How to Motivate People

Whether you own a business or work for a business, you are in the business of motivation. Things like getting buy-in for ideas, selling and promoting products and services, getting staff to follow a process.

So, how do you keep people engaged and motivated in order to achieve your goals?


Twice a week (during the winter months) I go to CycleTown, an indoor cycling studio in Hingham, MA. As soon as you walk in the door, Kristen, the owner, greets you by name and with a big smile. The energy is high (even in the early morning) as cyclists lace up their shoes and chit chat before class.

Once you walk in the cycling room, everything changes. The lights are dim, the music is loud, and the chit chat becomes a low murmur as 30 riders put on their game face. They are ready to ride.

Day after day, new and familiar faces come for 50 minutes of uphill climbs, downhill sprints, and upper body conditioning. They leave with hearts pounding, muscles tired, and a pool of sweat on the floor.

And why? What is it that gets them to keep coming back for this grueling workout?

While I can’t speak for the 29 other people in the room, I can share my experience.

First, I like to work hard and get sweaty. Second, after 50 minutes of non-stop pedaling, I feel ready to conquer the world! The combination of hard work, instructor feedback, dim lights, pulsing rhythms (am I at a night club or cycling class?), and feeling like I’m part of a community, keep me coming back for more.

Imagine if the people you engage with every day – clients, staff, family – felt the same way?

As a former aerobics, yoga and spin instructor, I learned long ago that people want to work hard. They want to accomplish great things. And sometimes they want someone to guide them along the way.

The same is true in business.

More and more I work with leaders who ask “how do I keep my staff motivated and engaged?” or coaches and consultants who wonder how to get clients to do the work. Remember, no matter the role, you are in the business of motivation.

5 Insights for Motivating Others

Keep in mind not everyone is motivated by money. Consider the following strategies to get started.

Have a Shared Purpose

People work well together when working towards a common purpose. At Cycle Town we are all there to get fit and stay healthy. Do you, your staff or clients have a shared purpose?

Communicate Clearly and Consistently

Communication is vital and includes everything from a simple “good morning!” to providing feedback for growth. During spin class the teachers give instruction, positive feedback and a push when the class looks sluggish. Is your communication clear, consistent and caring?

Set People Up for Success

To expect the best from others, they must have the tools and working conditions needed to be successful. Before spin class starts, the instructor walks around making sure we have water, towels and a properly set up bike. Are your clients or employees set up for success?

Give Everyone a Voice

Everyone wants to feel seen and heard. Even during spin class the instructors talk to us asking, “How are you feeling Cycle Town?” The class gives a collective “Woo hoo!”. And voila, everyone has a voice. How can you make sure the people you work with feel seen and heard?

Show Appreciation

At the end of every spin class we clap to celebrate our hard work. Taking time to appreciate accomplishments and hard work can go a long way in keeping people motivated and engaged. How can you show more appreciation to staff or clients?

The Bottom Line

Motivation is not a one time event. It requires an ongoing commitment to connect and communicate with others. When people feel connected to a purpose, to the customers, to each other, they feel more motivated and inspired to do their best work.

Your Turn to Talk to Me

Do you take a spin or fitness classes?

What keeps you going back for more?

How do you keep people motivated, engaged and doing great work?

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About the blog

Humor, stories, and insights, delivered 2x per month, to perform without the pressure.

Topics include mental health, work, human connection, creativity and more.


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