Blog written by Shawn M. Kahle, APR

While there are many attributes I still envy and seek, I am blessed with strong personal drive, ambition, energy, and perseverance.  Some call it a work ethic.  It really is a life ethic.

Yet, recently, in one conversation after another with my friends, family, and colleagues the subject keeps coming back to the issue of motivation.  Usually, this makes my brain itch.  Why so much talk about what it takes to motivate someone?  Just do it.

Admittedly, the self-helpers hate me as I shun their how-to planners and handbooks.  It’s great that they are there for others who need their advice to get organized and connect with the greater good through disciplined tools and templates.  It’s just not for me. 

Lots of companies pay consultants to suggest how to understand Millennials, Gen Y and Gen Xer, and the never-going-to-really-retire Boomers who co-habitate in workplaces and family rooms.   How do we motivate them? And why the heck do I care what Sally’s mom or dad thinks about our holiday schedule?  It’s work!   It’s a job!  Show up!  Smile!  Make Maslow proud!

In saying that, some might mislabel me as “insensitive” or a “workaholic.”  But that is wrong. 

The whole work-life-balance-thing is my mantra.  Work hard.  Play hard.  Enjoy!

I read an article recently about people “officially” taking one day off a week from their Blackberries with how-to steps to crack the addiction.  Seems to me that you just don’t look at it for 24 hours and make certain others know you won’t.  Throwing it in a pot of stew also does the trick.  Simple enough.

Why so much attention on motivation in the work place?  Might be there is too much to do and not enough time to do it.  The pressure to perform at exceptional levels using high-tech-gadgets 24/7 is a matter of survival at many companies.  Sad, but for many, I fear it is true.

And that brings me to torture.  A company called Prosper Inc. (really, I cannot make this up!) faces a lawsuit as a supervisor named Joshua Christopherson took members of a sales team outside of their offices for a team-building exercise in Provo, Utah last May.

Why the lawsuit?  Well, he asked for volunteers and Chad Hudgens stepped up.  Chad was told to lay downhill, his co-workers pinned him down while the supervisor poured water from a gallon jug over his nose and mouth.  And with coach-like passion said, “You see how hard Chad fought for air right there.  I want you to go back inside and fight that hard to make sales!”

Chad found a new job and is suing Prosper Inc.  Joshua was suspended for two weeks during the company’s investigation. 

This week the company’s general counsel said, “We’re not the mean waterboarding company that people think we are.”

So what should we think about Prosper Inc.?  According to company materials, they make telephone pitches to sell online and personalized instruction, packaged as coaching at a cost of $3,000 to $15,000.” 

How’s that for motivation?