4 Keys to develop the “Will Theory”

As a new sales person I always had the challenge of overcoming the negatives. Cold calling, getting lots of No’s and still making the next call. I heard lots of talk and ideas on motivation and listened to lots of tapes by Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale and other greats in the motivational business. I even preached all the motivational ideas to hundreds of others and all of it helped.

Yet true successes always seem to elude me and others even though we did all the motivational things right. What I discovered is…that motivation alone is not the answer.

To help us understand “what else” is needed in the equation let’s examine how the science of motivation as we know it today began.

Throughout written history people have risen to the top, showing leadership, courage and tenacity. Yet the vast majority did not achieve the same level of success even though they had motivation. It has been in the last 100 years that science has really dug in and studied the human from the scientific view, with much of the motivational ides coming in the past 50 years. It’s interesting how some ideas stand out, get over shadowed and then come back around.

A good example of this occurs prior to World War II, when there were two varied theories on the motivation of people. Dr. ………. Had the theory of “will” while Maslow and others, had the “motivational” theory. Both were accepted and studied, especially by one charismatic leader by the name of Adolph. He needed a fully committed force that would not only produce, but would die for a cause. How could he take ordinary people and motivate them beyond belief? He found his answer by using the theory of “will” as the furnace with “motivation” as the fuel, the rest is history.

After World War II both theories where viewed, but the “will” theory had a very negative connotation because of the Nazi and Japanese connection and fell from favor. Thus, the emphasis on the “motivational” theories became the norm over the past 50 years.

So managers, salespeople and business keep throwing the motivation” Wood” on the fire without really understanding the “Furnace of will” that keeps the person going. The few that have the “furnace”, knowingly or by chance, go for the long haul and have the greater level of success.

I recently had a conversation with Paul, a nationally known and internationally involved expert on ISO9000 certification. As we talked about ISO not being an add-on or just another tool, rather how it has to be the life blood, the culture and the business plan; I saw so many concepts of “will theory” coming through as he described how ISO should really work. It really verified my understanding of what makes concepts like ISO and quality programs so effective.

So what is this “Will Theory”? There are four key ideas or parts to the “will theory” that create an almost unstoppable force in individuals and groups. They are:

1. Passion: Now everyone has passion in some way or another for something. The key is to have people find that passion, define it and then find ways to apply it to the task at hand.

Hitler pulled the passion of the German people and channeled it into the Arian Race. Even the most common of German people became passionate and because of this, did things they would not have done before.

Top performing companies today find ways to help people find their passion and then how to channel it towards the objectives of the company. This is not mere compliance; this is true ownership of the idea.

Recently a manager indicated a strong passion to redo older classic homes and bring them back to their original glory. She could see herself doing this and being passionate about it. As she thought about it, she realized she was full-filling her passion, only though building her team to best of their potential instead of old houses.

2. Vision: To maintain the passion a vivid vision of what could be is needed. The clearer and more vivid the more it can drive the passion.

Here the Germans saw a new world with their pure Arian Race in control. They were no longer struggling and feeling inferior to others. Their vision clearly made them superior to all other people.

Companies today create visions of superior customer service, GE with its 1st World Class in everything they do or taking on the Goliath and winning are all examples of a Vision.

Paul worked with a company for four years to create the reality of a fully functional organization that was self-directed. Today they have no supervisory level in the organization and they make a ton of money. (1.3 million in bonus among 200 people.)

3. Focus: Continually focusing the individual or group on the Vision and reinforcing the passion moves things forward. This has to be as important as eating or breathing to be effective.

The Nazi party continually put focus on other groups such as the Jewish, Polish or anyone who they deemed did not fit their Arian description. This was all held up as a way to meet the Vision of the pure Arian Race. We do not recommend this.

To create this focus companies need to make it a priority, not a casual thing. Vision statements on the wall are great, but are they breathed by the organization or just wall decorations? When GE decided to make everything 1st World Class it meant a great many of its division could not make the cut and were sold off. This sent a very strong message to everyone about what the focus was. GE continues to make the concept of 1st World Class foremost in everything they do today and it shows in their profit.

4. Absolute Commitment: Here is where the army lands on the foreign shore and burns the ships! This is not just compliance and not everyone can or will make the commitment. This will sort out those that will stay and those who need to go elsewhere. This is where personal beliefs have to align with the Vision and Focus.

Once more the Nazi party had the SS and the Gestapo which were the elite and most committed people to the cause. German solders were said to be some the fiercest and most dedicated force encountered in the early years of the war.

In a recent conversation with an entrepreneur that was getting this kind of commitment, he indicated he did not want everybody, only the right ones that could make the commitment needed, all others need not apply. He recalled the early start when they were so far in debt that even candles couldn’t shed light. The team is with him today as the weight their money instead of count it! To get through the tough times it was the continual focus and recommitment to the vision that fueled the passion and carried them through.

So as we look at “Motivation” and the ideas of goal setting, self-talk, being positive, keeping the right attitude and such, hopefully we see how “Will” needs to be the foundation and motivation a tool to assist. If we depend only on the motivational factor we have short term gain and we are constantly put more wood on the fire. With “Will” we find people put their own wood on!

A quick note, this is not a quick fix! Many people look for the fix they can hang on their motorcycle like a pair of saddle bags and change when it does not seem to work. This needs to be the frame and engine of the bike! It also means a real change for many leaders in their thinking and behaviors to make it work.

Do you want more “Will” for yourself or your team? For more on how you and your organization can create this, check out the web sites at www.BusArc.com and www.Hgoergerassoc.com .

Harlan Goerger

Author's Bio: 

Harlan Goerger is the National Director of Training for Business Architects. With ove 25 years training companies of all sizes and types in Sales, Management and personal development. His recent book, The Buying Gap, includes new strategies he developed in his training programs to get you "yes" faster!
Harlan@BusArc.com www.BusArcOnLine.com