There is no denying that history has bequeathed us many excellent examples of highly motivated individuals – and those individuals tended to have had a way with words, which is why some books and websites are able to fill their pages with motivational quotes, such as Henry Ford’s “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Many business leaders and business “gurus” have said how useful such quotes from the great and good have been to them, and of course, they should know.
The general wisdom is that such quotes inspire the individual and spur on the team. They provide a basis for the ethos of a workplace and its business aims. They are particularly effective among individuals in the process of starting up their own business – in such cases, motivational quotes. However, this only occurs when motivational quotes are part of a wider motivational programme – there needs to be substance behind the quote, and employees soon notice if they are expected to magically improve their performance without any assistance, extra resources or the encouragement of management.
And of course, living as we do in a rather cynical, media-savvy age – in the age of The Office’s David Brent – the parroting of motivational slogans in a discourse peppered with “management-speak” will often turn people off, rather than inspiring them, especially if they suspect that the person or organisation issuing the quote, doesn’t really understand it themselves.
It is important to realise that there are two intended audiences for motivational quotes – individuals who are, or who wish to, run their own business or enterprise, and groups of individuals who are being targeted by their employer for motivation. The first audience are more likely to be receptive to motivational quotes – they are already committed to the business path, they are in the business of finding inspiration and actively want to be motivated. They are also likely to have sought out such quotes voluntarily. And this is an important point.
The situation for a group of employees can be very different. Often a workforce feels dragooned into a motivational programme, which engenders precisely the opposite effects to those intended. People tend to resent being forced to do things, and of course many employees are “only in it for the money,” and have no interest whatsoever in striving to be the best they can be. They may not share Voltaire’s belief that “work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need”! Whether these people would be happier in another job is another argument – but it cannot be denied that many employees fall under this category. When using motivational quotes with the aim of enthusing a workforce, employers must be prepared for the likelihood that many will remain completely unmoved.
But you won’t see any indication of this when searching for “motivational quotes” on the internet. There is a seemingly infinite supply of websites and books for sale all promising the definitive list. The moral of this seems clear – if you really want to get rich from motivational quotes, then publish a book of them!