Motivation

Motivation in the workplace is something that can be driven internally or through the environment.  The following articles illustrate motivation in different ways. 

In the Wall Street Journal article, “Two Football Coaches Have a Lot to Teach Screaming Managers,” two NFL coaches, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are used as examples of leaders who do not scream at their employees as a way of getting things done.  Although it is commonplace, systemic even, in the NFL for coaches to yell at players who make mistakes, Dungy and Smith go against the grain by motivating their employees through respect.  Yelling might accomplish the same goal, but it motivates out of fear, which can eventually break down an employee’s self esteem making them less productive.  Letting a player/worker know they did something wrong, but in a more constructive way is a better way to help employees grow.  There are still a lot of managers out there today who still believe that yelling and belittling their employees is an effective strategy, however, over time employees will get tired of it and move onto another position rather than being motivated to assist the company in achieving its goals.

In a second Wall Street Journal article, “Get Healthy – Or Else,” Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has decided to implement a health initiative policy for its employees to curb rising health costs.  Being healthy is a personal decision and though it may seem like the company is looking out for the best interest of its employees, the motivating factor behind the CEO, Jim Hagedorn’s, push to instill this initiative is to pay less money for healthcare.  This places the burden on the employees when the real issue of rising healthcare costs lies within the system.  While these health benefits would be great if they were optional for employees, making them a part of policies where people can be fired or punished for not adhering to certain health criteria seems like a slippery slope.  Where does this sort of intrusion end?  It might start with losing weight or quitting smoking, but what would prevent the company from moving into other areas of employees lives that could potentially increase their risk of needing health services (i.e. skydiving, running marathons, promiscuous behavior, etc.)?  In addition, to the question of whether it is right or wrong to implement such a policy, the CEO’s methods for motivation are degrading and unfair.  Hagedorn slaps employees’ guts, teases overweight employees, and makes employees who do not participate/comply have to pay extra premiums.  The company said that it tried carrots, but that method of motivation was apparantly not effective so they decided to take a much more demeaning approach to motivate employees.

The final article, “Jesica’s Story,” comes from U.S. News & World Report.  This article tells about the series of events that led to the tragic death of 17 year old, Jesica Santillan due to a medical mistake that could have been prevented if the proper systemic checks and balances were in place.  The story begins with Jesica and her family illegally crossing the Mexican border, motivated by the thought of Jesica’s heart condition being treated by Duke University’s Medical Center, a leading transplant center.  Dr. James Jaggers is the surgeon who performed both of Jesica’s transplants, and the person where the blame fell when the flaw in the transplant system, not checking for a match between the donor’s blood type and the recipients, finally caused a mistake that could not be covered up.  Although Jaggers took he fall as the lead surgeon, it is hard to ignore the fact that there were five separate entities in three states that could have caught the error, but did not because the systemic checks and balances were not enforced.  It is undeniable that Jaggers let his split second decision, motivated by finding viable organs for Jesica, cloud his judgment, but this situation forced the hospital as well as the national organ transplant network to reevaluate their procedures to prevent something like this from happening again.

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