Introduction to Motivation:
It means the willingness on part of an individual to productively and efficiently performing at higher levels than required of him under normal circumstances for achieving the organizational goals. In his efforts the individual not only helps the organization but also satisfies his needs for recognition, power, expectations, association and satisfaction.
The goals if they are realistic and logical will motivate people to exert their best performance to achieve them. The effort element is a measure of intensity quality and direction. Effort, which is directed towards, and is consistent with the organizational goals, will bring best results.
Both these factors, efforts and goals, are pulled by some “need” element, which in simple words means deficiency. They are created whenever there is some degree of psychological imbalance. It means some internal state of mind, which creates disturbance and imbalance in the mental state of equilibrium of the individuals.
Its fulfillment leads to satisfaction and un-fulfillment leads to tension that stimulate drives with in the individual. These drives are direction oriented and generate a search behavior to find particular goals that if attained will satisfy the need and leads to reduction of tension. The needs and drives are associated with incentives, which alleviate needs and reduce drives.
Thus the goals that are set must be consistent with the need factor and tend to stretch the individual to its mental and physical limits of what he can achieve.
A motivated worker is always in a state of tension and he always looks for means and exerts himself to get rid of this tension. The greater the tension, the higher the effort level. If this effort successfully leads the satisfaction of the need, the tension is reduced.
This tension reduction effort must be consistent with the organizational goals. Motivation is the willingness to make every effort to achieve organizational goals. The three major components are the Efforts, Goals, and the Individual needs.
The motivational process starts with the needs, which sets motives in motion to accomplish certain incentives. The primary motives are the not learned and physiological like hunger thirst and sleep, but the secondary motives are learned ones and most relevant to the study of organizational behavior, like power, achievement, affiliation, security and status.
The process of motivation begins with an unsatisfied need that creates an increase in tension. This tension causes one to behave in a manner such that the needs can be satisfied and the tension can be reduced. An unsatisfied need is a state of deprivation, because these needs are something you desire, they cause tension.
Tension can be viewed in two forms, the functional tension and dysfunctional tension. Functional tension is the positive attribute and causes an individual to act towards set goal attainment. Dysfunctional tension is negative attribute and may lead to problems in performance or attitudes and in its worst situation can lead to apathy.
Many theories have been proposed in the past on motivational subjects like the Need theory, Goal- Effort theory, Goal-Setting theory, Reinforcement theory, Equity theory and the Expectancy theory. In the first category of need based theories, the most important are the, Maslows hierarchy, Motivational hygiene, ERG and McClelland’s theory.
The prominent amongst these is the McClelland’s, which considers the relationship between achievement and productivity. When individuals strive to achieve some goal by putting in their efforts, opportunities are bound to pop up from areas unknown to the individual.
These opportunities can aid or hinder the efforts, which flow out of the person’s goals. The behaviour so exhibited tends to be goal directed and thus the theory gets its name as the Goal-Effort theory.
The goal setting theory states that clear and difficult goal setting leads to higher levels of employee’s productivity but it fails to address the key elements of satisfaction, turnover and absenteeism. The reinforcement theory revolves around quality and quantity of work, efforts, absenteeism, tardiness and accidents.
However it does not cover that extensively the factors like satisfaction and turnover. The expectancy theory emphasizes the rolling relationship between effort, performance, rewards and goals. A person will exert a high level of efforts if he or she perceives a stronger relationship between effort, performance, reward, and satisfaction of personal goals.
There is a rolling type of relationship between these attributes. This theory assumes that there is a perfect performance appraisal system being fair and objective in the organization. The performance in this case is not linked with seniority, personal favours, or other criteria etc. Here a word of caution is required for certain employees who are labeled as highly efficient productive and achievers.
They are simply not motivated by the organization’s assessment of their performance or the resulting organizational rewards, instead they are driven as long as their efforts bring them with more responsibilities, proper feedback, and moderate risks.
Such employees are an asset of the organization and it is upto the organization to keep tag on them and feed them with enough of challenges to keep them actively engaged in productive work. The reinforcement theory recognizes that the organization’s rewards reinforces the individual’s performance.
