How to MOTIVATE the UNMOTIVATED | Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek
4 Mar 202101:55


TLDRThe speaker argues against labeling individuals as unmotivated, suggesting that a lack of motivation may stem from various factors, including a poor cultural fit or feelings of invisibility. Instead of resorting to punitive measures, the speaker advocates for understanding and addressing the root causes, emphasizing the importance of inspiring employees by fostering a sense of belonging, recognition, and purpose. This approach, they believe, leads to a more committed and loyal workforce that values the work environment and colleagues over monetary incentives.


  • 🚫 The notion that motivation is inherent and cannot be instilled is challenged; external factors play a significant role.
  • 💡 Inspiration and understanding are crucial in driving individuals, rather than just relying on traditional motivational tactics.
  • 📈 The environment and culture in which someone is placed can greatly affect their motivation and sense of belonging.
  • 🙉 Labeling individuals as 'unmotivated' without considering other factors is unproductive and dismissive.
  • 🤝 A supportive and inclusive workplace can foster loyalty and a sense of community among employees.
  • 🌱 It's essential to consider alternative reasons for lack of motivation, such as feeling unseen, unheard, or unprepared.
  • 🔄 If an employee is a poor fit, it's important to assist them in transitioning to a more suitable role rather than simply dismissing them.
  • 🎯 Focusing solely on external motivation can lead to a limited and potentially toxic work environment.
  • 💖 When employees feel valued and understood, they are more likely to remain loyal even when faced with more lucrative opportunities elsewhere.
  • 🌟 Providing a sense of purpose and vision can make work more meaningful and contribute to higher levels of motivation and satisfaction.

Q & A

  • What is the speaker's stance on the ability to motivate unmotivated individuals?

    -The speaker believes that you cannot simply motivate the unmotivated; instead, you can inspire people and use external incentives like rewards or punishments to elicit desired behaviors. However, these methods do not guarantee loyalty or genuine love for the job or organization.

  • What factors could contribute to an individual's lack of motivation according to the speaker?

    -The speaker suggests that unmotivation might not be inherent to the individual but could be a result of their situation. Factors such as not fitting into the company culture, feeling unseen or unheard, fear, or lack of preparation could lead to a lack of motivation.

  • How does the speaker propose we should approach unmotivated individuals?

    -The speaker advises against labeling someone as unmotivated. Instead, we should consider other possible reasons for their lack of motivation and address those issues. If an individual is truly a poor fit for the organization, the speaker suggests helping them transition to a place where they might be a better fit.

  • What is the speaker's view on the approach of using motivation as the sole strategy for employee engagement?

    -The speaker argues that focusing solely on motivation, especially through external incentives, can lead to a limited mindset and a team that does not care about each other. This approach may not foster long-term loyalty and could lead to employees seeking better opportunities elsewhere.

  • What alternative does the speaker propose to traditional motivation strategies?

    -The speaker proposes inspiring employees by giving them a sense of cause and vision, making them feel that their work is meaningful. This involves creating an environment where employees feel valued, seen, heard, and understood, which can lead to higher motivation and commitment, even in the face of better-paying job offers.

  • What is the potential outcome when employees are inspired rather than just motivated?

    -When employees are inspired, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and commitment to the organization. This can result in them turning down higher-paying jobs elsewhere because they value the positive work environment and relationships with their colleagues more than financial incentives.

  • What is the speaker's perspective on the role of leadership in employee motivation?

    -The speaker believes that leaders have a responsibility in hiring the right people and creating a culture where employees feel valued and motivated. If a leader has made a mistake in hiring or in creating a suitable environment, they should help the individual transition to a place where they can thrive rather than simply labeling them as unmotivated.

  • How does the speaker suggest improving the motivation and inspiration of employees?

    -The speaker suggests understanding the individual needs and circumstances of employees, providing them with a sense of purpose, and ensuring they feel seen and heard. Leaders should focus on building a positive work culture and empowering employees to take initiative and grow within the organization.

