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How to drive team performance with the power of motivation?

Organisations spend enormous amounts of time discussing strategy – but how much time do you focus on shaping the culture?



Peter Drucker once said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Organisations spend enormous amounts of time discussing strategy – but how much time do you focus on shaping the culture? Are you as a leader creating the culture of performance? Is your staff motivated? Why are some employees more motivated than others? How to motivate people? These are the fundamental questions every leader needs to ask herself daily.

The authors of this article have spent over a decade helping organizations in Vietnam to build motivated, high performing teams. In most cases, the initial challenge these organizations face are: lack of understanding about the factors that cause motivation, and the fact that managers either underestimate their own role in motivating employees or don’t know how to do it.

In order to help company leaders address these challenges, we organized a workshop which helped leaders to understand the key issues and come up with plans for building the culture of high performance in their own organizations. The interest was beyond our expectations.

We welcomed over 60 senior managers from companies deeply committed to building highly motivated teams and high performance culture, such as: Biti’s, Aviva, ABA Logistics, CarePlus, Cargill, GUMAC, ELSA, Hong Leong Bank, Lotte, Shopee, Tiki, Saigon Children’s Charity, Leaders Create Leaders, and Tribee.

This article will share the key realizations from the workshop: Drive strong team performance with the power of motivation by Warren Eng and – Leadership coaching expert, Founder & CEO of Leaders Create Leaders, and Paweł Górski – Founder & CEO of Tribee – Employee Motivation Platform.

What is the role of culture and motivation?

Contrary to common belief, a company culture is not formed when the leadership decides to create it. Corporate culture is formed as soon as the first employees join the organization because culture is created by people, their behaviours, thoughts, and attitudes when working together.

Company’s leadership has a simple choice: let the culture be shaped on its own or proactively define the behaviours and attitudes they believe are essential for their company’s success. And, it’s an everyday effort to communicate, walk- the- talk, promote, and recognize these behaviours which build the desired culture.


For example, at Tribee, the team defined their culture as the expectations they have towards each other in the team which they believe would make them successful as individuals and as a business. For example, some of the team members regularly find new books or articles helping them to do their work better, ask inquisitive questions, and go beyond their job description to learn more about other areas of work.

They realized it was an essential behaviour to ensure the company continuously developed. That’s why “Constantly Growing” is one of the behaviours the Tribee team members expect from each other every day. Other team expectations they defined are: caring about the Tribee universe (team members & people and organizations we seek to serve), proactive ownership, creating positive ‘Wow’! experiences, and voicing ideas, opinions & failures fearlessly.

Team expectations defined by Tribee team members to each other
Team expectations defined by Tribee team members to each other

What is motivation?

Motivation on the other hand is the answer to the WHY question: “Why do I do what I do?”, “Why do I do what company wants me to?”. It’s the force that drives our actions. Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains behaviors intended to reach certain goals. Results our companies achieve rely in large part on the performance of the employees.

Only by knowing what motivates the employees to fulfill their responsibilities at work, do we have to help them increase their performance, and therefore business results. There are two types of motivation. It may come from external factors (extrinsic motivation), e.g. money, benefits & perks, status, praise, competition, fear. It also comes from internal factors (intrinsic motivation), e.g. freedom, relationships, sense of belonging, learning, mastery, or purpose.

What is a leader’s role in motivating employees?

It’s critical! Successful leaders operate in the mindset that they are working for their teams, and not the team working for them! One of the leader’s key jobs is to help each employee to stay motivated. It means that the leaders must choose and address the right motivation factors (intrinsic or extrinsic) at the right time, and at the right place.

Each of your employees is different. They have different personalities, different goals, and needs. Leaders’ responsibility is to understand each team member and how these differences impact the dynamics in the team. 

A powerful tool for each manager is to understand 6 core human needs and how to apply them to motivate employees and drive high performance.

What are the 6 core human needs?


What is the income I can be certain about? Will I be paid the correct amount on time? What are promised benefits like holidays, insurance? Is the bonus scheme transparent? Is my work evaluated fairly and am I treated with respect? Do I feel safe at work so that even if mistakes happen, it won’t make me lose my job? When there is enough certainty, it empowers employees to gain motivation from uncertainty.

Uncertainty / change

Are there any occasional changes that make my work more exciting? New goals? New challenges? Do I get a chance to do different things? Or do things differently? Do I get new experiences?


