L2L: How Major Companies Motivate Their Employees

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Hey Leaders: Lighten Up a Little

Walt Disney

One of my favorite Walt Disney quotes is, “That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”

Now think about it a minute. You don’t need to “grow up,” in the common sense of the word, to be “professional” or a “leader,” It’s all about how you embrace yourself – your attitude – and how you present yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having some “kid” left in you. Having that bit of kid makes you more approachable – more likeable – easier to associate with.

The Right Balance

We all know the people who have changed as they’ve been promoted. They become more (too) serious and in the process lose touch with the people they supervise. They lose the kid in themselves – quite often on purpose.

When you lose that part of you it causes you to lose your:

  • flexibility
  • understanding
  • communication
  • ability to retain employee’s
  • ability to empathize.

It may also cause you to destroy your:

  • culture
  • ability to attract talent
  • current relationship’s.

What am I saying here? Act like a child? Not at all. Just keep an open mind. Continue with that ability to relate to your employees – on all levels. You did it as a peer so why lose it as a supervisor. Have some fun. Think about the best work experience you’ve ever had. I bet it had something to do with having fun.

Being An Encourager

A number of years ago I had a manager, a leader, (we’ll call him Bob) that was moving up quickly. Our team worked extremely well together and enjoyed it. We could joke around with Bob – not like a “buddy” – and we could all brainstorm to come up with any off-the-wall idea. In fact, it was encouraged. That’s a big key – no matter how goofy the idea, there may be something to it. You can’t cut ideas down. Bob always smiled, was energetic, and even poked a little fun at himself now and then. Bob’s position was putting him pretty high, but we were always on a first name basis.

But something, we don’t know what, happened in his life that drained the kid out of him. He became that serious “professional”, and it was all downhill from there. There was no more fun, no more lunches together, no more cohesiveness . . . and no more goofy ideas. People started transferring and Bob’s quick climb came to a screeching halt.

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Organizations Who Have Fun

What’s one of the most common things that the most successful organizations have with each other? They have fun. People are allowed to hold on to that most precious part of their personal history.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Disney
  • Zappos
  • Flickr
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Cisco

If employees can say that they’re having fun at work, it also means that they’re not as uptight and communication will flourish because people are easier to approach.

Fun, But Serious

Now, they call it work for a reason. So I don’t mean wear a red nose, do magic tricks or a stand-up acts all day long. However, a sense of humor can go a very long way. It’s a great way to bond with people. It instantly lightens the mood and lifts morale.

The office is the office. There has to be some seriousness also. Some of us are in some very serious occupations. Just remember that no matter how serious the work is, it’s still being performed by human beings and we all need a little time to lighten the mood. As a leader, you have to be accessible and able to hear and sense when performance is needing a lift. Better yet is to not even wait that long.

Terminal Seriousness?

Do you know the general tone of your office or work environment?

Take this short quiz from Jody Urquhart to get an idea whether your staff is suffering from terminal seriousness.

Yes or No

Do you regularly catch people laughing or smiling at work?

YES or NO

When something funny happens do people stop and appreciate it?

YES or NO

Does your organization have fun activities at least monthly?

YES or NO

Do you have tools (fun giveaways, drawings) to invite employees to participate in having fun in your environment?

YES or NO

Are managers usually optimistic and smiling at work?

YES or NO

If you answer NO to two or more of these questions, your staff probably suffers from “terminal seriousness,” which is negatively affecting morale and productivity.

The Right Environment

If you need to create a turnaround in your culture, just remember, it’s not your job to MAKE work fun but rather it’s your job to create the conditions where fun and happiness can flourish.

Are your employees relaxed, or uptight? Do you see many smiles at work? Are you projecting a positive attitude? What can you do to create the opportunity for fun?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Andy Uskavitch

Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development and Customer Service Specialist
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

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Leading a Healthy Life After Retirement

So you’ve finally made it to the promise land of retirement, woo hoo! You’re probably ready to relax the days away with an ice cold drink by the blue pool that even the deepest blue eyes would be jealous of.

But let’s just slow down a little bit, you still need your health to enjoy all the money you have saved, right?

Here are 3 ways to get healthy and active after retirement.

