Thursday, 25 October 2012

Turning People 'On!'

Wednesday 17 October, 2007
If you have responsibility for getting results through people, while keeping your costs under control, you'll already have discovered that the challenge of motivation and retention in your organisation is a bit like trying to keep frogs together in a wheelbarrow!
You're up against at least as many different personalities, as you have work stations, with varying levels of expertise, energy and enthusiasm - all of which can turn downwards faster than the Nasdaq. I once heard that there is only one thing more contagious than enthusiasm, and that is the lack of it! I'll bet you've found out that's true.
The solutions are not, of course, in one short article - but there are some fundamental factors of motivation that could help to contribute to success strategies for your team immediately.
Through years of hard work and many well-learned lessons in management, building several teams from the ground up, discovering and developing talent, winning some, losing some - and most particularly through the last several years in consulting and facilitating - I've developed 'Laws for Enlightened Leadership' which could help you bring the best out in your people.
  1. People can only ever perform up to the level of belief they have in themselves

    I promise you, it can't work any other way. If you want to lift their performance, first lift their belief in what they are capable of. Teach managers how to give good positive feedback in a way that's useful, comfortable, genuine and constructive, and how to give negative feedback in a positive way.

    Good conferences and training programs can contribute enormously, by lifting not only skills competence, but also self-esteem and confidence.
  2. People will always perform for their reasons, not yours

    If you really want to keep your people motivated and happy, find out what their reasons for working with you are, agree on what constitutes excellent performance, and reward them for it in a way they want you to.

    For some people it will be money. For some it could be time off, or more flexibility. For others it could be work variety, new challenges, or learning.

    Include goal setting and self-empowerment to provide the right mind-set for the skill-set to be used on the job.
  3. At any given moment people have the power to choose

    It's also true that every one of us is an amazingly powerful individual, when we decide to accept that. In all sorts of circumstances, we demonstrate the will to succeed, even against extremely difficult odds. When we want to enough!

    When we, as managers, remind our people that their success or failure is in their own hands - that we will help them through training and coaching, but that the choice for excellence is theirs - we give them responsibility.

The ultimate ‘turn on'

Reward and recognition will always have a major impact. From the time of our birth, most of us have been conditioned to believe we are not good enough. When someone in our work place tells us that we are not only good enough, that we are outstanding - we glow, we shine, and we work to earn it.
Here are some essential components of good recognition programs:
  • Recognise gains in 'personal bests' - rewarding people for outdoing themselves, rather than always encouraging them to outdo their colleagues. That way more people win.
  • Create recognition for team gains as well as for personal gains, to avoid internal dissension - so that no-one wins unless everyone wins.
  • Understand that some wonderful high performers do love to continually remain the champ, and support them in doing that if they deserve it.
People work for three reasons:
  1. They'll work for people they know, like, trust and believe in.
  2. They'll work for a purpose - an organisational mission, and their own goals.
  3. They'll work for positive feedback.
Check on your own experience to see if this has been true for you. If it is, it could be useful for your organisation too. It's so much easier to succeed when people are turned "on"!

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