TED Conversations

Jon Sutton

Executive Director, Empowering Students

This conversation is closed.

How do I get employees to do their job? How do I motivate them?

I run a non-profit. We are all students and we all lead busy lives. It was formed about seven months ago with the goal of connecting students to charities over the internet.

I am having a hard time of late making sure that people are doing their jobs and keeping them on top of it. Some weeks are great and everything gets done. Other weeks, it seems like we are stuck in neutral. I don't know if I'm not doing a good job motivating or my mind works too fast -- things take time and I need to let natural processes work themselves out. I can't expect someone to work faster than is humanly possible. If they are working with someone, they can only work as fast as that person responds to their emails.

Given this, though, I still feel like I can do more. Our organization is growing by leaps and bounds and I don't want to have the growth stop. I feel like we are at an integral cross roads in our history and now is the time where our organization will prosper or fail -- and I'm banking on prospering.

Any tools, tips, tricks?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 21 2012: Hey Jon,

    I would extend the possibility to use a bit of design thinking to figure things out. (wiki it)

    First you probably need to understand the problem. Have you talked to the people involved? What are they feeling? What are they going through? Maybe you can gain some perspective on what's going on with them before you apply an sort of managerial status? Wicked problems require that everyone participates. Once you understand your employees, then you can think about solutions.

    Get them all involved with something for 5-10 minutes that encourages them and brings them together? Open them up a bit and see what they end up saying. It may have nothing to do with your organization. It may be the organization. It's an experiment, and it doesn't have to be elaborate, the simplest of conversations can lead to great insights.

    Hope this helps.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.