Avoiding Burnout

Most high-performers do not need to be motivated, per se. It is often more difficult to get successful people to stop working at a high level. However, sometimes they do stop. Understanding the reasons is important if they are to be reengaged.

In most cases, motivation depends directly on the personalities of the individuals concerned. Keeping them motivated depends on why they chose to pursue a particular career path in the first place. While there are a number of motivators, one of the following is usually the primary motivator for any individual:

1. Money: A person who works primarily to get rich may be very difficult to motivate once he or she achieves whatever “rich” personally means. Typically, those who become very wealthy don’t do it for the money, but for those who do, it may be best to let them move on when they cease to take interest in further organizational success.

2. Power: Since power usually seeks a higher level, those who are motivated by it are likely to seek more. The issue is how to construct the environment such that the attainment of more power is challenging individually, yet contributes to the success of the organization.

3. Achievement: These people are motivated to do something big. The problem here is that when they accomplish something significant, they are often at a loss for what to do next. Keeping them motivated depends on the opportunity to give them a new path to pursue. If they have another worthwhile challenge facing them before the first one finishes, they usually will become just as involved in the second one.

4. Excitement: They love the competition, the long nights, the intensity of matching wits, solving a difficult problem, and even the exhaustion itself. Keeping them engaged and motivated depends on the ability to appreciate and reward their lifestyle and on the ability to ensure that they are always engaged in multiple projects that never end at the same time.

5. Legacy: These high-performers are motivated by the opportunity to leave their mark on the world. It is important for them to have everyone know their contributions by name (be it in establishing a business of their own or having a building named after them, for example). Because of the long-term nature of their goal, these people are often among the most self-motivated.

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