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Motivation Made Simple​​

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This week I will be at The IIA’s International Conference in Australia. I hope to share insights and ideas on my Twitter account, @figre. However, I will also attempt, on a daily basis, to go a little deeper into any topics that catch my fancy. Keep checking in to see what happens.


I have been given the opportunity to speak at a couple of sessions this week at The IIA’s International Conference in Australia. There will be two concurrent sessions on Tuesday, but my first foray will be Sunday afternoon in a workshop titled “Managing and Motivating Your Audit Team.”

Nothing like a simple, easy topic to get things started, right?

For half a day, we will be discussing such things as motivation theories, generational and cultural impacts, dissatisfiers, intrinsic motivation, the role of leadership, self-motivation, team building, accountability, goal-alignment. …

Sorry, just typing all those buzzwords is starting to put me in a somnambulistic state. But there is a lot out there regarding management in general and motivation specifically. (That’s why so many people have spent so much of their lives studying, writing, and training on the topic.) So, my challenge will be to make the topic engaging and interesting for all participants. And my hope is that, not only will we be able to cover these topics, but also find specific instances where it applies to the internal audit process.

No doubt about it, motivation is an incredible challenge for all managers.

And yet …

And yet …

And yet, I would argue that, at its core, motivation is really very simple. So, let me give a little sneak preview for anyone who might be attending, and a small present for those of you who cannot be in Australia.

You want to know how to motivate people?

Talk to them about what motivates them.

That’s it. (For all intents and purposes, that is a four-hour presentation condensed into seven words.)

Okay. Maybe it isn’t quite that easy. Employees may not even realize what actually motivates them. (Shoot, you may not even know what motivates you.) But motivation will not occur without communication — open, honest conversation.

Obviously, there is more to motivation than just a few conversations. But I am always surprised by how many people haven’t had those conversations and are still perplexed about why their employees just don’t get it … and just don’t care.

You want to motivate, start by talking. And then, just like every good auditor, actively listen, determine what is really being said, and use a little critical thinking to help understand what needs to be done. ​

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