If the reward system is seen by employees as paying off for good performance, it will encourage continued good performance. The drawback with this theory is the level of rewards and expectancy level of the employees. The conflicts start when management expects higher input for specific rewards, which employees perceive as imbalanced.
The equity theory deals with the four comparative dependent variables of employee’s and others outputs and inputs factors. The expectancy theory is based on various performance-oriented variables. It covers productivity, absenteeism and turnover but it makes numerous assumptions, which go against its wider application.
The purpose of the motivational studies is to groom the managers for better performance and to guide the employees towards better productivity efficiency and reproduction levels of quality.
How to Get Best Out of the Work Force:
This is one question that is often asked is how to get the best out of the Work force. The management considers in terms of profitability. The workers consider in terms of facilities and gains, but seldom it is realized that to get maximum from any unit of work whether it is an individual or a piece of equipment, it has to be properly tuned to the overall requirements and the goals of the organization.
This tuning part as far as the human element of the work unit is concerned is the overall cause and effect phenomena of the motivation. The motivational part plays a decisive role in the overall performance and can be the deciding factor as to whether the performance would be good and how much good as compared to the organizational needs. This is a long-term problem and has to be tackled from the grass root level.
The concept of motivation has different connotations for different industries. The situation of trading or the service industry is totally different from that of the manufacturing industries. The trading firms dwell upon the opportunities of demand and supply cycles.
They basically depend on the specific type of manpower which is their basic asset and means .The foremost thing is to cultivate attitudes and strengthen the aptitudes conductive for such activities and of creating conductive environments suitable for expected outputs on a continued basis.
The Conductive Environment:
A business has three pillars on which it stands—the people (or the employees), the organization and the industry. The development of these three is an interaction between the three. The business will bloom if the interaction is proper and it will fade away if it is improper or if any of the three pillars is weak or missing.
Consider the following illustration to understand the basic point of view of this interrelationship:
In situation 1 industry and the organization are interacting with each other but the employees are not. This situation arises when the work force is not supporting the organizational requirements or the set goals are either beyond the capabilities of the work force or they are opposing them for one or the other reasons, so the net result is zero or not what was intended to be.
In situation 2 the industry and the work force are interacting but the organization is not in a position to come to terms with them, a case of mis-match, the organization is operating at a place where it should not have been working, or what the organization intend to deliver is just not what is required by the industry and/or the work force, the net out come in this case again would be zero or not what was intended to be.
Similarly in situation 3 the organization and the work force are interacting but the industry is not. Such a situation would arise, when what the organization can deliver has no market or the consumers as such or the products.
This is again a situation of miss match or the right service at wrong place, or the right product in the wrong market. The net result of which would again be zero or not what was intended to be.
The situation 4 is the ideal situation in which all the three elements are interacting with each other. The darker area generated by the interaction of the three elements represent the degree of interaction, greater the area greater would be the interaction, and, greater interaction would mean better results.
This is the ideal situation for all the three to gain strength from each other for mutual benefit. A trader thrives under such situations for they present not only the opportunities but also the scope to capitalize on such opportunities and it is here that a motivated employee can maximize on his potentials.
Motivation and Global Trading:
The motivation in trading cannot be studied in its face value; it has to be studied in its full perspective. Its beginning is in the roots of the trader, it grows with him like a friendly parasite, the trader draws moving energy from it and the more he grows the more it grows with him, both complement each other and both are compatible to each other.
In order to bring about such a situation the first step is taken at the inception itself.
A trader cannot be motivated unless his induction into the trading environments is proper, once inducted his guidance is proper and directional, his inputs are proper and outputs are controlled, his actions are analyzed and subjected to preview and review, he is patted for positive actions and cautioned for wrong actions, he is made to learn from each of his actions good or bad, the good ones need to be directed towards the better level and better ones towards perfection the bad ones subjected to closer screening to find out what went wrong and why and what could have been done to avoid them and making sure that such actions do not recur and if they recur then be sure something is basically wrong either in the attitudes or in the aptitudes and/or in the application part of the actions of the trader.
Whatever be the reasons for the bad actions they have to be corrected at the beginning stage itself because in trading the majority of the actions are an exercise in risk management of buying and selling.
