Inspiration versus motivation

I read an interesting piece this weekend on the difference between motivation and inspiration. In our principles of good supplier engagement we talk a lot about both motivation and understanding: the motivation to commit to the requirements of your private brand team and the understanding to do it (whatever ‘it’ is) well; accurate, efficient, on-time and right-first-time.

However, when it comes to inspiration and motivation people often group these words together – that someone was inspired and motivated - but they are in fact very different.

I’ll take leadership specialist Tony Brooks’ example definitions:

Inspiration: Someone or something that gives you ideas for doing something.
Motivation: Enthusiasm for doing something.

In the context of supplier engagement for private brand teams and their suppliers we believe in the importance of motivation. Communications and training need to not just be about the what and the when, but the how and very importantly the why; the motivation to get it done. To complete that survey. To improve compliance. To maintain quality. And so on.

But when it comes to product innovation we can also need inspiration. Again to quote Mr Brooks “We need inspiration to bring new ideas and motivation to see them through”. One way of describing this is to see inspiration as when an idea 'takes you' and motivation as when you then have to 'take the idea'.

Successful private brands must fuel both of these. Motivation can be achieved with a clear vision, engaging communications and essentially a good understanding, which is why you may previously have read our extolment of the benefits of supplier self-help. It is an uphill battle if internal and external teams are not motivated and armed with the understanding to succeed. Successful supplier engagement ensures you can work as ‘One Team’ with your suppliers to achieve more, together.

However, your team may have plenty of motivation to move things forward but lack fresh ideas to make a change.

The most important thing is how we fuel both motivation and inspiration and the latter is extremely difficult when staring at a blank sheet of paper. This is why we see listening to customers as so important and as fundamental behind UBX and our ‘One View’ concept – to consolidate different inputs from different channels such as call centres, returns, social media and your own sensory and benchmark assessments into One View of product performance. Importantly given the volume of data it is then sharing this with your One Team of suppliers to provide ideas which can be the inspiration for change.

If I return to the definition. Inspiration - Something that gives you ideas for doing something.

It is not about more data, it is about more insights. Ideas which inspire product iteration and product innovation to provide winning products and winning private brands.

This is where motivation comes back in!  (…and understanding of course).

Tags: Customer experience, Supplier engagement

James Butcher

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