How do you motivate an elephant to move? You don’t - you ask them to leave if they can’t move by themselves.

The issue of having talent who are already in the organisation who are not wanting to improve or develop themselves or better still improve on their performance is a frustration to many managers. I consider such people dead in their head or just motionless in terms of exuberating any form of potential energy within them.

In the nonprofit world, it is a wonder why people would join an organisation after making their intention so clear at the interview that they are very passionate about the cause and wanting to make a difference only to discover they have have a dearth of drive and are expecting more from the organisation to get them to move than any effort for them to be proactive.

These people's motivation is driven by a certain form of expectation that sets them to think that only and until they receive, or hear or benefit from something or someone, then they will move. They are like a tree, motionless and expecting the wind, an animal or a human being to exert pressure on them before their leaves or fruit will fall.

The question is how do we ever motivate such people to believe in the cause and to work for the organisation. The answer lies in understanding them but most of all being prepared to let them move to another organisation. Let us be frank - we do not have the luxury of time or money to make so much commitment we have to mother the staff to the point only when we advise or instruct they do.

The moment we as managers realise we have such a person with a certain personality that is dead, we have to institute a system of purging. People who are not driven to change for the better should not be in your organisation. 

The process of purging such people needs to be done very carefully and within the framework and legal requirements of the land. Purging will help set a certain culture that emphasis that nothing is certain and that if we do not work hard and make every effort to help the nonprofit beneficiaries - we wasting the time and money of our donors.

Here are some simple steps to help people realise what purging could do to them:

Step 1: Let them know that being pro-active and setting their own direction and demonstrating they can achieve their goals by themselves is what counts - they should be given a stipulated time frame to buck up. This is important as it could be many valid reasons for sometime to be motionless.

Step 2: If they fail to meet Step 1 - they have automatically opted for the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) or a clear cut non-satisfactory performance exit (all within the laws, regulations and best practises of the country).

If they pass Step 1: They should then be subjected to a team work display. They must show they are a team player by demonstrating commitment to the deliverables. The output from the team and the evaluation from the team of their performance will prove to be a decider for their future with the organisation. If they do well, they can move to Step 3., otherwise they move to Step 2. It is important at this point to understand if the job they are carrying out requires from them a top performance as an individual or as a team. This requirement will decide if they are subject to Step 2.

Step 3: They need to demonstrate they are consistent and not faltering in their drive. As a bonus they will be sent for training session to work on their own areas of development. These areas could consider things like, building self-confidence, time-management, learning a new skill etc. Rewards for their effort and accomplishments is important as every organisation does need to celebrate their effort.

How these individuals are monitored should be by the direct supervisor, a stakeholder and the personnel (or someone in charge).

Note: It is at this juncture I have to state that the success of this process falls entirely in how serious the supervisor and organisation is towards the talent development. A Supervisor who is not positive or motivating will find this exercise hopeless and a waste of time at the

If there is no improvement from the staff - the process leads us back to Step 2.

Step 4: Sustaining the drive is critical and it is important to see the person maintain the drive such it talent now believes in themselves and has developed a character of being more pro-active and has a zeal and desire to out-perform .

Such a process does require a review to the steps 1-3 as the process must be aligned to the culture and direction of the organisation.

Sometimes during the process, the talent’s wisdom will prevail and they will make their way automatically to the exit door without any advice or instruction given.