Motivation Theory & Employee Engagement



While speaking with Mr. Yamauchi about employee engagement, Angela Corriero realized her strategic and costly error in Africa. My motivation theory had been wrong:
I had played the wrong game with management.

For the original employee engagement interview with Toyota Motor Corporation`s former Senior Managing Director, click here

In 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I consulted for a small company with 90 employees. I had thought everything was going very well. After just a few months, profits were up 23%, workers were energized and morale was good. My game plan:

game theory, employee engagement, process improvement japan

Incentives included increased respect, recognition, new uniforms, a previously unpaid bonus was paid, weekly meetings to discuss issues and improvements. Staff thanked me for the better working conditions and began to smile as they worked. Customer numbers rose. I was in heaven. But not for long...
There was a management revolt brewing. The resistance to change from management was overwhelming.

I was floored. There were spies, gossip, conspiracies..."I caught Angela allowing a worker to use the customer`s toilets!" shouted a manager at a meeting. I couldn`t understand what was happening and it distressed me greatly. I had thought everyone naturally had a vested interest in vitalizing the company. The owner had made it clear that if things didn`t turn around, the business would close. Isn`t that incentive enough for management? No amount of meetings, words of support or encouragement brought them over to my side. My mistake: I had assumed the game was:

Game Theory, Employee Engagement, Process Improvement Japan

But I was wrong. This realization hit me like a brick while meeting with Mr. Yamauchi.
The game had actually been:

Game Theory, Employee Engagement, Process improvement Japan

I had taken management for granted.
Just like other workers, they need a vested interest, they need to be vitalized and accountability for their role in kaizen and QC activities must be part of the management system. It is clear, when you take a close look at Toyota`s management & development strategy that everyone is held accountable for their actions - not in a direct command and control sense - it`s simply part of the system. For example, management must make regular presentations to executives on how they are vitalizing their staff members. Those who are doing great efforts are recognized, those who are having problems are supported and management have an opportunity to learn from each other. It`s a chance for management kaizen. Because it`s open for peers to see, there is also a healthy dose of pressure and pride to do your best.
The Toyota Way Game Plan:

Game Theory, Toyota Way, Process Improvement Japan

For Case Study 1: Toyota Way & Employee Engagement, click here.

Return from Motivation Theory to Employee Engagement.

Return from Motivation Theory to Process Improvement Japan

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