You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Motivation’ tag.

The good news? We paid off our mortgage last week!

What are YOU celebrating?

Advertisements

james-padolsey-154227Has your business turned into a slog?

It’s real easy for that to happen, you know. You’re trying to make progress on a bazillion details, and there’s a new challenge every three minutes.

At the end of the day, it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. Then you get to come back tomorrow and do it again.

And again.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s an exciting new year, fresh with possibilities.  But if you just do what you did before, you’ll get the same result.

So what are you going to do different this year?

Getting toward the end of the year, it’s valuable to review progress for 2016 and look forward to what challenges we want to take on in 2017!

“You work for the customer. I don’t pay you. They do.”
—Jean-François Zobrist, CEO of FAVI

customersI came across this thought-provoking quote today, which referenced a 2012 article in Fast Company Magazine.

The article itself is how FAVI has created an extremely flat organization, and it’s well worth reading.  But what got me thinking was the concept of:  Management doesn’t pay you.  Customers do.

I find that to be a startlingly clear way of communicating why we’re in business.

Read the rest of this entry »

abstractWe’ve talked a lot about the mission of your business, and driving employee engagement from that.

It works the other way around, too!

Your employees have a broad range of interests:  family, sports, social groups, hobbies, and so on. What do they have to do with job performance? Don’t they actually take time away from work?

Read the rest of this entry »

power plugYou can have the best strategy on the planet, but nothing gets delivered without your people. They are the powerful core of a great business.

What happens when your workforce isn’t pushing your strategy forward? Well, two things are happening. Some people are headed off in random directions, so you end up with chaos. Others are too afraid to take any significant action at all, so you get nothing.

Neither of those achieves your goals.

We all understand that a team’s actions, individually and collectively, must be focused on the right objectives. That’s what management does.

But out here in the real world, it’s not just about breaking big goals into team objectives and individual actions. If you stick to that, your competition will swiftly overtake you. You’ve ended up with a bureaucracy, where following The Plan is more important than actually moving forward.

This is where leadership comes in. Management operates best with logic and procedure, while leadership calls upon inspiration and emotion. Together, the two elicit focus, dedication, teamwork and self-management.

I’m not saying that your company needs to be overtly emotional. For instance, look at President Kennedy’s moon-shot program during the 1960s. NASA was an amazing engineering organization, and engineers aren’t exactly known to be emotional. But they were absolutely inspired, dedicated and focused — even to the degree that momentum powerfully continued past JFK’s death in 1963.

That’s also a great example of how inspiration is infectious. Congress was absolutely dedicated to the program as well, ensuring generous funding. The Legislature could have done nothing without NASA, and NASA would have done nothing without Congress.

Likewise, your leaders and managers can do little without your workers and partners. They, in turn, will achieve nothing of value without management processes and leadership inspiration.

Together, you can be absolutely unstoppable.

That brings up a major issue, though, with powerful objects. Consider a supertanker, or a freight train, or a rocket engine. They struggle with making quick changes of direction.

Your business needs to operate in a competitive environment, with shifting customer demands and ever-changing technology. In some industries, include unstable government regulation.

Yet your people are good at doing things a certain way, and management structures reinforce sticking to what’s worked well in the past.

This is where true leadership makes the most impact. The best leaders I’ve seen are the ones who refuse to sacrifice the core values and mission of an organization. make timely decisions to alter goals and strategies to keep up with (and lead) change, and drive the management systems to quickly align the workforce around a new direction.

This sounds contradictory: How are we to change direction but not change our mission? We can do it because these are two distinct levels.

Perhaps your deepest personal values are to be healthy and have a long, happy life. Within that, there are many options. A new exercise device comes out that helps you stay healthy while having more fun. Or you get sick for awhile and switch to different exercises. Or you just want to change because you’re tiring of the old routine. All of these changes are perfectly fine for helping you achieve your deeper values.

This is exactly why it’s important to distinguish between the two levels in your business.

If your employees think the purpose of your business is to keep them employed, then they’re operating at a very basic level. You have much bigger goals than that, even ones you would never ever sacrifice.

One way to tell the depth of your goal is with this simple question: Would you rather shut down the business entirely rather than sacrifice the goal? The closer you get to answering “yes,” the more you’ve identified the unshakable foundation of your company.

Does each and every employee understand what that is, and work every day to deliver their part? Is each manager constantly looking for improvements?

Are they inspired?


This article was first published in BizWest.

I’m shocked sometimes by how many business owners think that the transaction with employees is all about exchanging work for money.

That’s what’s on the surface, but it must not stop there. Yes, you can get work in return for pay. But you’re unlikely to get productivity, passion, and caring.

There’s two reasons why this matters. Read the rest of this entry »

OK, I’m going to show my age here.

Jack-Palance-as-Curly-shows-One-Thing-in-City-SlickersIn the 1991 movie City Slickers, there’s a conversation between the wide-eyed Mitch (Billy Crystal) and the grizzled veteran Curly (Jack Palance):

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?

[holds up one finger]

Curly: This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean s**t.

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

Read the rest of this entry »

orgI work with businesses all the time which are struggling with their employee programs and benefits.  It’s something you know you have to do in order to be seen as a solid employer and retain your folks.

But it’s so easy to get mired down in all the details!

The details are important, sure, but you can lose your way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow my Tweets @carldier