Jeff Haden: busting The Motivation Myth

Best-selling author and Inc. columnist on how super-successful people overcome obstacles and stay focused

Update: This event has already taken place.

On April 19-21, 2018, ARCSI will present the 2018 ISSA Leadership Summit in Tucson, AZ. Business owners in the cleaning industry will have a rare opportunity to learn from three extraordinary business experts on how to become a better CEO. Inc. Magazine’s most popular columnist, Jeff Haden, will speak on the morning of April 20. Cleaning Business Today spoke with Haden about his new book, The Motivation Myth

CBT: Tell me about The Motivation Myth

JH: The focus of the book is on personal motivation. I do touch on the fact of how readers can motivate their teams. I’m lucky enough in my job that I get to talk to a lot of really, really successful people. For example I was talking to Venus Williams. Obviously, she has been a high-ranked tennis player forever in a field where careers are usually measured in just a few years, not 19 or 20. But she does a bunch of other stuff. She runs a fitness-wear company. She actually designs things and runs the company. She doesn’t just lend her name to it. She also has an interior design company that does work for hotels and fitness clubs. She’s getting a master’s degree. So she has a number of things that she has managed to achieve at a really high level. But at no time did she ever have this lightening bolt moment where she figured out this is what I want to do and this is my life’s purpose and I have all the motivation I need to carry me all the way through. Instead she just looks at things and says, “That’s kind of interesting. I think I’d like to try that.” And she just focuses on getting better. And I thought about that, and about all the other people I have talked to approached it the same way. And then I contrasted that with people who have told me that they’re stuck or just haven’t found their purpose, who haven’t found that one thing they’re meant to do and can’t find the motivation to do something really big. They’re all waiting for this big moment to hit them. And the really successful people—they don’t care about some big moment. They just pick something they want to try to do and they focus on getting a little better every day. They create their own motivation in small doses, as opposed to waiting for this big burst of Tony Robbins-like “walk across the hot coals” motivation.

The premise of The Motivation Myth is that you can create your own long-term motivation by this really cool process. You try to get better at something. You work at it. You see a little bit of improvement, You feel good about that, because we all like to improve. That motivates you to keep going. And if you have a process you follow that allows you to continually improve, and get closer to whatever you’re trying to achieve—if you just focus on that, you can get enough motivation to get to the next day. So where I would apply all that is in how you structure your training, how you teach people to do a job, or how you develop them. You don’t focus on the end goal big picture, and instead say, “Okay, I’m going to show you how to this and to get good at this.” That achievement at small things is motivating to people. They feel like they’re getting somewhere and seeing some success, and you can keep on motivating people that way. As opposed to that old training style where you bring someone in and you feel like you have to show them everything about the job before you turn them loose. Which his really boring and dull! And it doesn’t make you feel like you’ve gotten anywhere. A much better way is to talk a little bit of overview, but then actually get people doing something. Let them see some success, let them get that under their belt. They’ll feel like, “Okay, I got that part. What’s next?” And you can create this really cool virtuous cycle of development and gratification. They think, “I feel good about this. What’s next?” And it works really well.

CBT: You’re known as a LinkedIn Influencer. What does that mean?

JH: You know now anyone can publish an article on LinkedIn if they choose to. Early on, though, LinkedIn was just an aggregation site as far as articles. They would pick material that they felt was appropriate for the audience or that was doing well. And they would feed those onto certain category pages on the site. That was their first way of trying to get you to spend more time on LinkedIn. Then they decided to have original content. But at first they decided to only allow 200 people to be direct publishers on the platform. The rest of their content was still aggregated. They called those people Influencers with a capital “I”. That was their designation; I didn’t call myself this. They invited you to the program and said, “Hey, we know you have an audience and we would like you on there. So this is the only time in my life I’ll be on a list with people like Richard Branson and Bill Gates. They invited me to be a part of it because my Inc. stuff was very popular, and they would oftentimes pull my articles over to LinkedIn because they were being shared so widely by LinkedIn users. That was how I got such a big following on LinkedIn. For awhile it was a captive audience of sorts. That was their way of getting people used to the fact that you could publish directly to LinkedIn and there was value there. Then they opened it up and now anyone can publish on LinkedIn. I’m still an Influencer. They still have the program. They still feature us to some degree

CBT: You have done a lot of ghost writing—over 50 books, including 7 Amazon category number ones. All non-fiction?

JH: All non-fiction. I couldn’t write a story to save myself.

CBT: What’s your background for all that content?

JH: I spent 20 years in manufacturing before I started writing. I worked my way up from the bottom. I worked my way through college and started at an entry-level job. Eventually I ran a plant and had about a thousand people that reported to me. That was kind of my dream and goal. Then I decided to do something different. So I have a very solid management, business, leadership background. And that made it a lot easier for me to be a ghost writer for people in business. I wasn’t a writer that they had to teach about business. We could talk shorthand about what it was they wanted to say, and then I was good at writing. My advantage in the ghost writing world is that I know how to run a company—I’ve done it too.

CBT: What kind of manufacturing were you in?

JH: Book manufacturing. I worked for R.R. Donnelley, which is the largest commercial printer. For awhile I was in production. Then I managed all the part-time people, so I had cats to herd. Then I worked in customer service. I worked in production control. I was in charge of accounting. I have a little bit of sales. So I have direct experience in pretty much all the pieces of running a business. I have been involved in many of the same challenges that a small business owner faces.

CBT: What do you have in store for the attendees at the ISSA Leadership Summit?

JH: When I speak in Tucson, it’s going to be a lot about the mistakes I have made and what I’ve learned, not about how I’m awesome. I’ll cover what I have done and what I’m know, and things I have learned from some very successful people, that cleaning business owners can also apply.

Jeff Haden is a ghostwriter, a speaker, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc., and the author of The Motivation Myth, from Penguin Random House. The Motivation Myth overturns the beloved (but false) idea that motivation leads to success; instead, small successes lead to constant motivation — and let you achieve your biggest goals while also having more fun. @jeff_haden

2018 ISSA Leadership Summit
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Tucson, AZ
April 19-21, 2018
Presented by: ISSA Building Service Contractors (BSC) Council and ARCSI, A Division of ISSA

Discover the secrets of successful leadership to help improve your bottom line. This three-day professional development program was created for owners and key executive staff of residential and commercial cleaning companies. Visit sunny Arizona and bring back fresh ideas for your business.


Austin Walker
 is Creative Director for Cleaning Business TodayCleaning Business Builders, and Castle Keepers House Cleaning. He is a producer, videographer, web designer, and novelist. Austin worked for four years at CNN and for sixteen years at an ABC affiliate.


Cleaning Business Today
is a publication of Tom Stewart and Derek Christian, who also partner in Castle Keepers House Cleaning, one of the fastest growing professional house cleaning services in the US.

By |2018-08-10T12:28:59+00:00March 16th, 2018|Sponsored Articles|