Sunday, November 27, 2011

If Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work, What Does?

(Special thanks to shipmate Nancy Harrity for this guest review of two books that explore what science reveals about human nature and how those lessons can be applied by Navy leaders to motivate their teams.) 
By Nancy Harrity
With budgets decreasing and demands on our teams increasing, the best leaders are looking at what they can do differently to motivate their teams and improve morale. 
Author Daniel H. Pink looks into if what we know about motivation is true in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  He finds there is a gap between what science knows about what works and how leaders actually motivate people. 
Most Navy leaders have been taught some variation of reward what you want more of and punish what you want less of – an extrinsic, or outside of oneself, model.  According to Pink, this approach is all wrong because it doesn’t account for how we organize what we do, how we think about what we do nor how we actually do what we do.  Pink explains that carrots and sticks don’t work because they extinguish intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity, crowd out good behavior, encourage cheating, shortcuts and unethical behavior, become addictive and foster short-term thinking – all things that helped to create many of the issues we face today.  So what has science learned that can help us effectively motivate our teams?
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy  Rick D. West, left, congratulates Basic
Underwater Demolition/SEAL Class 290 upon their completion of Hell Week, Aug. 5, 2001.
Pink discusses how scientific studies have uncovered that motivation must come from within and has three essential elements – autonomy, mastery and purpose.  Autonomy means focusing on results and allowing your team members to work on their own terms as much as possible.  To foster mastery of the work at hand, leaders need to match what their teams must do with what their team members can do and like to do as much as possible, as well as allowing the activities to be their own reward.  To foster purpose, leaders must allow their team members to find a way to do what is meaningful to each of them.  Leaders also need to answer the question of why the work is being done and how it fits into the bigger picture.
Lastly, Pink notes that constant rewards can transform interesting tasks into drudgery and play into work.  He advises his readers to shift from “if you do this, then you’ll get that” type of rewards in favor of the occasional “now that you’ve accomplished this,” type rewards.  He also advises considering the use of non-tangible rewards such as praise and feedback.
In The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White provide leaders with some concrete suggestions on how to use non-tangible rewards in the workplace. Many Sailors may recognize the five languages from Chapman’s The 5 Languages of Love from Fleet and Family Service Center homecoming briefs. 
The concept is a simple evolution of the basic communication model.  As with the five love languages, everyone has a way or language that he likes to receive appreciation in.  Message of appreciation (and of love, and in general for that matter) are best received when they are sent in the language valued most by the recipient, not the language most valued by the sender.  Chapman and White point out that many supervisors miss the mark when they try to show appreciation to their team members because they express their appreciation in the language they, as the senders respond best to, not the language the intended recipient responds best to.
The five languages are:
  • Words of Affirmation – using words to convey a positive message to the person you wish to show appreciation to, the classic “atta boy.”  When using words of affirmation, take care to keep in mind that the recipient may prefer private, one-on-one recognition over a public awards ceremony, or a written note over the spoken word.  Words of affirmation are most effective when they are specific and speak to the individual’s character or his personality.
  • Quality Time – giving the person you wish to appreciate your undivided attention for a period of time.  Quality time can take many forms from working closely together on a project, to small group dialogue, to quality conversation or even shared experiences.
  • Acts of Service – helping the person you wish to show appreciation to do what he does the way he does it.  When offering acts of service, volunteer, ask before you help, do whatever it is the way the recipient would, finish what you start and most importantly, check your attitude.
  • Tangible Gifts – giving a gift the person you wish to show appreciation to.  When giving tangible gifts, give the recipient a gift that he values – it could be time off, a small token or an experience.  
  • Physical Touch – giving the person you wish to show appreciation an appropriate, affirming, non-sexual touch.  Tread carefully when using physical touch as not everyone wants to be touched.
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
Commander Capt. Jeff James and Joint Base Command Master Chief CMDCM(SS/AW)
 Gregg Weber serve military families at JBPHH on Thanksgiving, Nov 24, 2011.
As you prepare for the New Year, take some time, look into yourself and consider how you might use these approaches to make 2012 your team’s best year yet.