1. Make a Habit of Exercise – Don’t Break the Chain!

Habits are very powerful actions that can positively or negatively affect your life. When you perform an action enough times consistently, it becomes habit. If that action is beneficial, you’ve successfully added a habit that will improve your life. So how do you make a habit out of exercise? Simple! Create something you won’t want to break, a chain.

This method was Jerry Seinfeld’s secret to productivity. All you have to do is put a big calendar on your wall, refrigerator, or whatever part of the house you walk through often. On this calendar, make a “checkmark key.”

For example, a red checkmark means you completed your daily exercise. Now for every day you successfully complete that exercise, make a checkmark on that day. Soon enough, you’ll have a streak going, a chain, and you’re gonna do everything you can to keep from breaking that chain. Eventually, exercising will become habit.

If you are new to exercising, ease yourself into it by doing light work. Some examples would be walking, jogging, or swimming in the pool.

2. Find Fun Activities that Keep You Active

There’s no better way to stay active than to combine fun with it. Regularly participating in a fun activity will keep you healthy, and you won’t even feel like you’re exercising. Some examples include golfing, playing sports with kids or grandkids, or going to dance classes with your significant other.

Not only will these activities improve your physical health, but they will improve your mental health as well. You’ve heard the saying “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Well, it’s true! Since humans naturally tend to think about negative aspects of their life when they are idle, these fun activities will have your mind positively stimulated.

Sitting at home on the couch all day will cause you to look back on what you’ve accomplished and will make you face the fact that you are wasting your days away, which will bring about stress.

The last thing you pictured having during retirement was stress, so let’s keep it that way!

3. Quality Slumber Achieves a High Number

High number of course, means age, a longer life. As people age, the quality of their sleep tends to go down. Sleep is when all the magic happens in our bodies. Everything is shut down and the body’s sole purpose is to repair us and get us ready for the next day. Any wrench in this process is going to show when you wake up to start your day.

It can be very easy to sleep in after retirement with no more work commitments, but one of the best things you can do for your sleep is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Our bodies get used to a regular bedtime and wake up time. When you maintain a strict sleep cycle, your body knows exactly when to produce sleep and wake hormones, making for the best quality sleep.

If you are already having trouble sleeping, try maintaining a very strict sleep-wake schedule. If that doesn’t improve the quality of your sleep, it may be time to try some sleep aids following the recommendations of a doctor. But be careful, you’ll still want to regularly speak with your doctor as well as check online pharmacy reviews as time goes on.

It’s easy to overlook the power of sleep since you may be so accustomed to your current sleeping habits, but they can probably be improved. You spend about a third of your life in a bedroom sleeping those hours away, so why not make them really count?

Enjoy the Carefree Life You’ve Worked So Hard For!

Hopefully you have picked up some useful information and realized the importance of staying healthy and active after retirement. You deserve an enjoyable life for the hard work you’ve put in over these many years.

Here’s to a healthy, long, and happy retirement!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————
Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

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On Leadership and The Value You Bring Your Followers

Value Proposition

So Leaders: What’s your value proposition to your followers?

The employee is regarded by the employer merely in the light of his value as an operative. His productive capacity alone is taken into account.” ~ Leland Stanford

Compelling Value Proposition

In the world of modern sales and marketing, providing customers and clients with a compelling value proposition is the maxim.

  • Companies strive to engage by enticing potential customers with a vision of what life might be like if their pain were removed or they could achieve their dream.
  • Every effort is expended to nurture the customer until they beg to find out how this dream can be realised.
  • Then and only then is the solution provided and heaven help the company that fails to deliver the promised value.
  • This is not an equal exchange of value because modern consumers expect value greater than the money they pay.

Why then do many employers not have the same value proposition approach to their most valuable capital, their employees?

Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” ~ Warren G. Bennis

Making Value Choices

All organisations want to recruit and retain high potential internally motivated staff to achieve the company mission.

>>> So what’s in it for the employee and why should they choose you over other opportunities.

>>> More importantly, what is it you do for them that would make them want to stay? (It is not just about money…)

>>> What is your value proposition for them and how do you intend to deliver it persistently and consistently?

Making Monetary Choices

To paraphrase Vernon Hill at Metro Bank, how do you turn your staff into fans not just your customers?

Telefonica O2 said, “An organisation that does not enlist its own staff to its ‘fan base’ is not maximising its long-term value.

