3893699056_e5dbc8c742_zMany presidents and managers make every effort to find a way to improve their employees’ motivation. Look at business books sections at bookstores. You will find many of the book titles include “Motivation” or “Enthusiasm”. Business seminars are filled with managers troubled by the theme.

Interestingly; however, some do not see “motivation” that vital in business.

When I visited a company in the service industry to advertise manager training programs of my company at that time, the president of the company said, “I would never endeavor to motivate my employees. Manager training is absolutely unnecessary.”

I got refused as soon as I opened my mouth, so I asked him the reason for that policy.

He said, “Motivation is the desire to work and we cannot be imbued with the desire because we are told to. Motivation is something created from inside of each of ourselves.”

He went on.

“What I want my employees to hold is not a motivation for their tasks but a professional mindset in business. I believe education to foster professionalism is truly important.”


On another day, I visited an insurance company. The company had about 10 regular employees and most of them were middle-aged ladies. Almost every day, the middle-aged ladies were complaining about their jobs. None of them looked like a motivated employee at all.

Despite their grumbles, “I don’t want to work”, the ladies were actually really hard workers. The insurance company was doing great and its consumer satisfaction index was one of bests among all agencies in Japan.


One of the ladies said, “I hate my job, but I have to do it right because I get paid for it.”


Essentially, motivation is something unstable because it is affected by various factors.


You have had a fight with your wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend.

Your tooth aches.

You are having a trouble with your friend.

Your parents are not well recently.


Daily events like these have a significant impact on motivation. In short, motivation is easily swayed by factors not related to work.

No matter how much serious trouble you are struggling with in your life, clients do not care about your hardship. For them, whether they can receive a good service is the only thing that matters.


On the other hand, professionalism is very different. Without making excuses, professionals strive to get their job done within the set time schedule and at the same time, seek to assure high quality in their job.


The president insisted, “All employees should behave as professionals as long as they receive their salary. Even part-time workers sometimes show their professionalism. Employees? Not to mention.”


To summarize, training programs cannot motivate somebody, but professionalism can be fostered through education.


I asked the president, “How do you educate professionalism?”


He said, “To become a professional, first of all, you need to learn professional ethics. Secondly, you must set a clear goal. Lastly, you have to find a model figure who has professional qualities you seek. These are all required for professionals. Even one out of the three elements is missing, professionalism is not established”


The president sounded quite logical to me. What do you think?



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