The Difference Between Motivation and Inspiration

Five years ago, the morning of my first webinar on Cultural Transformation, I was awoken at 3:30am by a huge ahha!  I leapt out of bed, jumping around the room, feeling like I had just found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

It was a realization so powerful it has become my life’s purpose to share with leaders, everywhere. A source of inspiration that comes from within, and no cost to an organization.  I knew this would be an enormous gift, finding a source of inspirational energy which would increase engagement, commitment, and high performance.

How do current management practices seek to increase performance? Perhaps you have created new strategies to attain goals which will enable your organization to continue to grow and develop, or respond to external changes in the environment. You know the new goals will require additional effort and commitment, new values and behaviours, even cultural transformation.

In response to situations like this, management create rewards to motivate and incent new behaviours to achieve the goals. Unfortunately, external rewards to motivate are short-lived.  They have a short shelf-live because they fail to connect to the true source of inspiration, which is found internally within us.

True inspiration creates enthusiasm, energy and commitment.  It’s long lasting, unlimited, and generates high performance. When you inspire a person you are connecting to their sense of purpose. A higher purpose connected to personal growth and wanting to make a difference.

How can leaders tap into this source of inspiration? What is this source of unlimited human potential which inspires humanity to do great things, over achieve, give self-less service toward making a difference? This was my ahha moment.

Our human values.

Yes, we all have them. They are a gift that connects each of us to one another, at the heart level.  The power and effectiveness lies in leaders learning how to work with human values consciously and effectively. Awakening them is part of the transformation process in changing mindsets, behaviours, culture, systems and structures.

When you respect and trust someone, where does this feeling come from? Your head or your heart?  Values are the language of the heart because this is where we experience them, and the energy of the heart does not lie.

Consciously building a work environment that enlivens respect and trust has tremendous potential. Ask yourself: How do you feel when you are respected and trusted? What is the impact on your performance? How would you feel if you did not experience respect and trust? What impact would this have on your performance?

When you find out the values which are important to your people, and seek to enliven these values in the workplace, you are tapping into an unlimited source of inspiration, power, and potential to achieving your goals.

You can easily test this by conducting a Small Group Values Assessment. Discover how to tap into the human potential in your organization by awakening the life force energy in values.

Values-driven organizations are the highest performing. They are 1649% more profitable than the S&P500 over a 15 year period.  In times of economic downturn, they are the first to recover.  Why? When employees’ basic needs and growth needs are met, they bring  enthusiasm and commitment into the workplace, inspiring innovation, creativity and high performance.

Remember, your long-term power as a leader comes from inspiring your people, not just motivating them. Seek to connect to the soul of your organization by working with values, the language of the heart, a gift we are all born with.

Much love from Singapore,


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To find out what your personal values are that empower you to higher performance and productivity, take a Free Personal Values Assessment.

To learn how well aligned you are with your workplace culture and what is impact performance, contact us for an Individual Values Assessment

To learn how to map, measure and manage the culture of your team or organization with our Culture Value Assessment for Teams and Organizations.

Joanna Barclay, Global Speaker, Published Author, and Thought-Leader on Cultural Transformation. 

With 30 years in business transformation working with organizations, Joanna’s passion lies in working with leaders, facilitating active participation in organizational change, developing resourceful teams and aligning strategic objectives. Her goal is to help organizations become high performing and values-driven, where people take ownership, build commitment and bridge communication gaps. As CEO of the Culture Leadership Group, she ensures successful transformation from concept through to implementation.