Top leadership researcher, consultant, and coach Susan Fowler says stop trying to motivate people! It’s frustrating for everyone involved and it just doesn’t work. You can’t motivate people—they are already motivated but generally in superficial and short-term ways. In this book, Fowler builds upon the latest scientific research on the nature of human motivation to lay out a tested model and course of action that will help leaders guide their people toward the kind of motivation that not only increases productivity and engagement but that gives them a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Fowler argues that leaders still depend on traditional carrot-and-stick techniques because they haven’t understood their alternatives and don’t know what skills are necessary to apply the new science of motivation. Her Optimal Motivation process shows leaders how to move people away from dependence on external rewards and help them discover how their jobs can meet the deeper psychological needs—for autonomy, relatedness, and competence—that science tells us result in meaningful and sustainable motivation.
Optimal Motivation has been proven in organizations all over the world—Fowler’s clients include Microsoft, CVS, NASA, the Catholic Leadership Institute, H&R Block, Mattel, and dozens more. Throughout the book, she illustrates how each step of the process works using real-life examples. Susan Fowler ’s book is the groundbreaking answer for leaders who want to get motivation right!
About the Author
Foreword and afterword author Ken Blanchard is chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is the author or coauthor of more than sixty books.
Susan Fowler has over thirty years’ experience as a researcher, consultant, and coach in over thirty countries around the globe in the field of leadership. She is the creator and lead developer of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Optimal Motivation product line as well as the creator and lead developer of Situational Self Leadership, the organization’s best-of-class self-leadership and personal empowerment program. As a catalyst for growth, Fowler is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies and a professor in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership program at the University of San Diego.
“Think of this book as Daniel Pink's Drive for trainers.” – TD Magazine
“Richly rewarding book…a romp across the ins and outs of motivation.” – People Management
"Everybody wants to be motivated—being bored and alienated is no fun. Fowler shows how to guide employees toward seeing their jobs in a new way, as potential sources of personal fulfillment. Achieving company goals will become something they own, because now it really matters to them." —Marshall Goldsmith author of the New York Times and global bestseller What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
In this fascinating book, Susan Fowler shows why you should stop feeding your employees the emotional junk food of ineffective, short-term rewards; and how you can transition your leadership style to produce an optimal motivational outlook.” —Steve Davis, Executive Vice President, CenturyLink
“A compelling reminder that leadership is a skill that can be mastered only by capturing the hearts and minds of the people you lead. The question is not if your people are motivated but why. Susan Fowler presents a new paradigm of motivation, a plain and simple alternative that is long overdue.” —Lori Lorenz, Senior Director, Marketing, Hewlett-Packard
“So now you are a leader and you think you need to ‘motivate the troops’? Think again. Instead, it may be time to educate yourself on the principles of motivation. Susan’s book prescribes what to do next!” —Kevin Nohelty, Vice President, US Supply Chain, WD-40 Company
“Susan has taught managers and human resources professionals in AkzoNobel how to use the skill of activating optimal motivation for themselves and with others as the way to improve employee engagement. We were all inspired! I’m convinced that this book will generate a ripple effect on many more people.” —Eline Lenselink, Global HR Manager, AkzoNobel, The Netherlands
"This book gives me hope. We don't have to keep pushing for results at the expense of our people's health and well-being. It turns out, the way to results is through a workplace where people thrive. Susan's book shows you how to create it." —Paul Donin, Executive Director, Restorative Justice Program, BC, Canada
“I encourage leaders to read this book—but with a warning. They may get more than they expect. I learned as much about my own motivation as I did about the motivation of those I lead.” —M. Paula Daoust, PhD, Director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
“If you believe, as I do, that people are learners who long to grow, enjoy their work, be productive, make positive contributions, and build lasting relationships, then you must read this book. Susan presents tools you can use to create a company sure to unleash everyone’s full potential.” —Dick Lyles, CEO, Origin Entertainment
“We all want help to motivate the people we lead, to help them develop and grow in a productive working environment. Susan Fowler’s technique shows you the right approach, leading to both the best performance and employee commitment.” —Agnes Jeanbart, Facilities Manager, Gulf, Unilever
“If you read only one book this year, read this one!” —Robert L. Lorber, PhD, President, The Lorber Kamai Consulting Group
“Susan reveals the recipe for motivation does not consist of carrots and sticks. Her formula has helped me lead my patients, my employees, and myself in the joyful pursuit of healthier outcomes. I would prescribe her book to everyone!” —Laura Lee Copeland, MD, MBA, FACEP, emergency physician and Director of Medical Informatics, Humber River Hospital, Toronto, Canada
“One of the greatest opportunities for leaders is to help their people create meaning. Susan’s book shows us how.” —Mine Sadiç, EEMEA Training Development Manager, Roche, Istanbul, Turkey
“Ever wonder what makes your consumers, clients, business partners, and employees keep coming back? Susan opens your eyes to why they do and how you can make the choice to return easy.” —Tom Porter, Director, HR and Administration, Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA
“This book helps leaders reflect on what keeps them going and help others feel comfortable doing the same. It is critical to make what Susan writes in her book into habit.” —Marios Loucaides, CEO, Cyprus Trading Corporation plc, Nicosia, Cyprus
“No motivational buttons, no inspiring speeches, no carrots and no sticks; instead, Susan proposes greater awareness of ourselves, practicing mindfulness, and learning to align values and purpose. We should listen instead of talking and search for the right questions instead of the right answers." —Marius Tanase, Executive Director, Farmexpert, part of Alliance Boots
“Some ideas are way ahead of their time; Optimal Motivation is one of them and will shock you out of old methods of motivating people. It is the most revolutionary theory of motivation in decades.” —Andrei Foisor, Country Manager, Roche Diabetes Care, Romania
“Susan’s book is provocative and pragmatic at the same time. She has successfully tapped into a longing I have had as a leader; how can I help people do what I think they naturally want to do—grow, develop, and fulfill their potential? Susan’s propositions are surefire and easy to put to action” —Dr. Santrupt B Misra, CEO, Carbon Black Business and Director, Group H.R., Aditya Birla Group