What Motivates Us?
by Sarah Koca
The question of motivation arose at our Spring Administrators Conference in June as a result of the Fieldstone staff examining their program. Hazel Barrett, Fieldstone’s Administrator, presented an insightful look at how Fieldstone has progressed since opening in 2009. Hazel’s report included both the perspective of staff and the residents. What emerged are questions around motivation. What motivates residents to participate in groups? What motivates residents toward recovery? What motivates staff to provide quality care on a daily basis without feeling burned-out? Basically, what motivates human beings in general? As a group, we brainstormed answers to to the last question, and here are the top five responses we came up with ranked in order:
If relationships are the number one motivator for human beings, what does that mean for you and the residents? If fun and novelty are important, how do you incorporate them into the daily routine of your facility? Do you make a conscious effort everyday to create opportunities for residents to have fun and experience new things?
Take time at your next staff meeting to examine theses questions together. Develop a list of things you already do to foster motivation and examine if they are working or not. Come up with an action plan to improve areas where your program may be weak, and reinforce your strengths. Then take action.
There are people who have dedicated their entire careers to trying to answer this very simple but powerful question. Two of those people are Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, professors at the University of Rochester. Deci and Ryan began working on motivation in the 1970‘s. They developed and refined what they call Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Two terms used in SDT are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. My personal experience in training and development work taught me that people are either motivated by something within themselves (intrinsic) or some type of external reward system (extrinsic). The source of motivation depends on the person and the situation they are in. Unfortunately, that means there is no perfect formula for motivating every person in every situation. In my experience, the best way to determine what motivates someone to participate in a specific event is careful dialogue combined with trial and error. (For more on SDT please visit http://www.psych.rochester.edu/SDT/theory.php)