(Coming soon, a look at what Sailors were reading on Dec. 7, 1941.) 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tribute to Veterans

by Bill Doughty
CNO Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert delivers Veterans Day remarks. 
(U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Jacob Sippel)
Veterans are being honored today from coast to coast and around the world.  Today, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert delivered remarks at Madison Square Park during the New York City Veterans Day parade opening ceremony.  This year the Navy is the parade’s featured service.
In San Diego, the Navy hosted a history-making sports event aboard a historic aircraft carrier.  More about that in a moment.
Last year Navy Reads reflected on Veterans Day and Sailors who transited both the Atlantic and Pacific.  The context was Tom Ashbrook’s On Point radio interview with Commander, U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Willard and Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic. We also discussed a special radio interview with veterans, including a conversation with former Command Master Chief Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor Survivor Liaison for Commander, Navy Region Hawaii.
Since then we’ve featured other posts of interest to veterans.
In “Faith, Fear and Tom Hanks” I reprinted some of Hanks’s remarks at a commencement address at Yale, including his challenge to the college graduates about veterans, especially wounded warriors, returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other deployments.  His words are worth reposting today:
"Whatever your opinion of the wars, you can imprint the very next pages of the history of our troubled world by reinforcing faith in those returning veterans," Hanks told the seniors. "Allowing them rest, aiding in their recovery ... empathizing with the new journey they are starting even though we will never fully understand the journey they just completed, even though we will never understand what they endured. We will all define the true nature of our American identity not by the parades and the welcome-home parties, but how we match their service with service of our own."
Over the past year I reviewed Army veteran Wes Moore’s remarkable book, The Other Wes Moore.  Moore talked about the key that unlocked his passion for education, his mother’s encouragement to read Mitch Albom’s Fab Five, a book about the Michigan University college basketball team.  Moore writes: 
I was riveted by that book.  The characters jumped off the page, and I felt myself as engulfed in their destiny as I was in my own.  I finished Fab Five in two days.  The book itself wasn’t what was important -- in retrospect, I see that it was a great read but hardly a work of great literature -- but my mother used it as a hook into a deeper lesson: that the written word isn’t necessarily a chore but can be a window into new worlds.
Navy veteran Nancy Harrity guest-reviewed two windows into new worlds of strategic thinking, Seven Deadly Scenarios and Power RulesAlways insightful and thought-provoking, Nancy has a new review on the way. Stay tuned.  
In a review of Ganbare! I discussed the juxtaposition of achievements of the veterans and heroes like the 442nd Regimental Combat Team with what happened to some of their families -- the WWII interment of Americans of Japanese ancestry.
Guest reviewer Theresa Donnelly reviewed Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door, a book that can help new veterans who face challenges after leaving the service.  Theresa wrote, “This is why it is important to have a robust plan in place for your post-military transition.”
Since last November we wrote other posts with with a focus on veterans: a review of USS Arizona’s Last Band, Culturnomics (Honor/Courage/Commitment) and Revolt of the Admirals in the Centennial of Naval Aviation, with some interesting history and perspective on Congressman Carl Vinson and his vision of a two-ocean Navy.  Revolt ties in nicely, by the way, with the latest post on Courageous Followership and an interview with author Ira Chaleff.
The Navy Reads blogpost on the late Navy veteran “Amazing Grace” Hopper and her 2011 milestones was reposted on a number of other blogs, including GHC Bloggers in conjunction with the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing going on now (Nov. 9-12) in Portland, Oregon.
Rear Adm. Grace Hopper’s namesake, USS Hopper (DDG 70), recently transited the waters of the Battle of Leyte Gulf and observed a moment of silence exactly 67 years to the day of that historic battle. You can read about the veterans of WWII who fought in “the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour” in Leyte and off Samar, Philippines in James D. Hornfischer’s Tin Can Sailors.
This Veterans Day, 2011, in addition to tributes and commemoration ceremonies around the world, the Navy is hosting a season-opening college basketball game aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in San Diego.  The Commander in Chief and First Lady attended the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic featuring the University of North Carolina and Michigan State University.  That’s a pretty cool, all-American thing to do for and with our veterans.  The game is going on now as I post this.  
The University of North Carolina team practices aboard USS Carl Vinson. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 James R. Evans)
Check out how USS Carl Vinson was transformed, and see ESPN’s “a look at life on USS Carl Vinson.”  ESPN also featured a Veterans Day profile of J. P. Bolwahnn, a 34-year-old former Navy SEAL, who plays football at the University of San Diego as a walk-on.