Researchers are learning more all the time about the importance of feeling progress toward our workplace goals. It’s called the Progress Principle, and it’s fast becoming a big part of the conversation about employee engagement. In fact, the Harvard Business Reviews research shows it is the most important motivator.
Multiple studies have shown that a feeling of progress in our work is at or near the top in motivation—way ahead of traditional incentives like raises and bonuses.
But not everyone is paying attention. In a survey that asked managers to rank five employee motivators, the feeling of progress came in dead last.
Let your competition pour money into more expensive motivators. A feeling of progress costs little or nothing. Break large projects into smaller benchmarks, and celebrate each step as it’s achieved. It’s as simple as that.
It’s yet another opportunity for those who are paying attention to pull ahead of the pack.
One of the kids takes a hard hit and is lying on the ground. The coach runs over, sees that she’s not seriously hurt, then says the mantra of coaches everywhere: “Shake it off.”
At first that might sound harsh, but it’s actually great practice for life. If you’re too hurt to play on, you’ll be helped off the field and cared for, no problem. But if you’re well enough to play on, even though it hurts a bit and the wind has been knocked out of you, the best thing to do is shake it off and get back in the game.
Whether in sports or business, winners know that to win, you have to play hard. And when you play hard, you WILL get hurt once in a while.
Failures and mistakes are common and necessary. Winners know how to shake it off, get back on their feet, and move on from failure, quickly adjusting course without wallowing in the bruises to their egos.
The next time you find yourself momentarily on your back, ask yourself—How bad is it really? Do I need to be helped off the field? Or can I shake it off, take a deep breath, and get back into the game?
The ones who get back in the game are the ones who win. Be that winner.
I have some friends, a married couple, who have worked out an agreement. He hates to talk on the phone. Every time their home phone rings, even if they’re in the middle of watching a movie, he looks up at her, and she answers it.
In exchange, he is in charge of all killing in the house – spiders, silverfish, mice, the works. Both of them probably grumble a bit when they do their assigned job, but in the end, each is grateful for the other’s willingness to take a hated task off their hands.
There’s a great message in this for anyone with aspirations to rise through the ranks in business. Every workplace and every industry includes some tasks that are less desirable than others. Everyone knows what they are, and when the boss asks for a volunteer to take one of these tasks on, you can practically see tumbleweeds blowing through the office.
Imagine how disheartening that is for the boss—and what a relief it is when you step forward to accept the job.
While most people spend their time procrastinating or complaining, winners take on the least desirable parts of their work without question or complaint. And in the process, they make decision makers grateful.
That’s a surefire way to climb the ladder to success.
Ask yourself this: If you had half the resources and a quarter of the time to do your job, how would you do it differently?
I know what you’re thinking: “No way. It can’t be done! I’m barely making it as it is!” But humor me for a minute. Imagine that you have absolutely no choice but to do everything you currently do with half the resources and a quarter of the time. No choice at all.
Now…what would you do?
The first shift would be in attitude. It would HAVE to be. Once the shift in attitude is made, you are willing to do whatever it takes. Resentment doesn’t build up and defeat your energy. Suddenly the impossible becomes possible.
The second shift would be in organization. You would be forced to get very organized, very quickly, with daily, weekly, and monthly checklists.
Now imagine what would happen to your productivity if you adopted this attitude now, today, even with all the time and resources you have. Nothing would ever stand in your way again.