Posts Tagged ‘Engaged Employees’

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.

Make it a great day

Monday, March 31st, 2014

For most of my life I’ve heard people tell me to, “Have a great day!” It always seemed like a nice enough thing to say—until the first time I heard someone change it just slightly.

It blew me out of the water.

It was years ago, I was picking something up from the pharmacy, and the girl handed me my receipt and said, “Thank you—make it a great day!”

Such a small change, but what a difference! “Have a great day” is a basically wish, a hope that your day will be great. But if you tell me to make it a great day, it underlines the fact that the greatness of my day is in my control.

It’s true! So much of our experience of life is determined by the way we react to things as they happen. Yes, the rain complicates your drive to work. It also brings life to every living thing. Focus on one and a rainy day is a drag. Focus on the other and it’s a miracle and a relief.

Once in a while my husband and I underline this in our own way. We wake up and say, “I wonder what super fantastic thing is going to happen to us today?”

However you do it, take control of the greatness of your day, and help others do the same!

REAL Job Security

Monday, February 10th, 2014

There’s a terrible idea I hear once in a while, one that really has to die. “If everything falls apart when I’m on vacation, that’s just job security for me. It proves they need me!”

No, no, no. What it proves is that you don’t care about the health and well-being of your company, which in turn means you don’t care about the people in it—including yourself.

Proving that you don’t care is NOT a good way to prove your worth. Part of your job is to make sure everything goes on like clockwork even when you are not there.

I had a boss once who said, “If you can’t be gone for two weeks and have something in place to get your tasks done in your absence, you are not doing your job.” As a CEO myself, I can pretty much guarantee that a collapse in the Marketing Department registers as a black mark against Marketing from the head down, NOT as a gold star by the name of the manager who left town and let it collapse.

If on the other hand you come back after two weeks and your absence hasn’t caused so much as a ripple, consider it a demonstration of how much you care about the people and the place you left behind.

That’s REAL job security.


Monday, January 27th, 2014

Most of us live “reasonable” lives, looking at what we CAN do and using that as a guide to what we WILL do. Shoot for mediocrity and you’re guaranteed a bull’s-eye, every time. But aiming low and being “reasonable” doesn’t bring out the best of who you are. If you want to enliven your teammates, your kids, your friends, here’s a surefire way to do it: Make unreasonable requests of them.

When a person meets an unreasonable request, sometimes they shut down and refuse. But sometimes they react with fire in their belly. They pick up the Kryptonite, the one thing they’ve been told to fear, and eat it for breakfast—and their life is altered forever. Sometimes they take the power and know that life can be all about facing a series of impossibilities that they will work to make possible. They develop a “bring it” attitude to almost everything. And once they leap over tall buildings with a single bound, they know they can do it again. And again.

There is nothing like the confidence of a person who achieves more than they thought possible. And once one person in a department or company does it, it spreads like wildfire. Soon EVERYONE is doing the impossible.

The best part of an unreasonable request is that people can’t give you reasons why they can’t do it. They already know that your request is unreasonable because you told them so!

Decide to make the unreasonable possible, and amazing things WILL happen!

Busy Being Busy

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Tousled hair. Papers askew. And most important of all, an air of helpless overwhelm. This is the overworked worker.

Sometimes the frazzle is honest. But just as often, it’s a game designed to deflect responsibility and actual work.

We all know people who spend half their time telling others how overwhelmed they are, but you need a microscope to find what they actually accomplished. They seem so busy, so committed, that management sometimes finds it hard to say anything. And they keep on being busy being busy.

Then there are those who are quietly and happily productive—and end up with the lion’s share of the outcome riding on their shoulders.

The perception of hard work should never be a cover up for ineffective work. No matter where you are in the company, it isn’t kind to the whole team to let someone ride along on that perception without making a real contribution.

A feeling of being overwhelmed isn’t something to be proud of—it’s a problem in need of a solution. Be that solution. Next time someone whines to you about how busy they are, make suggestions for using their time more efficiently. And if you are that person, realize that you could shave your hours substantially and do the same work, or even more, and be happier in the process.