  • What are the potential consequences of a lack of inspiration in the workplace?

    -A lack of inspiration can lead to employees feeling unvalued and unseen, which may result in decreased motivation, higher turnover rates, and a lack of genuine care for the organization's success. It can also lead to a toxic work environment where employees are only driven by external incentives.

  • How can leaders ensure they are fostering a motivated and inspired workforce?

    -Leaders can foster a motivated and inspired workforce by creating a positive and supportive work culture, providing opportunities for growth and development, recognizing and valuing individual contributions, and ensuring open communication and psychological safety. They should also be mindful of their hiring practices to ensure a good cultural fit.

  • What is the importance of understanding the individual's perspective when dealing with unmotivated employees?

    -Understanding the individual's perspective is crucial because it allows leaders to identify the root causes of unmotivation, which may be related to the work environment, personal issues, or a misalignment with the organization's values. Addressing these underlying issues can help to re-engage employees and improve overall workplace motivation and satisfaction.



🤔 The Nature of Motivation

The speaker discusses the idea that motivation cannot be forced upon individuals who are unmotivated. They suggest that motivation is inherent and cannot be externally imposed. Instead, the speaker advocates for inspiring people and creating environments where individuals feel valued and heard. They also touch on the importance of understanding the root causes of unmotivation, such as cultural misfit or fear, and the responsibility of leaders to address these issues and help individuals transition to more suitable roles if necessary.




Motivation refers to the psychological forces that drive an individual's behavior towards a desired goal or action. In the context of the video, it is suggested that people are not simply motivated or unmotivated, but their drive is influenced by various factors such as their environment, feelings of belonging, and personal circumstances. The speaker argues against the idea of using mere incentives or punishments to motivate people, instead advocating for inspiration and a sense of purpose.


Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to feel enthusiasm, creativity, or aspiration. The video emphasizes inspiring people as a more effective approach than traditional motivation. It suggests that by providing individuals with a sense of purpose and vision, they become more engaged and committed to their work. This engagement goes beyond material incentives, fostering a deeper connection to their role and the organization.


Culture here refers to the shared values, beliefs, and behaviors that define a group or organization. The video script points out that when individuals feel they do not belong in a certain culture, they may become unmotivated. It implies that a good cultural fit is crucial for employee motivation and satisfaction, and leaders should consider this when addressing issues of unmotivation.


Belonging is the feeling of being accepted and valued within a group or organization. The video script suggests that a sense of belonging is essential for motivation. When individuals feel they belong, they are more likely to be engaged and committed. Conversely, feeling unseen or unheard can lead to disengagement and a lack of motivation.


In the context of the video, responsibility refers to the accountability that leaders or employers have for the well-being and motivation of their employees. It is highlighted that if an employee is unmotivated, part of the responsibility lies with the organization for potentially hiring someone who was not a good fit or for not providing the right environment for them to thrive.


Transition in this context refers to the process of moving from one job or role to another. The video emphasizes the importance of supporting employees through this change, especially when they are unmotivated due to a poor cultural fit. It suggests that rather than simply letting them go, organizations should help them find a more suitable environment where they can be successful and motivated.


Loyalty is the devotion and support towards a person, group, or organization. In the video, it is suggested that loyalty is not achieved through motivation alone but through inspiration and a sense of belonging. When employees feel inspired and that they belong, they are more likely to remain committed to the organization even when faced with more lucrative opportunities elsewhere.


Fear in this context refers to the emotional response of anxiety or apprehension that may lead to a lack of motivation. The video script suggests that fear could be a factor causing employees to feel unmotivated, such as fear of failure or fear of negative consequences. Addressing these fears and creating a supportive environment can help improve motivation and engagement.


Preparation in the context of the video refers to the readiness and equipage an individual has to perform their tasks effectively. The speaker suggests that unmotivation might stem from a lack of preparation, indicating that employees might feel unmotivated if they do not have the necessary skills or knowledge to succeed in their roles. Ensuring that employees are adequately prepared can contribute to their motivation and overall performance.


