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Motivation and Engagement in Building Excellence

Updated: Dec 17, 2023


I once attended a goal deployment workshop where a pivotal discussion unfolded. The CEO stressed the need to boost workforce engagement, while a senior vice president underscored the essence of motivation. This sparked an insightful dialogue about differentiating and nurturing both within an organization. Here, I'll delve into the dynamics of motivation and engagement and present a structured approach to cultivate these elements in the oil and gas sector.


Decoding Motivation and Engagement

Motivation is essentially the 'why' behind our actions, influenced by a spectrum of needs, from basic security to self-fulfillment. In the industry, transitioning from external drivers like job security to internal ones such as personal growth is key. Engagement, on the other hand, relates more to the 'what' and 'how'—the level of involvement and commitment an employee demonstrates towards tasks and goals.


Distinguishing Motivation from Engagement

While intertwined, motivation and engagement are distinct. A worker might be engaged (actively participating) without being deeply motivated (internally driven). For sustainable growth in the oil and gas industry, it’s crucial to discern and enhance both.


Eradicating Demotivators and Boosting Motivation

In our industry, common demotivators can be operational uncertainties, lack of transparency, or perceived unfairness. To foster motivation, identifying and eliminating these barriers is as essential as introducing positive motivators like meaningful work, recognition, and opportunities for career development.


A Five-Step Strategy for Motivation and Engagement

  1. Hiring for Motivation: When recruiting, prioritize candidates who show intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm for the oil and gas sector. This sets a foundational tone for a motivated team.

  2. Defining Engagement: Clearly define what engagement means in your context. This includes identifying observable behaviors that reflect engagement and creating conducive work environments.

  3. Incorporating Motivators: Integrate motivators tailored to the oil and gas industry. This could include collaborative team environments, opportunities for innovation, and recognition of safety milestones.

  4. Acknowledging Contributions: Regularly recognize and reward efforts that go beyond the call of duty. This not only fosters motivation but also sets a benchmark for others.

  5. Cultivating a ‘Want-To’ Culture: Transition your organizational culture from obligation-driven (have-to) to aspiration-driven (want-to). This shift is pivotal for long-term engagement and motivation.


In the oil and gas industry, where safety and efficiency are paramount, understanding and leveraging the power of motivation and engagement can lead to transformative outcomes. By adopting this five-step strategy, organizations can foster a culture where employees are not just committed but are intrinsically motivated to contribute their best. This approach ensures not only enhanced safety and operational excellence but also nurtures a workforce that is resilient, innovative, and aligned with the organization's long-term goals.

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