WLP04 Jurgen Appelo and Management 3.0

Jurgen Appelo is the author of Management 3.0 Workout. I talk to him about motivation in organisations and the story behind the organisation Happy Melly. Jurgen shares with us a couple of the tools he describes in his book, like the Delegation Boards and the KUDO cards. His interview starts around 8:20 mins and before that, I share some thoughts on motivation, which you can read below.

If you’ve listened to previous episodes, you will know that every other week I have virtual coffee with Lisette Sutherland from Collaboration Superpowers. And in the last episode, Lisette was talking about staying in touch, or should I say in tune, with your virtual team and she mentioned the Delegation Board, used by Jurgen Appelo.

I followed the link she sent me and while I was there, I had a look at Jurgen’s site. Lisette had already offered to introduce me to Jurgen and after I looked at the site and downloaded his book, I thought he would be a perfect guest for this podcast. So today’s episode consists mainly of my chat with Jurgen – which I managed to schedule just before he went off to Australia for the tour of his book Management 3.0

We talk about quite a few things, mainly about how the nature of management, this thing we do to other people, needs to change; we also talk about Happy Melly, the community of entrepreneurs he leads, of which Lisette also forms part, so you will have heard her talk about it; he also described where the term Agile comes from, I’m sure you’ve heard it at some point and you might even be part of an agile organisation.

But the bulk of the chat is dedicated to motivation. Motivating people seems to be one of the main challenges that team leaders, and leaders in organisations and managers face. I’m never sure of how to solve this one, and of course each individual and workplace is different, but I always think that it’s easier to start with what am I doing that might be stopping others from doing their best. I know that there are quite a few instances where it’s really difficult to want to do a good job at work, but I think on the whole, most people want to do a good job. But things get in the way. Like feeling like you’re being taken for granted, like not getting enough feedback about your process, like feeling like you’re not equipped in whatever way, to do your job well. The list is endless. So, personally, I think the first step that managers need to take is assess what might be preventing people from wanting to do a good job, to go the extra mile.

Jurgen goes further. He reminded me during our chat, which I think we recorded a month ago, he reminded me that of course you can demotivate but of course you CAN contribute to someone’s motivation. You can be inspirational, you can remind someone of their potential, etc etc. And he goes even further to remind us that actually, it’s not the manager’s job to motivate others – if we’re working together we’re all responsible for making the workplace a better place.

I posted on a LinkedIn group a question, asking people whether they thought it was the manager’s job to motivate people or just to get out of the way? One of the group members, John Maxwell, a software development team leader, replied: “I see it is an important part of my job to motivate my team. I go further and instill in my team that it is part of their role to motivate (look out for) each other.

As Mike says in the end it is the person in the mirror. So I go further and say it each person's responsibility to motivate themselves. They can not just blame their lack of motivation on me and colleagues. Self Motivation is key to success. It is not easy to keep at high levels we want and need. I would not walk away it saying it is individual's responsibility and not part of my job.”

Jurgen has one very simple way of kicking off this process, this way of giving feedback throughout the team. By the way, in the next episode, I’ll be talking to Lisette precisely about that, about giving and receiving feedback in teams.

I also recently came across an interesting blog post around motivation, in the Harvard Business review. It’s written by Liane Davey and it’s titled "How to Motivate Someone You Don't Like."

I think the title already makes my first point, that it’s always easier to nudge someone in the right direction if we like them but that if we don’t like someone, we might send off subconscious signals which will affect how that person approaches their work, especially if we are their manager. I particularly like the writer’s first point, where she suggests that if you don’t like someone, try to spend more time with them. The reasons for this, well, if you don’t like someone, you’re probably avoiding them, even if you don’t do it consciously. This will affect not just your view of how they’re doing, but maybe they don’t get as much feedback from you, as much support and that includes practical help, so it’s worth making a conscious effort so that they don’t feel it. This is the easy part – of course if you need to look at something that they’re not doing that well, the tactics are slightly different. For that, I suggest you pop over online and read the article.

Management 3.0, that’s what Jurgen Appelo, today's guest is all about. In addition to being the author of the Management 3.0 workout, he himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy.

And when him and his team set out to discover who were the current top leadership and management experts, he found himself at number 40. Not just that, but this research was then featured on Inc magazine.

Jurgen has a packed schedule as a speaker and has recently published the book Workout, which is packed with stuff that everyone, and that’s not just managers, can implement to make the workplace a better and happier place. And the amazing thing is, and I find that very 21st century is that you can get the PDF version for free. Just go to http://www.management30.com/workouts/ and you can get the PDF version instantly. Then, if you prefer to read it on your Kindle, or if you want the nicely designed print version, you can buy those, but I think this is representative of what many thought leaders are doing today: giving their knowledge out for free and then charging for the convenience of obtaining that knowledge as a product – be it a collection of blog posts that have been collated into a book or a course, like some people do, or like Jurgen, getting the same content in a preferred format.

I hope you enjoy this episode.