In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work? Do people at work care about me as a person? How do people perceive me and how do I perceive myself? At work, does my opinion count? While so important, significance as a need is often underestimated in Asian cultures. We tend to confuse humility with underestimating ourselves and others.

Therefore, we miss the opportunity to contribute by giving recognition to others, and giving it in the right way! Addressing the need of significance by employee recognition is so powerful and it’s free to give. That’s why we want to address it in more detail here. 

Why is employee recognition so important? 

Paweł, the author of this article, in the past used to work as a sports coach for children as young as three years old. After every completed drill, the first thing the children would do, was to raise their heads up and look towards their parents. They were expecting praise, acknowledgement that they had done well. Parents praise and cheering were the fuel helping the kids to stay focused on the activities and become better.

You may think that such desire for praise only refers to children and once we get more mature, we must be professional and not expect someone to recognize our work because work is what we get paid for, it’s our job! Our friend working as a senior manager in a large multinational company once shared: “I would love my boss to give me feedback from time to time when I do a good job. I know she cares about me and in annual reviews she tells me that she appreciates my work. But It’s such a long time to wait to hear a good word from her…”. From early age throughout adulthood, humans are hardwired to desire recognition.


This is also why the founders of Tribee employee motivation app decided to make employee recognition the central part of the Tribee app design. Paweł Górski, the founder of Tribee says: “While companies spend huge amounts of money to motivate employees through compensation, bonuses, benefits, company trips and other events, recognition is free and when done right, it’s a powerful motivator!”.

About the authors:

Paweł Górski is the co-founder & CEO of – the employee motivation app with a mission of enabling employee motivation for sustainable happiness. Tribee helps clients to improve key business metrics such as revenue, cost, customer satisfaction. The platform allows companies to connect with their employees directly, understand and address their needs to motivate them and achieve high performance. It proved to be especially important for companies with large, high customer touch-point workforce spread across different locations in Vietnam.

Warren Eng is the founder & CEO of Leaders Create Leaders – a community of powerhouse leaders. LCL offers a Growth Journey that supports leaders to transform themselves and others, stretch their potentials, maximize performance, and create an empowering work culture among organizations. Warren has lived in Vietnam for over 15 years. He has trained and coached employees from top companies in Vietnam such as FWD, Samsung, Pfizer, Abbott, Nestle, among many others.



Excited but anxious: Hanoi business owners reopen



Though they eagerly reopen after being closed for 27 days due to the Covid-19 outbreak, many Hanoi businesses are also worried about changing consumer behaviors.

Closed restaurants inside a shopping mall in Ha Dong District, Hanoi, June 20. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Minh.

Closed restaurants inside a shopping mall in Ha Dong District, Hanoi, June 20. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Minh.

After Hanoi authorities announced that indoor dining and hairdressing can resume on Tuesday, Bui Quang Hung, co-founder of barber shop chain 30Shine, showed his excitement with a post on social media saying, “see you Hanoians on Tuesday morning.”

He said the shops would open from 7.30 a.m. until late night to clear a backlog of almost a month.

“Men have to visit the barber once every three weeks on average because they feel irritated if their hair is one to two centimeters too long.”

There would be two or three times the usual number of customers for two weeks, he said based on his experience from previous waves.

But some other businesses are less hopeful.

Trieu Nguyen Quan, owner of the Goofoo Gelato chain of ice cream shops, does not expect many customers for 10 days after reopening since people are afraid of the pandemic.

Hoang Tung, CEO of fast-food restaurant chain Pizza Home, said the outbreak could cause him to lose a number of customers since people have adopted a new habit of eating at home.

To survive the stop-start nature of their business amid the pandemic, many have sought to improve their business model. Tung said Pizza Home has closed some stores that were not doing well but has expanded into home delivery and apps.

“The restaurants have to operate both online and offline, and must be prepared for the worst, which is closure, amid the pandemic.”

Goofoo Gelato too has managed to pull on thanks to online sales.

Quan said he plans to increase the number of outlets but only after vaccination. He said vaccination is the only way to make him feel secure and the ultimate solution for businesses to open and the economy to revive.

Around 2 percent of the population has received the first shot, and 0.1 percent has received both.

Vietnam has received delivery of around three million vaccine doses so far, and is expected to get over 120 million this year.

It seeks around 150 million in all to cover 70 percent of its population.


