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14% motivated, isn’t that a bit weak?

Stumbling forward as we continue our journey exploring the pitfalls you want to avoid.

These five pitfalls, which I’ve talked about in previous newsletters and further in this one, come from the presentation that Chalmers researcher Henrik Eriksson gave at Kommek a few weeks ago. I spin on the pitfall itself and add experiences from a lot of businesses I’ve worked with over the years.

He listed five pitfalls that you just need to avoid:

  1. Not being driven by need and purpose
  2. Not having value-creating processes and networks
  3. Not leading
  4. Not being motivated
  5. Not to improve

That brings us to the fourth of them.

Not being motivated

Sadly, as many as 74% are not engaged at work in Sweden. This comes from surveys conducted by Gallup every few years. 74! It’s unbelievable. In addition, there are 12% who are actively discouraging. They are committed, but unfortunately at sabotaging instead of pushing forward in a positive spirit.

This leaves 14% who are committed to improving the business.

That 74% is a big challenge and if it looks like it to you, it’s a pitfall you need to get out of as soon as possible. Without the motivation to do a good job and to want to develop, both personally and in the business, it will be very difficult to achieve anything. It will be like working standing up to your chest in syrup.


One of the reasons it looks like this is that the culture and organisation do not reward new thinking. The culture and organisation hold individuals back and punish them more than they reward them.

I have met people who are so afraid of making mistakes, that it becomes more important to them than that what they do is right. It better be nothing, than that it should be wrong.

In the public sector, it is not helped by the fact that civil servants are watched by the media, which likes to highlight “a scope” where someone went wrong, even though they took an initiative to make them good. Here it is important to have support in the organisation so that you are supported in taking initiative and daring.

In addition, in the US, there is the challenge of the general culture of suing if things go wrong. How can you dare to take the initiative and try something, if you are afraid of being sued if it goes wrong and someone suffers harm? Or in our case, that there will be articles in the newspaper.

Frightened and suspicious employees will not do a good job.

Mistakes we learn from

We must allow ourselves to make mistakes and to learn from them. Of course, we should not be reckless, but there are few places where we cannot allow ourselves to try and then learn from the results.

Our whole development is based on taking initiative and then trying, and maybe failing, and evaluating and learning from what we just did.

Take a baby, for example, who wants to learn to walk. It has seen from its parents and older siblings that moving faster works better than hauling ass. It tries to get up, but will fall back down again. Does the baby give up? No, of course not; just on again.

Another attempt and probably another failure. “How am I going to solve this?” the baby thinks. New technology with perhaps staying in the kitchen chair. Now things are getting better. And after trying again and again, it suddenly works, to the pride and concern of the parents, because now the little one can move around easily. A new world has opened up.

Imagine if we were never given permission to make mistakes. Then we would never learn anything, because we would be so inhibited by not daring to think new or try something. Such an activity will not work.

So make sure you don’t fall into the trap of not allowing employees to think outside the box and try new things, because that creates motivation to do a good job. And if you do a good job, well, then it’s both more value to those you serve and more fun at work.

I tell you about this and the other points in our training courses on improvement. There is a lot to learn from the successes of others. For that matter, the failures of others.

Check out our training courses on the website.