Does Motivation Matter?

As an entrepreneur and business owner, one has to keep a certain level of motivation in order to keep the business moving forward. Even during the worst of times – say a recession – and the best of times, an underlying, sincere motivation must exist for long lasting success. You must also learn how to keep others motivated, even when it’s the last feeling you have personally.

Motivation has been on my mind a lot lately for both personal and professional reasons. Why do people stay or leave a company, why do some return after they’ve left, what are the motivating factors for work other than for a paycheck? What is it that drives relationship success? What is the motivation for someone to change when something isn’t going well? There are a myriad of answers that could fit – but only you know the truth behind your own motivation.

Tying into this topic, yesterday, Michael Arrington of Techcrunch disclosed that he has invested in some of the startups that he (or his staff) writes about on his world-famous blog. Arrington’s claim is that he has always provided full disclosure, but that he wanted to reiterate his stance because “the policy has changed,” he has begun actively investing again and that in the past, the accusations of conflicts of interest by TechCrunch competitors became distracting. Seems sensible – he’s being up front and disclosing his interests. Others have questioned his motivation – citing potential damage to the blog and its staff, and claiming a “clear financial gain in this policy” – but admit that “Arrington won’t find much public criticism in the Silicon Valley community because he has a thin skin and he keeps a list.”

So what is the true motivation behind Michael Arrington’s disclosure? Does it matter? How much does someone’s motivation matter to you if the outcome is right? Does a company’s motivation (getting you to spend money) to treat you well make you wary, even if your experience is positive and you willingly spend? Does an employee’s motivation to work harder, better, stronger – right around review time – matter, or are you just happy they are delivering results? Does the motivation behind a friend’s change in behavior matter to you if they are now treating you better than ever (say you caught and confronted their bad behavior and that’s why they’ve changed)?

Do you analyze motivation enough – of your employees, your partners, your customers? Understanding motivation – as much as we can – can help us to be better business owners, friends, leaders and partners. How much does motivation matter to you?