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Market falls on strong selling forces



A worker collecting latex in a rubber plantation of Vietnam Rubber Group (GVR)’s member in Chư Păh District, Gia Lai Province. The company shares posted the biggest losses yesterday. — /VNA Photo

HÀ NỘI — Shares inched down on Wednesday, weighed by strong selling pressure across most sectors despite gains in some large-cap stocks. 

The market benchmark VN-Index on the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) declined by 0.22 per cent to 1,376.87 points. The market’s breath stayed negative with 298 stocks falling, while 94 stocks rose and 51 ended flat. 

The liquidity was high as more than 710.77 million shares were traded on the market, worth over VNĐ21.1 trillion (US$528.6 million).

The market was weighed by selling forces despite rallies in large-cap stocks, especially bank stocks. 

The VN30-Index, which tracks 30 biggest stocks in market capitalisation on HoSE, climbed slightly 0.02 per cent to 1,489.53 points. Twenty stocks of the VN30 basket plummeted, while only nine jumped and one stayed unchanged. 

Stocks in many sectors posted negative performance yesterday with material stocks leading the market’s trend. Vietnam Rubber Group (GVR) witnessed the biggest losses, down 2.47 per cent, followed by No Va Land Investment Group Corporation (Novaland, NVL), Vingroup JSC (VIC) and Mansan Group (MSN), down 0.5 – 1.57 per cent.

However, the losses were limited by gains in bank stocks. Of which, Vietcombank (VCB) was the biggest gainer in the market, up 1.95 per cent. Other stocks witnessing big increases were Vietinbank (CTG), VPBank (VPB) and Saigon Beer – Alcohol – Beverage Corporation (SAB), up more than 1.5 per cent. 

The market has fluctuated since the beginning of the week with alternative up and down sessions. 

Analysts from Saigon – Hanoi Securities JSC (SHS) said that based on Elliot Theory, there is still room for an upward trend with a resistance level of around 1,400 points. 

Investors who took profits last week should refrain from opening long positions at the current price and wait until the market corrects deeper to come back, SHS added. 

On the Hà Nội Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index plunged 0.41 per cent to 315.8 points. 

During the trading session, more than 126.2 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth nearly VNĐ3 trillion. 

Meanwhile, foreign investors returned to the market as they net bought a value of VNĐ159.5 billion on both exchanges. Of which, they net bought a value of VNĐ144.44 billion on HoSE, and a value of VNĐ15.06 billion on HNX. —


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Local stocks experience gloomy trading day



An investor browses his mobile phone while sitting in front of stock information screens. The local stock market ended lower today, June 23 – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Thanks to the support of securities stocks and largecaps in the banking sector, the benchmark VN-Index of the HCMC stock market only fell slightly amid lackluster trading today, June 23.

At the close, the main index shed 3.1 points, or 0.22% against the previous session at 1,376.87, with 94 stocks rising and up to 298 others dropping.

Turnover on the southern bourse continued its downward trend, contracting 4.8% in volume and 5.7% in value at over 710 million shares and more than VND21 trillion. Shares traded in block deals contributed VND2.050 trillion to the overall value.

In the group of bank stocks, largecaps extended rally which helped the VN-Index to avoid a deep decline.

Private lender VPB was the biggest winner as it soared 4.5% with 30.7 million shares changing hands. Also, State-owned lender VCB added 2%, and its fellows CTG and BID rose 1.5% and 0.9%, respectively. TPB, ACB, and TCB increased slightly by 0.4-0.8%.

Meanwhile, lender LPB was the biggest loser, dropping 2% to its intraday low. Similarly, lenders SSB and EIB lost around 1%.

Many securities stocks maintained their good performance, with HCM surging 3.6%, VDS improving 2.6%, CTS edging up 1.4%.

A lot of fuel and property stocks ended deep in the red.

Among speculative stocks, while a host of them suffered from huge losses, investment firm FIT hit its upper limit, real estate firms SCR and IJC rose slightly.

Property developing group FLC recorded the third straight losing session with a 5.8% drop, but it led the HCMC market by liquidity with 47 million shares changing hands.

On the northern bourse, the HNX-Index lost 1.29 points, or 0.41% over the session earlier to close at 315.8, with 73 advancers and 133 decliners. Over 126 million shares worth more than VND2.8 trillion were transacted on the bourse, falling 22.9% in volume and 21.7% in value versus the previous day.


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