How To Manage A Motivation Machine
by Saul W. Gellerman, Ph.D.
you’ve never had to deal with motivation issues in
the workplace, count yourself lucky. Most managers have
had to perform the difficult task of balancing different
aspects of motivation: psychological and sociological
factors, compensation, rewards, recognition and
punishment. Gellerman’s book provides a very easy
to understand approach for creating a motivation
Motivation machine? What’s that?
It’s a set of management techniques that create a
relationship between workers and their work, and between
the workers themselves, that bring out the best in all of
them. It requires a large devotion of management’s
time. It’s not for you if you try to get by on a
combination of mediocre effort and minimal
How do I build a motivation machine?
1. Hire the best people: Hire people that are
adaptable, have something to prove, are responsive to
others, and are both focused and persistent.
2. Pay them well: Pay is used to attract and hold
employees, empower non-financial motivators, and inject
excitement through incentive programs.
3. Treat them right: Ban motivational killers such
as unprofessional supervision, ignorance of
people’s lifestyle needs, and depressing work
environments. Provide abundant non-financial motivators
such as learning, good leadership, and esprit de
4. Hold them to high standards of performance:
Don’t exploit people or drive them to exhaustion.
Standardize results, not methods. Continuously improve on
Favorite quote: “Fast walkers can walk
farther than fast runners can run.” This relates to
encouraging members of a motivation machine to maintain
his or her own maximum sustainable level of productivity,
without overdoing it.
Quote that’s difficult to swallow:
“For those who are lucky enough to be employed in a
company that has become a motivation machine, they work
in a dream come true. They find themselves in the ideal
work environment where their job transcends economic
necessity and becomes, instead, a fulfillment; a phase of
their lives they’ll always look back upon with
One point that’s annoying: Gellerman
states that motivation machines are found mainly in small
organizations. However, he then cites examples of
behemoth companies where motivation machines have worked
well: Southwest Airlines, 3M, Gillette, and
The book’s strong points: This book is
easy to read and understand. Most people will finish it
in less than 90 minutes. Only 15 minutes are needed to
read the “Key Points to Remember” at the end
of each chapter.
“How to Manage a Motivation Machine”, Saul
W. Gellerman, Ph.D.
(c) 2000 Crisp Publications, Inc.; Menlo Park, CAISBN
75 pages; $12.95
Reviewed by Ken Cogan, Quality Assurance Manager,
***** = Pick it up today
**** = Overnight
*** = Snail mail
** = At a
* = Never mind
September 2000 NFC