Motivated Incompetence

“Go Team!”

“You are a Winner!”

“Just Believe!”

I’ve often heard that people just need motivation. As if poor performance is just a communication problem.

Motivation speaker fires up crowd

“Oh the poor people, we just didn’t tell them the inspiring words that would bring them success.”

However, motivation alone, without proper training, attitude, and experience, just leads to motivated incompetence. Once “fired up,” the motivated incompetent people can do their job wrong even faster!

Granted, inspiration can be beneficial to most people. We’re human. Emotions do impact our behavior. However, the extent of the impact, good or bad, is a choice that few realize they have available. You are the only person that can really control your own behavior, your own attitude, and your own choices.

Successful teams, businesses, and people are disciplined to be self-motivated. They think about how to think. They have learned that they can be the master of their emotions, of their attitude, and of their progress. This is where success develops, not simply a prize awarded to those who are “the most fired up!”

Sure, life and business can and will create obstacles. But it is not what happens to you, it is about what you do with what happens to you. Motivate yourself to be competent, disciplined, and educated. It is a mental choice you can make, but only if you choose to do so.


Glenn S. PhillipsGlenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself.  You can email Glenn directly at

Glenn is also the founder, and Senior Consultant, of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.

© Copyright 2013. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.