Stop motivating and start inspiring your veterinary staff

Don't let fear of failure or change stand in the way of your practice's success. Get everyone on board by building a stronger sense of purpose.
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Jan 01, 2013

As Dr. Allan called the monthly staff meeting to order, he tried to smile, but the recent report from his accountant weighed heavily on his shoulders. For the third month in a row, his practice figures had been significantly lower than last year's. Somehow he had to figure out a way to motivate his staff to work longer and harder—after all, that was the key to success, right?

For too long, business owners have depended on the carrot-and-stick approach of motivating employees to work more productively and profitably. But over time such motivation seems to take an even larger carrot on an even shorter stick. It's time for us to stop motivating and start inspiring.

Motivation vs. inspiration

According to Lance Secretan, PhD, a former CEO of a Fortune 100 company and an award-winning columnist and author, "Motivation, which is based on fear, comes from the personality. Inspiration, which is based on love, comes from the soul." Another way to think of this is that motivation is external—something that is often done to you from an outside source, while true inspiration is internal. Inspiration is a way of being that can be encouraged by another person who is also inspired.

There's plenty of evidence showing the lack of inspiration in the workplace these days. A study of more than 1.5 million employees by Gallup found that only 28 percent of employees are engaged in their work (meaning they are inspired and emotionally attached to the organization), while 55 percent are disengaged and another 17 percent are actively disengaged. This means that 72 percent—almost three out of every four employees—are either emotionally disconnected from their work, or worse, actively undermining the organization for which they work.