Thursday, September 3, 2009

Through The Eyes Of The Leader: Motivation

So I wanted to look at motivation and how do we accomplish that when in positions of leadership? First let's take a look at some of the things I have done in the past. At one job, I was in a position where I would be required to monitor incoming phone call interactions. My job was to review the calls, score the associates who were answering the call, provide them with feedback on how better to perform the job, and then motivate them to continue doing a solid job. Now I was fine with the first three steps, but I really had issues with the motivation part of it. I believe that we are motivated to work for the pay check. In this position they wanted me to hand out small novelty items such as a little head that went on the end of a pen that you could squeeze and it's eyes would come oozing out. Honestly, is that going to motivate any adult to do a good job? Another tool that they had me wanting to utilize was to offer candy for a job well done. So treat the employees like a dog and give them a snack when they perform well? I realize that some of the issues I had were personal. I am not easily motivated by the "you did good" type of rewards that many organizations think are wonderful. I finally decided that I would take a different route and get items that were useful to the employees like pencil/pen holders that had motivational words on it. On top of this, I tried to always let them know where they stood and not waste their time with a bunch of BS, but rather just be honest with them. If they did a good job then I would let them know. Likewise, if they did a bad job I would try to explain to them where they could improve. I learned that what the people wanted was someone who was real and not some corporate "Bozo the Clown" running around honking horns and waving banners. Was I successful at the job? I would like to think that I helped some people along the way, but it was one of those things you never know about.

Now let's look at WoW and ask how do we motivate individuals? To be honest I have not yet found a way to do this successfully. I am constantly refining how I interact with people and what I say, but to this date I have not found one way to keep people happy and motivated. It seems like so long ago when the guild decided they wanted to raid, yet so few have actually taken the appropriate steps for that. I think to some the idea of raiding sounded absolutely like the best thing in the world, but then when they realized the work that would be involved they decided perhaps it was not worth it. While we have made solid progress as a guild, we still are not running on all cylinders. Unlike the real world, players are not motivated by pay to put work into helping better a guild so they freely leave and do not worry about the impact it will have on a guild. Oh and if you are wondering, no one has left the guild recently. So the question then is what makes people want to stay in a guild?

The honest and quick answer use to be the loot available to a mid-size casual raiding guild compared to a larger established raiding guild. However, with the advent of ToC (both regular and heroic) this argument does not hold true. So what then is the lure of not staying with a guild? In my opinion it is the basic desire to get the end results the easiest way possible. The motivation that is driving 90% of the population is laziness. I have come to this conclusion after having tried everything else possible to motivate and retain players. I think it is a basic desire of most people to get to the end of whatever it is that they are doing by taking the easiest and shortest route. Sure, folks will have the hard mode achievements to point at and show the "work" they put into something, but how difficult is it to join a raiding guild that will carry you through content? The folks in the raiding guilds will say it is very difficult and try to point that folks who are not in this type of guild are jealous. That is a "smoke and mirror" answer. The truth is that I have seen it countless time within my own guild and in other guilds, where a player who is in no way ready to run upper tier content get accepted into a raiding guild and be carried through the content. A week later you see them standing there in their flashy gear, but when they speak you still see they are clueless about the game.

We can see this all the way back the days of the NES and Super Mario Brothers. We all remember the cheat to make it to the final level and be able to skip all the stuff in between? How about the people who play first person shooters and like to get the "Godmode" cheats? You know the one that let's you kill everyone and not get injured? Look at the modern sportsman and their need for performance enhancing drugs. Why do they take them? It is because they want to get to the top/end/championship the quickest way possible. As humans it is an innate desire to be the best, regardless of what we say. We may not want to be the best raider, but perhaps we desire to be the best PVP player. Perhaps your desire is to own the auction house. Maybe you want to be the best trade channel troll? At the end of the day, the motivation of people is to be the best and unfortunately when combined with the laziness of modern society it creates a constant fluctation of members in guilds.

The trick here is to realize this and then work with what you have. We started out back in the day with around 3 - 4 really solid players who knew what they were doing and had the desire to get there. We now have around 7 - 9 players who are solid and knowledgable. In the end, if you really want to get to the top there are short cuts, but there is also the long way there. I take great pride in where we have come from and where we are at. We have never tried to recruit from another guild, nor have we spammed a trade channel begging for recruits. We have grown because, as a group, we have worked and hung in there. We are not the number one guild on the server, but any one of our core raiding group could easily join a top raiding guild on the server and that is the satisfaction and pride I take in what we have accomplished.

I encourage you other guild leaders and officers out there who may have doubts or not understand exactly what you are doing to step back and realize that you are not doing anything wrong. If you want to be successful then you just simply need to take it one day at a time and understand that people will come and go but your job is to find the diamonds in the rough and hang in there with them. Some of those may even leave, but you will build a core group and if you hang in there long enough, you will see the rewards of your work.


Matt said...

you know, this desire to be "carried" rings particuarly true to me lately. The campus paper published an editorial (authored by their entire editorial board) in which they suggested English classes eliminate books that are hard to read due to the obscure language of the time period. Their suggestion was that we focus on more contemporary works and use them to "draw out literary themes."

The "great books" discussion aside, I've always felt that the point of reading the "classics" is NOT the plot (how many business majors really need to recite the plot of Hamlet?) but instead to force them to confront difficult language, and thus engage their critical thinking skills. Essentially these students are QQing about reading hard books and wanting to have their education handed to them (instead of work for it) the same way so many WoW players want to be carried through endgame content.

Ruhtra said...

That is interesting that a university would have people who do not want to have the students challenged. It does not surprise me though. In the recent economic issues that we have seen a lot of folks will come in and ask why that their "self" directed accounts were not better managed.

It is hard to have an intelligent conversation with a person who does not even understand what the combination of self and directed would imply.

Sadly these are not your run of the mill type of people though so it does not surprise me to see this attitude becoming more prevalent in society, which naturally bleeds over into WoW.

Anonymous said...

I find your insight interesting but perhaps off basis. I will give you that people do want to get to the end result the quickest way possible and with the most reward, but that does not equate to laziness, but rather the old saying of work smarter, not harder.

I have been with several different guilds. I have progressed to a point where the guild was unable to and as such, left the guild to a guild that was at my current level of play. Sure I felt bad about leaving the guild, but at the same time I am in it for my enjoyment and hitting the same boring raid week after week was doing nothing for me. If anything it was making me not want to play.

So maybe you should try looking at it from the other side of the fence. In regards to the comment by Matt, I can see where you would want a class to think about what they are reading, but honestly, is there not some modern books that they could read that would accomplish your goal? Or would that make you actually have to maybe read some new material? Do not get mad at me, but I am just posing some opposite viewpoints.

Matt said...

to anonymous:

I've apparently left the WoW behind a wee bit and I don't want to divert this topic too much from the original intent. That being said, I'm basically trying to participate in a discussion, not a flame war, so don't take this to be flaming.

But to respond to what you said: I actually teach a course that is centered around the theme of zombies. We read two novels in this course (both published around 2006-2007) and neither one of them is a "difficult" read. They are contemporary books in a modern American vernacular. And still I'd estimate that at least 40-50% of my classes usually don't read them either. And these are students who willingly singed up for the course.