The Power Of Motivation

I met with a friend last night and we had a couple of beers in a nice punk rock bar. We both worked at the same startup in Berlin last year and shared some memories of what went right, what went wrong and everything in between. He told me a great story.

He remembered a situation when the CEO asked him and two of his collegues to create and launch no less than 100 new pages for the company website (I think it was mostly SEO related). The CEO wanted the new content to be online by Monday. That was on a Friday, of course.

All three were committed to the company and they decided to spend all Saturday to get the job done, everbody from their home. My friend’s collegues started early, and by the time he joined them via chat later that day they were already frustrated about the sheer amount of work. They claimed it would be impossible to get the work done within the short time given.

The support cavalry arrives

Luckily, my friend anticipated the situation and had already asked two of his friends who knew their way around WordPress if they could do him a favor and help them out that day. With five people in total, the task would have a chance to succeed. He informed the others in the chat and asked the developer to create two more accounts for his friends so they could directly work with the rest of the team.

With the added help, progress was much faster than anticipated and everbody became extremely motivated to get the job done. They rushed through the pages, ticking off task by task from their todo list. By the end of a long day, the job was finished and everybody was super excited and proud. The collegues thanked the enforcement for their fantastic help. Together, they achieved what they previously deemed impossible.

And the moral of the story…

So what’s so special about this story? After all, I titled this article “The Power Of Motivation” and not “The Power Of Teamwork”.

You may have guessed it by now. Those two friends who came to help out never existed. My friend made them up when he realized how frustrated his team members were. He saw that something magical had to happen, like two more people with great skills suddenly supporting the team.

He used the two fake user accounts to make it look like three people, but instead he just worked extra hard and did it all by himself. His team members didn’t notice (as they were doing home office and communicated only via chat) and the extra help pushed them to their limits as motivation went through the roof.

After he told me this story I asked him what he would have done had his collegues noticed his little con. He answered that he was prepared to do all the work on his own in that case.

But he knew that all his collegues needed was a little boost of motivation.

PS: still sucks to work on a Saturday though.