Stop Motivating Your Teams and Do This Instead

Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw


Motivating your team is one of the holy grails of leadership. When a team or person isn’t motivated, you begin to hear complaints like this:


“This organization is getting too big.”

“I don’t feel fulfilled at work anymore.”

“I’m not making enough money.”

“We have way too many rules and restrictions.”

“It doesn’t seem like we’re making a difference.”


Not having a motivated team is the worst. Disengagement and lack of motivation are like toxins in an organization. They keep people from enjoying their one and only lives and they damage a team’s ability to create any kind of results.


So, what do we do when we feel unmotivated? What do we do when we have unmotivated people on our team? 


One way we can unleash motivation is to gain clarity on the unique things that motivate people. At Novus Global, we’ve created the FIVE Assessment which identifies 5 I’s that help people understand what is motivating them in this particular season of life.

The FIVE i’s are Income, Impact, Intimacy, Integrity and Independence.


  1. Income. Many people are motivated by the ability to earn additional income through their own agency and work ethic.
  2. Impact. Others are motivated to make a difference and have a positive impact on the world.
  3. Integrity. Some people are motivated by artistic integrity–they want their work to reflect who they feel they are at their core.
  4. Intimacy. For other people, having great relationships is a key motivator. They are most satisfied when cultivating deep and trusting relationships.
  5. Independence. Others don’t like having bosses and they want the freedom to do whatever they want whenever they want.


Every person has a hierarchy of these 5 motivators and so does every family and every team. It can be helpful to understand what that hierarchy is with a person or team to know how to motivate ourselves or others.




Now that you’ve got all that, I want to ask a favor.


Forget about it.


Seriously. Ultimately motivation doesn’t come from any of that. Yes, people care about different things. But that’s not the true source of motivation.


I want to invite you to look at motivation differently—where it comes from and how to tap into it.

We put it this way: Every experience you’re having is an experience you’re creating. 


For us, this means you have been given the capacity to choose what you care about and why you care about it. Put another way: your motivation isn’t innate. It’s designed.

  • If you’re motivated, that’s because you’ve (usually unintentionally) designed it that way.
  • If you’re not motivated, that’s because you have (usually unintentionally) designed it that way.

That means you don’t “find your motivation.” It means you create your motivation

People who think they “find” their motivation or have to be doing the right things with the right people in the right context, are destined to lose it. Teams that “find” their motivation will also lose it.


But a leader who knows how to create motivation for themselves, and teams that know how to summon motivation at will, are unstoppable. 


These are people who are able to design whatever choices they make to create energy for themselves.

These are people who know how to lead themselves, how to call forth energy to do whatever task that is at hand in their lives.


I’ll be honest: last year I was a little burned out. Our company had been doubling year over year for the past 4 years and I was getting tired. To say I was unmotivated might be a little extreme…but I was definitely feeling weary. I was grumpy in meetings (and that’s being polite). I knew that if I kept feeling this way I was in trouble.

That means you don’t “find your motivation.”

It means you create your motivation

So, I hired a coach. My coach helped me to see the beliefs I was cultivating (like weeds in a garden) that were starving my passion and allowing me to not take responsibility for my own motivation. We worked together to intentionally design new beliefs and habits that create energy in my life daily.


One year later, I can honestly say I have more energy for my clients and teams than I’ve ever had before. As our company continues to grow, I have felt more peace and passion for my work and my team.


You see, motivation isn’t something we have to unlock. It’s a skill. Like learning to love, it’s something we can and must cultivate and master.

  • Imagine the day when you and your teams take full responsibility for owning your motivation. Not taking responsibility to find it, but to create it.
  • Imagine a team that can summon motivation at will.
  • Imagine becoming a leader that masters their inner motivation to create whatever energy is necessary in the moment to create the life you were designed to live.

Developing the skill to create motivation is the key to an exponential life. And it’s the key to creating exponential teams.


First published on globalleadership.org