In the initial phase of the grooming up of a trader the risk factors to which one is exposed are at lower levels and the results effect on the overall business can be controlled but if such bad actions occur at later stage then such actions can be very costly to the trader and to the organization.
So it is not the good actions that one has to concentrate but the bad ones have to be monitored closely and their occurrence eliminated. A trader has no room for mistakes, he has to be an identity of perfection of actions and that is the most difficult task when one tries to groom a budding individual in trading, system.
In trading organizations the employees are its net assets, therefore it is very important that this human asset is conditioned for result orientation for getting better results. The first step in this direction is right at the induction stage of a person in to the trading system.
Induction into the System:
This is the most difficult and the most crucial stage. A trader is a specialist in international trade just like as an engineer or a doctor or anybody else in a specified and specialized field, as such the induction of an individual into the domains of the trading has to be a regulated task.
This task is slightly different from the other said specialized fields because in this career a person is exposed to the global culture of different nations and the working area of operations is not defined and bounded. Under such limiting factors the induction of a person for this career has to be a very systematic exercise. As such there is no way but to have the right person for the right job and at the right time.
For every person inducted in the organization has to prove himself that he is an asset to the organization and not a liability. That he is a productive unit and not a parasite. That he is a team man and not a solo player.
That he is a contributor and not a drain. That he takes risks and not gambles. That he is a good communicator and the best listener. Yes such are the people that any organization would love to have in their folds and retain them, train them and make them productive in the shortest possible time.
Right attitude and aptitude of people is very critical for the survival of the organization. The right attitude and aptitude play an important role not only for the individual’s progress in the organization but also for the organization as well. Such people are easy to train and they mature and assume responsibility at a faster rate.
Who are than those people and what are the special qualities which make a person a good international player?
It is indeed a difficult task to summarize all such characteristics for an overall action plan but in general we can say that the expected person must have following qualities or at least majority of them:
1. Analytical abilities,
2. Arithmetical abilities,
3. Hard working,
4. Values time,
9. Ability to understand more than what is written and/or spoken,
10. Ability for quick decision making powers without being impulsive,
13. Ability to keep track of the events,
15. Powerful communicator,
16. Clarity of thoughts,
17. Ability to understand human nature,
20. Above average IQ,
21. Awareness of the world affairs,
22. High sense of duty and responsibility,
23. Interest in foreign culture and language,
24. Ability to understand implied meaning and reading between the lines,
25. Depth of knowledge,
26. Team spirit, and
27. Sense of loyalty.
Above are few of the pre-requirements expected from the new entrant so that once they are inducted in the organization they prove to be the right kind of raw material to be groomed later on by the in- house training and skill development programmes.
If the induction process has been meticulously planned and executed, the new entrant will gradually prove to be an asset otherwise constant reminder of the bad work been made.
These factors would screen the best suited manpower from the available manpower and will provide the trading organization a solid productive dedicated motivated and capable manpower base which can be groomed for the needs of the organization.
The Input Stage:
Once properly inducted the next step is to provide exposure to suitable inputs to let the budding trader to shape and sharpen their fields of operations. These inputs are a constant source of continued inspiration and help the person to develop in the right direction with correct frame of mind.
It is difficult to pin point comprehensively the various forms levels and doze of inputs since it varies from country to country and organization to organization but it can be generalized as follows:
(i) The field of operation or direction of the organization as a whole unit.
(ii) Existing business operations.
(iii) Sources of related inquiries both published and Unpublished.
(iv) Business journals.
(v) Bilateral trade agreements.
(vi) Regional trading blocks.
(vii) Profile of countries.
(viii) Movement of goods and services between countries.
(ix) Economic and political situation of selected countries.
(x) Import and export statistics of selected countries.
(xi) Collaborations existing expected expired.
(xii) Industrial consulting organizations.
(xiii) Government purchases.
(xiv) Trade policies.
(xv) Production consumption and distribution data on selected products.
(xvi) Trade exhibitions and trade shows.
(xvii) History of competitors and competitions.
(xviii) Case studies of successful operations, not so successful operations and blunders.
Above are some of the points, knowledge of which could enable a budding global trader to acquire- working knowledge of the international trade related operations, degree of knowledge would increase his level of expected competence. This is an ongoing programme and continues together with the live operations, the more he understands the more he learns.