Does it make a financial difference?

Towers Perrin-ISR’s 2006 findings four:

Those companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2 per cent over a period of 12 months, whilst those companies with low engagement scores saw operating income decline by 32.7 per cent over the same period.

Over a 12 month period, those companies with high engagement scores demonstrated a 13.7 per cent improvement in net income growth whilst those with low engagement saw net income growth decline by 3.8 per cent.

Making Value Propositions

You can find much more on the business benefits of a values proposition to employees in a report to the UK Government “Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement

So, let’s look at the employer/employee relationship at its most basic.

An employee offers their effort and expertise to an organisation and in turn they gain reward most usually but not always in the form of money. Balancing the equation is the hard part. The employee wants a fair reward for a certain level of input and the employer wants the maximum amount of input from the employee for as little as is reasonable to pay them.

It might be expressed as:

Motivation = Perception of benefits minus Perception of costs

The ideal situation arises when an employee invests “above and beyond the call of duty” just because they are motivated to do so by other factors outside of remuneration. Somehow their internal motivation has been triggered and they are self-sustaining. What value can you the employer give to your staff which would likely catalyse this behaviour or at least create the environment for it to develop? Peter Drucker said:

The true business of every company is to make and keep customers.” ~ Peter Drucker

But he also said:

Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

If we synthesise the two we might get:

The true business of every company (organization) is to make it easy for its staff to make and keep clients

The Tangible and Intangible Factors

The value given to followers comprises both tangible and intangible factors.

Key contributions might be:

  • Authentic listening
  • Identification of direct interferences restricting employees’ capability to achieve goals
  • Mitigating or removing such interferences

This is essentially the same thinking used daily by sales people to convert a prospect into a customer. Warm the prospect up first with sincere enquiry to identify their pains and dreams and then explain how the pain can be removed or their dreams achieved by your product or service.

You can find a compilation of the personal visions of 12 TED speakers on the subject of inspiring, values proposition-based leadership here.

Sellling The Vision

Ask yourself tehse questions:

  • So, how might your task as a leader alter if you considered your purpose was to “sell” the vision of working (and staying) with your organisation as a value proposition?
  • What value would they receive in “buying” into your offer?
  • How can you maintain, nuance and increase the value they receive in order to keep them?

This does not mean you roll over and give more than you can afford but we are not just talking about the money here. As has been proven so many times the last thing you talk about with sales prospects is the cost the first is what will change for them and by how much. Why would you expect the mindset of your staff to be different?

Your key actions for today

  • In today’s conversations with staff did you add value or take it?
  • Are your organisation’s job adverts value propositions?
  • Review one report’s job description today – on a scale of 1 to 10 is this a value proposition or a description of demands (i.e. tasks and responsibilities).

Further Reading

Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern ManagementWilliam A. Cohen PhD

For those will an interest in basic research on the psychology of business:

Harter, Hayes and Schmidt (Gallup, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and University of Iowa) Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

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Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————– 
Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Web | Book

Image Sources: businesslaunchpad.org.uk

Carrot and Stick: An Epic Fail in the 21st Century?

So, if we repair this mismatch between what science knows and what business does, if we bring our notions of motivation into the 21st century, if we get past this lazy, dangerous, ideology of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses. ~ Dan Pink

Today’s Challenge

Here’s the challenge. How do you maintain your own motivation and that of the people who work with you? Our experience tells us a balanced programme of incentives and targets is the way to go. Paradoxically, pretty much every independent laboratory and work-place study shows the opposite is true.

So what is the right approach?

Well as always it really depends.

“Offer someone the opportunity to rebuild a company or reinvent an industry as the primary incentive, and it will attract those drawn to the challenge first and the money second.” ~ Simon Sinek

Dan Pink, a thought leader on motivation in business, proposes in his TED talk that carrots and sticks are only useful for simple linear tasks requiring little creativity or flexibility in approach; what he refers to as 20th Century challenges.

Just The Facts…

This strategy backfires when more challenging, fast moving, multifaceted problems with no clear solutions are encountered. Here research shows that incentives actually reduce performance and achievement!

Seems crazy but an overwhelming body of objective evidence shows this is the case.

So, why ignore facts?

