Management Lessons


If you would create something, you must be something. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ● A Jason Caldarera website

Motivation vs. Inspiration

An important topic of discussion within many organizations is the difference between motivation and inspiration.  For some, the two are synonymous.  For others there are significant differences.  If you can tap into the difference and learn to use the two to your advantage, they are powerful ways of getting your people to accomplish tasks.

To explain the difference I use an analogy of mowing your lawn.  Motivation is like using a push mower.  To motivate the lawnmower, you must get behind it and push.  If you stop pushing, the lawnmower stops going.  To get it to go again, you must push again.  At the end, the lawn is mown and looks great, but you are tired, sweating and putting off mowing again as long as you can.

Inspiration is like using a self propelled lawnmower.  The lawnmower knows its job and self propelled to finish it.  At the end, the lawn is mowed, looks great and you aren’t tired.  You’re ready for something else and you don’t dread the next time you have to cut your grass.

Relating this to your people is simple: motivating them will achieve a great result, but you have to get behind them and push.  If you stop pushing, they often times stop performing.  By inspiring your people they realize the expectation and accept it is part of their job.  The propel themselves to finish a goal.

It seems like a rather simple way to phrase it, but it makes sense.  And it explains it in such a way you can ask your people, “how do I get you to be self propelled? To accomplish the goals without my constant pushing and observation?”


Filed under: Business, Inspiration, Life, Management Lesson, Motivation, News, training

3 Responses

  1. shiva says:

    great article, a good read, thanks

  2. Sarika says:

    Great Article..!!!!

  3. Thank you so much for the simple explanation of the difference between motivation and inspiration. Great analogy, too. I’m writing a post about motivation, and I think I also need to include something about inspiration, so I’m keeping myself informed.

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