Archive for the ‘Motivating Employees’ Category

Motivation is a racket

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Motivation is a racket! Let me tell you what I mean by that. We say, “I’m not feeling motivated right now” because of this or that outside circumstance.

If motivation is something that relies on the circumstances around you, it’s not worth a nickel. You become a slave to things you can’t control, a puppet of your environment. If all you want is an excuse, you’ll be all set.

But if you want a happier, more productive life, you need a better way of meeting the world.

What you need is not motivation but inspiration. If I choose to make things happen, regardless of circumstances, that’s when transformative results begin to happen.

I saw this in action a few weeks ago when I was going through airport security. There were two guys from TSA working next to each other. One was like a surly robot. He was completely unmotivated, entirely in the control of his circumstances, counting the hours and minutes until the end of his shift, and making sure that everyone around him suffered right along with him.

But the other guy, wow! Same circumstances, same number of hours until the end of the shift, and he was blowing me away with his decision to be extraordinary. He greeted each person like a long-lost friend, joked, laughed, and still got his job done. But in the process, he managed to make airport security the best part of my day.

At some point this man had decided, “I’m gonna have a hoot every day, and at the end of every day I’ll know I made a huge difference in people’s lives.”

So forget motivation. Find the inspiration to make that difference, every day.

Normalize the Impossible

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Many had deemed it impossible. But on May 6th, 1954, Roger Bannister proved the world wrong, breaking the elusive four-minute mile and establishing a new world record that had stood for nine years!

Even more interesting than the achievement was the world’s reaction. What had been thought impossible was suddenly just a starting point for even greater achievements. In less than two months, John Landy also broke the four-minute mile, besting Bannister by a full two seconds. Within three years, a total of 16 runners had joined the club.

Had the human body changed? Nope. Had the track shrunk in size? Nope. You see…a mile was still a mile.

So what changed? Runners believed it was possible! A limiting belief—a psychological barrier—had held others back for years. But one after another, runners began to believe.

The world record currently stands at three minutes, 43 seconds. Fancy that.

What barriers have you constructed in your life? What have you deemed impossible? Imagine infinite possibility. Disallow psychological barriers. Normalize the impossible.

How can you break the four-minute mile in YOUR life?

Put the Progress Principle to Work

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

You know that employee engagement is what it’s all about. But how do you make that happen?

You could stand on a chair and yell, “Hey everybody! Become engaged!” (Don’t laugh – I’ve seen approaches that are almost that silly.)

Engagement has more to do with something researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer call the “inner work life” of employees. The best managers and colleagues help those around them build great inner work lives, including positive attitudes about themselves, their situation, their colleagues and their company.

Some of the simplest everyday events, especially when repeated, can have a big impact on employees’ inner work lives. Poor leaders can wear it down day by day, often without knowing it. But good leaders and colleagues alike make it a priority to enrich the inner work lives of those around them for everyone’s benefit.

Research is showing that one of the most powerful ways to improve the quality of that inner work life is by giving employees a feeling of progress—of forward momentum in meaningful work. (more…)

Get Your Mojo Back! Make the Crucial Decision to Engage

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life. I didn’t love them all the same, and I didn’t love them all completely. But I loved them all.

Loving your job is a DECISION. Some jobs were a better fit with my skills and values, but regardless of where I was, I always found things to celebrate and be joyful about. It starts with feeling gratitude for having a job at all—something we tend to forget more and more as the time increases since we didn’t have one. Then you go from there.

Now a big part of my job is recommending that others do the same.

It’s like a marriage. Anyone who has been married more than a day knows that there are delightful, wonderful things about your spouse—as well as a few areas for improvement. (Look in the mirror and realize that your spouse can say the same.) So where do you put your focus? When we focus on the positives, the delightfuls and the wonderfuls, our marriage works much, much better.

If on the other hand we focus on all of those things that aren’t so hot, we’ll start accumulating baggage, bit by bit, until the marriage is crushed under the weight of it. Happens all the time.

The same is true for the marriage of employee and employer. No employer ever hires the perfect human being—but how would you like it if your employer chose to focus relentlessly on your imperfections? Likewise, an employee marinating in grievances about the employer will make him or herself miserable—a misery that spreads quickly to everyone around.

Roxanne Emmerich

Keep Your Nose Clean

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Your mama taught you this one. If you want to succeed in this world, no matter what those around you are doing, keep your nose clean. After hearing hundreds of stories of why executives released their employees, it’s all pretty clear now. People lose their jobs at astronomical rates because they forget this simple advice.

This isn’t just about big drama, like embezzling from the retirement fund. It’s also crucial to stay out of the gossip game, the whining wars, and all those other dysfunctional behaviors that eat away at the foundation of a healthy culture.

Just because your boss doesn’t see you gossiping or listening to it doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel it and doesn’t hear it from others. And when she gets enough evidence to “deal with it,” you better believe she will.

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t offer constructive criticism. Just be sure to share it with grace and kindness to the person who can do actually something about it. That’s the kind of input that everyone can appreciate.