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Employers need only two things of their employees: that they are able to do their jobs, and that they are motivated to do so.

Motivation is that which moves us. But exactly what does impel us to act in the ways that we do? 

The most widely known model of motivation is Maslow's Hierarchy.

An even simpler view is that we have three driving needs: (a) for a sense of control, so we can stay alive and manage our environment, (b) for a sense of identity, so we can relate to others and know our position and (c) for novelty so we will be impelled to improve and evolve. In situations of change, the first two these, a sense of control and of identity, are almost always hit in some way.

When we are involved in creating change, where we must persuade others to think or act differently, the motivation factors are often the trickiest. This makes a sound understanding of motivation a fundamental skill for a successful change agent.

If you want to get into more detail, motivation is a core aspect of psychology and many books have been written on the subject. Go study.

See also:

Maslow's Hierarchy

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