As a good example of this research, Uri Gneezy and his colleagues Stephan Meier, and Pedro Rey-Biel describe very well the unplanned consequences which can arise from introducing incentives for education, public good, or behaviour and also when they are withdrawn.

Intriguingly, it seems that crowds also behave counter intuitively in response to incentives. In their fascinating on-line experiment using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (AMT), Winter Mason and Duncan J Watts showed that financial incentives increased the quantity but decreased the quality of work performed by participants.

If we then look at what it takes to create intrinsic motivation to change whole systems Michael Fullen takes a pretty good shot at it.

21st Century Challenges

How then should we approach complex uncertain 21st Century challenges? The answer is to go to the solutions that we know in our hearts are the answer.

If you are leading a team or an organisation, first take a minute to investigate what motivates you:

  • The money is nice but again the evidence shows that this is not even close to the top motivating factor in work
  • Do you enjoy being trusted to make decisions (autonomy)?
  • Do you enjoy the feeling of command of your business subject (mastery) and do you enjoy it when you understand why you are doing this thing (purpose)?

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” ~ Denis Waitley

Reaching our Goals

How then do targets get met you may ask? The answer is that if all of us have autonomy and mastery which we apply to a common purpose it is more likely that targets become mere guides rather than endpoints.

More often than not they are over shot by actual achievement.

It also means that the workforce is equipped to adapt to rapid and sometimes extreme change rather than have a myopic fixed target. The last advantage of dumping carrots and sticks is it’s just more enjoyable to turn up to work. A happy workforce focused on meaningful goals is more likely to be a productive workforce.

And that includes you!

All Things Considered

Consider this:

  • Notice which things and events left you feeling positive and motivated – were they carrots or sticks, simple or complex and most of all how did this affect your motivation?
  • Look for any moments where you exercised your autonomy and/or mastery – how did it make you feel?
  • Notice the effect on you if things you did today felt as if they had no purpose?
  • Chose one thing to do that shows your autonomy, mastery and purpose and sense how you feel.
  • Reflect on whether those you work with might have similar experiences.

Recommended Reading:

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel H Pink

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Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
 Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Web

Image Sources: ted.com 

 

Engaging Adult Learners: Avoiding the Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole Learning

What comes to mind when you think about designing coursework and presenting the staff development content to a group you’ve never met? 

Perhaps is it nervousness? Dread? Excitement?

Designing for Adults

It can be a challenge to design learning sessions for adults whom you don’t know personally. I’ve experienced the good and the bad when it comes to presenting. Facilitators, trainers and instructors can face a myriad of challenges that can make them wonder if they are truly being effective.

And not all of the post-training survey questionnaires (aka “smile sheets”) really provide the kind of honest feedback needed for course or delivery improvement.

So what is the best way to configure and design the most effective course content for adult learners? Well, a lot of answers pertain, but probably the most important one is participant engagement.

5 Ways to Engage Adult Learners

Here are five ideas that have helped me engage a crowd:

1) Backward Planning

Decide what it is you want the audience to know, understand, and be able to do at the end of the training. Be very specific with this. Then plan the training so as to maximize time and achieve the goals.

Show others you value their time by not wasting it on unnecessary tasks that don’t lead to a greater and deeper understanding of the topic or training. Comedians are not the only ones who face “tough crowds.”

Don’t be a time waster! Instead, be a bucket filler!

2) Have a Hook

In his book “Teach Like A Pirate,”  Dave Burgess emphasizes the importance of capturing a student’s attention with a hook. The same technique is important (and just as effective) when working with adult learners.

The first few minutes of any training determine whether or not you will draw them in-or have them thinking of what to fix for dinner instead. I have used funny videos that relate to the topic, pictures, and even storytelling.

What matters here is that your choice is relevant, brief, and motivating.

For example, recently I delivered a training on progress monitoring and examining data. Not very exciting stuff.  So I used storytelling  to pique interest. I started the session off with this:

“For the next few minutes, I want you to imagine progress monitoring in a way you never have before. Imagine it as a map. A map you will develop and use on your journey toward maximizing student progress.”

My audience was quietly listening and immediately intrigued by this. They wanted to hear the rest of the story. They wanted to become a part of the story.

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3) Respect Learning Styles

Students are not the only ones who fail to flourish with the “sage on the stage” type of instruction. Engage your audience using activities that draw upon multiple intelligences.

