Culture of Intrinsic Motivation LO10178

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
25 Sep 96 23:35:56 EDT

Replying to LO10126 --

Bill asked a good question,

I would ask Rol, since he has shared openly about his business
environment, if the same intrinsic motivation exists in his business? I
would suspect it does. If so, then I would be interested in Rol's left
hand column comment concerning why he did not mention it, or why he did
not think to mention it.

== end quote ==

Bill, of course intrinsic motivation exists in business. Believe it or
not, I love to go to work, and I have been in the same department for 15
years. Every day is different and challenging, and a learning

But that intrinsic motivation is less common in several businesses that I
have been in than it is in the other fields I cited. Far less common.
Bean is a bit of an exception to this rule,in that People here _do_ feel a
sense of shared purpose and a 'higher' calling. We survey our employee
attitudes regularly, and according to experts, we consistently get
incredible scores for employee loyalty and commitment. Last year, we had
a bad year, and we were unable to reward people the way we have been able
to do in the past. Scores dropped, but surprisingly little. The loyalty
and commitment remained almost unchanged. I don't see Bean as a
representative sample, though of business in general.

I cannot tell you exactly why Bean people are so committed, but if forced
to speculate, I would say that the company's focus is on excellence and
service, and these are values that will drive motivation. It is
interesting that you mentioned the self-evident truths, because I think
these -- excellence and service -- are values that most people very
naturally accept and support enthusiastically. For me, striving for
excellence and serving others both qualify as SETs.

Don't underestimate our focus on profit, though. We don't cast our
corporte purpose or strategic intitiatives in terms of profit, but we
manage our budgets with iron-fisted discipline that allows us to make a
profit while serving the customer and providing excellence you can't get
anywehre else. For example, I just spent $1.5 MM on an initiative to
achieve higher in-stock levels. This is driven by a desire to serve the
customer better than anyone else. However, if we do the analysis, I can
guarantee that it is also a profitable strategy.

Unlike the other organizations I mentioned (school, social work, college)
Bean does not have a dysfunctional organization. We certainly have our
arguments and fights, but generally we work well together. I think when
the 'calling' is not as strong as it is for teachers and social workers,
then the organization needs to be a lot better in order to attract the
same levels of intrinsic motivation.

It is difficult in our society to create this same intrinsic motivation in
the blue collar jobs, but it is not at all impossible. LO, high
performance, SETs, and aggressive delegation are all part of the equation,
but I don't know what else.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc.

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