Winter, June 2013

Return on inspiration

Staying motivated and finding an unreasonable friend

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us” – Charles C. Noble.turning motivation into habit

Attendees at this year’s CPO Forum undoubtedly left the Werribee Park feeling energised and inspired. But as the weeks go by, there is a tendency for ‘BAU’ to dampen that motivation and allow old habits to stifle change.

According to personal development coach Craig Harper: “The trouble with ‘motivation’ is that it requires energy to stay inspired, and energy will always rise and fall.”  

The not so magical trick for maintaining the feeling of energy and enthusiasm is to peg that feeling to a clear vision of success will look like.  “Often it’s not what you are doing, it’s why you are doing it that will make all the difference.”

At the conclusion of The Forum, delegates are asked to write themselves a postcard as a reminder of what they have heard, and more importantly, what they will do differently as a result.  The Faculty collects these cards and sends them back to the author three months later .

“It’s a reminder of the inspiration and commitment they felt on the day,” explains Matthew Perfect, Head of The Faculty’s Roundtables & Forums business. .  

Here, Matthew offers strategies for leaders to hold onto a sense of purpose and to keep their team motivated:  

1.     Define what success will look like: “It probably sounds like consulting speak,” jokes Matthew, “but I believe that if they haven’t already, CPOs (like all business leaders) need to start by defining what success will look like”.  

Rather than taking a ‘left to right’ mentality, Matthew recommends starting with a clear vision of the end goal and then working backwards, defining the milestones, resources, skills and experience it will take to get there.

2.    Turn motivation into habit:  Just like exercise, Matthew says the key to achieving any goal – particularly where the transformation journey may take months or even years, is to turn that initial motivation into daily practice.  

“This is where having a clear picture of what success will look like is so critical – schedule it, reinforce the message in every word and every action.”

3.    Recognise progress and build on small successes:
“Just like exercise, if you start small – maybe for one week at a time, you’ll start to generate small successes and that will make you (and your team) feel good.”  

Matt advises breaking the each step quite small, “this way, you won’t fail and after a couple of weeks or months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress, a great deal of change and more success.”  

4.     Find an unreasonable friend:  A Craig Harper-ism, the concept of the ‘unreasonable friend’ stems from the fact that we often surround ourselves with people who only tell us what we want to hear.
Matt explains:  “An unreasonable friend will be more concerned with your progress and fulfillment over the longer term, than fueling frail self-esteem in the short term.”  

Finding someone who will provide honest, unfiltered, constructive feedback - without agenda or dishonorable intentions – can be the game-changer that will to opening your mind to new ways of thinking.  

5.    Invest in inspiration:
Like so many other busy leaders, CPOs are all too often guilty of neglecting their own professional development. Staying inspired and challenged is virtually impossible in a vacuum of ideas, debate or learning.

Matthew, recommends the best way to maintain motivation is to commit time and resources daily to staying inspired: “Read widely, connect with others (internally or externally, online or face to face) who share similar values and goals, commit time and resources to building the skills and experiences that will inspire you.”

Over the six years The Faculty has been delivering The CPO Forum, Matthew remains impressed by the willingness of Roundtable members, even within highly competitive industries, to share learnings and experiences for the greater benefit of the profession.  “More so than any other profession I’ve worked with before, there is a real thirst for knowledge among CPOs and an understanding that through open discussion, we reduce errors, accelerate outcomes and keep each other inspired and on-track.”

For more information on how you can stay challenged and motivated through The Roundtable or other Faculty networking events, contact Matthew Perfect, Roundtables & Forums, on +61 9654 4900 or via email