Cause in this context refers to a principle or set of ideals that drive an individual's actions. The video emphasizes the importance of aligning one's work with a larger purpose or cause, which can inspire and motivate individuals more effectively than material incentives. By feeling that their work contributes to a meaningful cause, employees are likely to be more engaged and committed.


Vision in the context of the video refers to a clear and appealing picture of the future that guides and inspires individuals. The speaker suggests that imparting a strong vision to employees can foster motivation by giving them a sense of direction and purpose. A compelling vision can help employees understand the significance of their contributions and激发 their enthusiasm and commitment.


Motivation is not a binary state; people can be inspired rather than just motivated or unmotivated.

Traditional motivational methods like 'carrots and sticks' can elicit behavior but not necessarily loyalty or love.

Unmotivation often stems from external factors such as an unsuitable culture or feeling unseen or unheard.

It's important to consider multiple factors when someone appears unmotivated rather than labeling them outright.

Hiring the right fit is crucial; if someone is unmotivated, it may be due to a mismatch between the individual and the organization.

Leaders bear responsibility for transitions of unmotivated employees to environments where they may thrive.

Focusing solely on external motivation can lead to a limited mindset and a toxic work environment.

Inspiring employees leads to a more engaged and loyal workforce that values each other and the organization.

When employees feel valued, seen, heard, and understood, they are more likely to be motivated and inspired.

A sense of purpose and vision makes work more meaningful and can lead to higher employee retention.

Money and bonuses are not the only drivers for job satisfaction; workplace culture and relationships also play a significant role.

Employees who feel a sense of belonging are less likely to leave for higher-paying jobs elsewhere.

Leadership should aim to foster an environment where employees feel they are part of something larger than themselves.

Caring for and helping unmotivated employees transition to better-suited roles is part of good leadership.

The approach to unmotivated employees should be understanding and solution-oriented, not dismissive or punitive.

Creating a supportive culture can lead to employees who are not only motivated but also committed to the organization's success.

Inspiring leadership can result in employees turning down better offers out of loyalty and job satisfaction.

It's essential to look beyond surface-level motivation and address the root causes of unmotivation.

A workplace that fosters mutual respect and understanding can lead to a more cohesive and productive team.



i don't think you can motivate the


unmotivated i i don't think you could


motivate people people either are


motivated or unmotivated i think you can


inspire people um


and uh and you know you can motivate


people with


sticks and carrots you know offer them


bounty or threatened punishment


and you'll get behavior that you want is


there loyalty is there love absolutely




um usually when people are unmotivated


it's not necessarily them it might be


the situation they're in


maybe they don't belong in the culture


maybe they feel unseen or unheard


maybe they're scared maybe they're


unprepared so we we have to


you know when somebody's unmotivated


let's not label them as unmotivated




what are the 20 other things that it


could also be let's start there


now are there some people in the world


who are maybe unmotivated absolutely


you hired them which means you bear some




if it's if it's time to transition them


to help them find another place where


they're going to be a better fit


we can't yell at them and call them


stupid unmotivated and push them out the




we have to bear some of the


responsibility we hired them and if we


made a mistake and hired somebody who's


a bad cultural fit


then we have to take care of them and


help them transition to somewhere where


they're going to be


a better fit i think that you know if we


only focus on


motivating people and that's a factor




um you're only going to get very finite


thinking an excessive amount of


motivating things like hit this number


get this bonus


you'll get a motivated employee pool


that doesn't care about each other might


stab each other in the back


and eventually we'll take a better job


somewhere else we have to inspire people


we have to give them that sense of cause


and vision that their work is worth more


we have to make them feel like they


matter and feel like they're seen and


heard and understood


and what ends up happening is those


people are not only more vote motivated


and inspired


but if they're offered a better higher


paying job somewhere else they turn it




because it's not just about the bonuses


and the money it's because they would


rather be here with these wonderful





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