On the LinkedIn group which I moderate (Productivity Futures) we have recently had a discussion about which come first – motivation or productivity.

One side of the argument (conventional wisdom) suggests that we motivate staff (with exhortation. encouragement, rewards or whatever) and that motivation results in higher productivity and higher satisfaction for the workforce 

The counter argument is that workers work hard – perhaps because they are well-organised and well-managed…. and that performance results in them being rewarded and satisfied, creating motivation for future performance.

In some respects, the argument is irrelevant.  As a business manger or owner, you need to work on the motivation of staff, setting achievable targets and goals (which are understood and agreed by those responsible for achieving them).   This is something which should be ongoing and regular – not an occasional one-off intervention or initiative.

Then we end up with satisfied, highly productive workers – completing the cycle of motivation, productivity, motivation…. wherever it starts.