Go to any bookstore (yeah, I know, they don’t exist anymore), browse the management section and you’ll find tons of books talking about how to best motivate your team.

Hire people with high levels of intrinsic motivation—people who burn to work for you. Tweet This Quote

Peter Drucker once said, “We know nothing about motivation. All we can do is write books about it.”

In all the time I’ve spent building and leading teams, the one thing I learned is this: You can’t really motivate anyone to do anything (at least not in the long run). Humans are complex creatures and pretty much any trick in the book to “motivate” is easily spotted and falls flat.

Instead, what I believe you have to do first is hire the right people. Hire people who have very high levels of intrinsic motivation. People who burn to work for your organization. People who would work for you even if you wouldn’t pay them.

Hire people who would work for you even if you wouldn’t pay them. Tweet This Quote

Next, paint a clear picture of the future, establish the social norms and build your culture. Get everyone on the same page, make sure everyone understands what it is you want to achieve and how you want to get there.

Then, get out of their way. Let them do what they need to do, and make sure you remove anything in their way which could demotivate them.

Hire the right people, set them up for success, then get out of their way.Tweet This Quote

You can’t motivate someone to do something. But you surely can demotivate folks. Hire the right people, set them up for success and remove any obstacles.

A version of this post originally appeared on Pascal’s blog.

Pascal Finette

Author Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.

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