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Grow Motivation Like Tomatoes

Do you have green fingers? Can you make a plant thrive? Have you ever bought a plant and forgot about it? What happened? Have you ever planted a tomato plant? Did you get tomatoes, or did it wither and die? Have you ever bought an aquarium and ended up with fish floating upside down in green water? Have you ever hired a highly motivated person just to see them fail? Is it enough to tell the plant to grow? Is it enough to shout “Swim, damn it!” to the fish?

Would you like your team to perform better?

You need to understand that motivation is not just about showing up at work and smile. It is not just about fun. Motivation is like a plant or a fish tank, it needs the right environment and it need caring hands, tender and love. You need to clean it sometimes, keep the cat away and you need to pay attention. What would happen at your job if everybody performed just 10 % better? Do you think it is possible? Sure it is. Do you know what your team is capable of?

Grow motivation

Motivation is harvested like tomatoes in a greenhouse, remove the weed, water when necessary and make sure the bugs are at arm’s length. You need to understand motivation to know how to grow it. Plants and fish tanks do come with instructions. Motivation does too, there are a lot of books about motivation out there, and there is a lot of research on the topic.

The Recipe to motivation


  • Add a lot of positive feedback to the soil

  • Make sure that you got good tools that work

  • Define clear and understandable goals

  • Include the people in the process, talk and share

  • Believe in them, and feed them with trust

  • Give them light and love, not darkness and fear

  • Show them what the great huge red tomato look like, and tell them that they also one day might even become ketchup

  • Ask what they would like to improve

  • Create space to grow


And add the powerful ingredient of WHY!

I can tell you to run a mile or two. I can even show you how. But there is still not sure you will do your best? What if I told you to hurry because there is happiness waiting at the end? [Insert whatever would make you happy] – but you have a limited time to do it? Would you need me to explain how to run? Would you want me to do it for you? Or would you start running right away? What and how is easy to understand, but understanding why is the most powerful tool to include in your recipe.

Understanding why applies to a lot of things at work. It helps you in a direction, it helps you to stay motivated and it will help in changing times, hard times and good times.

Why motivation is important

Your employees and co-workers will stay in their job longer, just as a plant will last longer with love and care. Let’s say you have 50 people at work. 2 people quit each month, resulting in a total new staff every 25 month. Reduce the number to one and you have doubled your average experience of your staff. More experienced staff produces more. Costs of employee turnover are enormous. Do you have a team that train new employees on a regular basis? How much does that cost? The bigger the team, the more problems you have with motivation. Do you have your own class room? These are signs that you might need to re-consider your employee strategies. Would your customers rather be served by rookies or experts?

And money for the win

You do not necessary need to pay more. Pay is not the most important factor in motivation. Pay needs to be good enough to rule out financial hardship. If people have a clear vision of why, in a warm and trusting environment where they can contribute and be listened to they will turn down jobs paying a lot more and stay loyal to you.

So create your own “fish tank” at work. And ask yourself this, can you afford not to? Do you know the level of motivation at your job? What can you do to increase motivation? – But remember motivation is not implemented by a memo.