What “De-Motivates”?

A few years ago, the former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, was asked by a 7th grader, "How can you tell a good country from a bad one?"

Dr. Bennett replied, "I apply the 'gate' test. When the gates of a country are open, watch which way the people run. Do they run into the country or out of the country?"

The question was an excellent one and prompted an excellent response. I think the same question could be applied to parenting, teaching, and any organization. If the people you deal with were exposed to other possibilities or opportunities, and if all other things were equal, would they stay with you—or would they leave you?

Consider taking an inventory. Are the people acting more like pioneers or prisoners? Are they more upbeat or downcast? Your inventory will tell you if your dealings are positive or negative.

Then, if you don't like the results of your inventory, select one thing at a time you can do to change. Don't wait for others to do something. Just focus on what you can do. Use the kaizen approach. Focus on one change at a time.

Another way of looking at it is to find what "de-motivates." Then see what you can do to remove one of them. You'll see instant results.