance is for high-intellectual content work, such as senior executives, lawyers, doctors, etc., especially occupations requiring independence, decision-making, leadership, communication, and the ability to assimilitate large quantities of information and to learn quickly and consistently.
  • The second most important predictor of job performance is the personality trait known as conscientiousness. When you think of that, it makes perfect sense. For people to be effective in complex work, they need above average intelligence and must be conscientious enough to take their responsibilities and to fit into the organizational environment.

There has been a lot of information in recent years about the so called 10,000 hour rule. This states that it takes about 10,000 hours of hard practice (or 10 years) to achieve outstanding mastery of a domain. Books by Gladwell (Outliers) and Colvin (Talent Is Overrated) have been extremely popular, perhaps because they convey the idea that truly exceptional achievement is largely a question of perfecting one’s skills. It touches our egalitarian hearts to think that just about anyone can achieve just about anything if they set their minds to it. Unfortunately, I think that belief is almost completely erroneous.

In fact, I think we all can achieve something within the constraints of our talent set. However, to think someone with a, say, strong intellectual bent like me could have been an exceptional athlete or musician without the dispositions and talents to do so simply strains credibility. Given my particular talents, it is realistic that I can attain high performance and professional achievement in other areas more suited to that. As luck would have it, my temperament and personality are largely congruent with my taltents. What’s more, I think our motivations provide a strong indicator of where our true talents lie. So I have intellectual talents, but I’ve also been blessed with the disposition and motivation to develop these talents.

If I had had strong athletic abilities as a youth, other than being below average in that regard (even though I was quite fit), I probably would have been drawn to participate more in sports and to work towards excelling. Instead, I had intellectual talents and a strong sense of curiosity, which motivated me to focus on intellectual pursuits.

Those that have unusual talents and extremely high levels of persistence and motivation are usually the ones that end up as outstanding achievers in their chosen domain. The bottom line is that it’s important to know what your talents are and to strive to exploit them.

© 2011 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted for non-commercial purposes with full and proper attribution.