The systematic implementation of the above steps is so much important that any mistake in the initial stage will get magnified with every day and hour of the man in the organization. Global Trading firms devote sizable sums of the funds for this activity. The job is not finished once the man is inducted in the organization but it is the beginning and the real work starts from that stage.
Generally the man is not put in the fire from day one. He is rather let into the organization with free hand to find his niche and define his work areas and interests. He is also exposed to various seminars and lectures from the senior persons in the related fields.
The man is allowed to get the feel of organization and its work culture, its moral codes and dos and don’ts, liberties and liabilities. This initial phase of say few weeks or months will mould the person to adjust him in the organization.
Once the person has adjusted himself in the organization and defined his niche, the next step is to give him the exposure of the line that he has chosen as his career. This is generally the commodity line and his next training starts with the basics of the trading operations, which are specific to the chosen line.
The senior persons to whom he is attached generally give this basic training. Here would start the man to man relationship, which would continue for a greater period of the new entrant’s life in the organization. This association would be very close one in the initial phase. As the new entrant matures and assumes independent responsibilities, the bond of association becomes flexible.
The seniors might side step to give him more and more room to hold the ever increasing responsibilities, to forge new associations in order to keep the continuity in the organization. This is how the input stage works in a global trading organization and the new persons are groomed to take on the trading operations as their natural habits.
The Operational and Performing Stage:
The infusion and exposure to the inputs is not enough. The next important thing is the adaptation, implementation and application of the input elements into business related activities for the advancement of the budding trader in the international business. Here he encounters the rivals in a limited and controlled way and tries for results.
If the person is properly inducted, guided and motivated, results would be expected of him or her.
In global trading business environments, it is not so easy to quantify the results as against the manufacturing environments where numerical quantification is possible.
The net results no doubt are the real pointers of success and failure whether in trading or in manufacturing systems. In trading the results are measured in terms of efforts and potential, whereas in manufacturing units it is measured in terms of potential and achievement.
The reason why in trading the effort is first and potential second, is because the trader through his efforts can generate, sustain and maintain potential for a service or a product or a commodity line. But in the case of manufacturing system the potential has to exist and the manufacturer simply defines his boundaries of operation and levels of achievements.
So the degree of efforts and yardstick of measurements in both the cases are different. The common factor behind both the cases is it and that is the profit but to reach that area the trader and the marketing man of the manufacture takes different routes. This results in differing lines of approach for the result measurements systems.
Whatever be the line of approach the results are no doubt crucial and for a trader more so because of his position. He does not stand on a solid manufacturing base rather he stands in between the shifting sands of demand and supply so he has to be trained groomed and motivated to strive for better and better results.
The next question that arises is how to go about it; the following pointers might be helpful in guiding the budding trader the right direction:
(i) Develop the habit for compiling data covering:
a. Product/service that he is dealing or intend to deal with,
b. Organization data,
c. Decision making channels in those organizations,
d. Key persons in the decision making channel,
e. Business policies and operations,
(ii) Keeping track of your business – systematically.
(iii) The detailed analysis of the deals lost and reasons thereof, was the failure attributed to;
b. Technical parameters,
c. Commercial terms and conditions,
d. Lack of pre-bid data,
e. Lack of post-bid data,
f. Lack of contacts, and
g. Unknown factors.
The most important thing to note is that all unsuccessful deals have more data for understanding and learning than the successful ones. Therefore proper analysis of such deals is very important and this can only help the trader to prepare in a better way for tackling the next opportunity, positively.
This requires proper counseling so that the person in question develops the right aptitude for learning from his failures as well from his successes. This simple exercise would boost the person’s morals and also gives him better direction.
(iv) Develop pre and post business analysis meetings and keep records of such meetings as a continued activity.
(v) Have the performance evaluations conducted and discussed with the concerned person so that he knows where exactly he stands and what he has to do to perform still better.
Above are some of the points which, when implemented systematically, can enhance the level of performance of a person in a trading organization. A motivated person is an asset to the organization especially in trading organizations. With the changing business environments all over the world new ways and means should be found to keep this asset in a highly motivated state for getting the results.