  • If you present with slides, make sure the have limited wording on them…maybe even only an image. The audience will remember what you have said by having an image to which they can relate the thought. There is no need to include every word you are saying on your slides.
  • For every ten minutes you talk, allow an equal opportunity for participants to engage in dialogue with those around them and with the larger group. Be comfortable in the role of “facilitator.”  This is easy to say and most would agree, but often times we fail to do this. Whether due to nerves or time constraints, this seems to be an area we want to cut corners on. Don’t do that.

4) Establish Importance

Nothing helps motivate learners more than seeing a real connection between what is being learned and their own lives. Better still if you can share personal testimony on how you have experienced it.

The National Criminal Justice Reference Center writes this:

“A key principle in adult learning is that the ultimate educator needs to develop an appeal, a “need to know” in the learners—to make a case for the value in their life performance of learning what is offered. At a minimum, this case should be made through testimony from the experience of the instructor.”

5) The Closing

Just as we embrace the importance of the closing in our lessons in class, we must also give this consideration when working with adults.

Allow plenty of time for your participants to ask questions, share insights, and debrief with others.

I often encourage people to use social media both during and at the end of the session to share out their own takeaways. This builds ownership and solidifies the learning while allowing you an opportunity to address any lingering questions.

Include a way to further the conversations after the session ends. You may consider using Today’s Meet, your website, or another back-channeling tool. The learning shouldn’t stop at the end of your session.

Focusing on these five simple areas has helped me tremendously in engaging a group and leaving them inspired and informed…and also avoid many rabbit holes along the way.

What strategies have you found particularly effective when delivering adult training? I’d love to connect and share ideas!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Traci Logue

Traci Logue is an educator at Northwest ISD
She has twice been named Teacher of the Year
Email| LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Web

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On Leadership and The Politics of Onions

The Politics of Onions

There’s an interesting dynamic taking place in India right now. It’s a lesson about creating political change, but it also offers a great insight into how to be more effective as a leader and/or a marketer.

Indian politicians have been battling one another as to how to reverse the country’s declining economy, but no consensus has been reached. (Sound familiar?) However, the weakened economy has taken an interesting twist.

It’s driven the price of onions up dramatically – nearly 5-fold in a month!

On Onions and Culture

While this may not seem like a major event to many of us, in India, it’s catastrophic. Indian families of all social strata eat onions in or with just about every meal. An increasing portion of the population cannot afford to buy onions, and therein lies the interesting dynamic.

As we all know, politicians tend to argue for solutions which favor their own agenda or the agenda of their party. But a groundswell of public protest and discontent is about to change all that. It will change the politics because unhappy constituents tend not to re-elect politicians.

Appreciating the impact of this dynamic can give us an insight into how to be more effective in our leadership and in our marketing.

Motivation is Personal

If you want to motivate people to take action, you must address something that matters to them. Whether we’re talking about politicians, members of our team, or potential customers, people tend to act in their self-interest.

When it comes to leadership, if you want to motivate people to take action, you must appeal to something that matters to them. Setting goals does not motivate most people. Yes, some love the challenge , but many are not motivated by goals.

And, as you’ve probably observed, most people aren’t motivated by more money, either.

What’s In It For Me?

Study after study has demonstrated that more money is pretty low on the list of things that are important to people.

Instead, people appreciate things like:

  • Getting respect
  • Having autonomy
  • Gaining recognition
  • Being Appreciated
  • Having a purpose
  • Taking pride in their work
  • Work/life balance

When it comes to marketing, that old acronym comes to mind – WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?” Prospects are not moved to action by logic – they are moved to action by emotion.

In your marketing, if you can appeal to what matters to them (the benefits) rather than how great you and your products are (the features), you’ll have far more success getting people to take action.

Whether it’s politics, leadership, or marketing, if you want people to act on your behalf, you must give them what they want – what matters to them.

So, as a leader, are you considering what “the onions” are to your team members? Are you looking to their personal, professional, and social aspirations as you lead them? How can you recalibrate your thinking to become more influential with the people that you lead? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Michael Beck
Michael J. Beck is President of Michael Beck International, Inc
He helps leaders improve their personal effectiveness and productivity
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: xleaders | 866-385-8751

Image Sources: livemint.com

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