Today is the last day of school for my 7th grade son. Every year, I make a special breakfast, play “Schools Out for Summer” by Alice Cooper, and send him off to the last day of school with a bang! Not so today. He was dead to the world and did not respond to what has worked for the last 7 years no matter what I said. Finally, I had to pull the Dad card and told him I’ll take away his X-box if he did not get up right now. (That worked by the way.)
This is the same frustration we talk about in our Renaissance Executive Forum Groups. Our members express frustration how the energy, passion and results have waned since the start of the company, a project, a campaign, and anything that took longer than the team felt it should. So while we’re thinking of the last day of school and finding ways to motivate others, let me ask you to share your answers to the following:
How do YOU keep your team focused and on track?
How do YOU keep them excited to be a part of the vision, the goals, and the team?
How do YOU get them to do what needs to be done without having to threaten them and take away their phone?
I’ll share what I’ve learned from other CEO’s, Presidents and Owners in our groups, and then I hope you’ll take a minute to share what YOU do below so others can learn from your experiences.
1. Create a Clear Vision – what exactly are we all about.
What is the big picture and the Simon Sinek “WHY” that gets us all out of bed when we don’t feel like it. Have a written plan so people know the tools, time and effort required, and what it will look like when we succeed. Paint a picture of the results so everyone is on the same page and can work toward the same goal.
Update the Team on Their Progress – it takes a long time for a plant to grow. We plant a seed, water it, keep the weeds away, and wait for the results. Our team need see that we are making progress and what steps we need to take along the way so they know not to give up while the process takes its course. Have regular updates and meetings so people can ask questions and know their concerns are being heard.
Be Passionate so they will be Passionate – if you have a passion for what you are doing, let it show. Leaders need great followers, but being a follower is not as easy as it seems. The passion you have for your company, goals and team, will empower others to step out and lead as a confident follower. (Read this great blog about creating Great Followers.)
For example, my son did not want to ride his bike to school the first week. He preferred Mom or Dad take him. It wasn’t until I rode with him that he saw how easy and fun it could be. He even got a few buddies to join him from the neighborhood to make it more fun.
Sometimes we need someone else to help us get excited about doing something. Once we see the passion in them, we can see it possible in ourselves.
2. Create a Reward System – we all work for something.
Most of the time its to make money to pursue what really matters to us off the clock. However, there are rewards that can keep the fire burning as we press on to reach the goal.
Public Praise – free, easy, and readily accepted at any time. Use each meeting as a chance to praise the results of your team in front of their peers. Be aware of how projects and activities are succeeding, then take time to share the good work of your team. Let me add a note on Encouragement here. Not everyone is as skilled and as driven as you. Some people need more encouragement than you FEEL they should, but they still need it. If your company is too big or spread out for you to provide a constant source of encouragement, set up teams with the leader being a natural encourager. Public Praise is a great source of encouragement that keeps your team engaged and driving toward the goal.
Be Creative – Bring in lunch when they are not expecting it, or shut down early and head out for Margaritas on Friday. It doesn’t have to break the bank but simple things mean a lot to the team. I’ve seen people bring in cotton-candy machines, taco bars, and foot massages. What matters is you took the time to let the team know you appreciate their results, and this is a great way to keep them engaged and excited to face the next challenge.
Performance Bonuses – We all have a job to do, and that’s what we get paid for. I suggest adding a bonus based on going above and beyond what they are supposed to do. Set stretch goals for reducing waste by 15%, or improving quote response by 1 day, or landing new customers in a new market. Factor out how much that will save you in year one and pass it ALL (or at least half) to the employees. These savings go right to the bottom-line in years that follow and the team will feel their hard work and passion has had a tangible reward to them.
3. Maintain Accountability – this one is really important.
If you fail to hold someone accountable to the behavior, results, or effort that is required, others will see this as a reason not to try as hard either. And believe me, employees see more than you think, and the dismissal of one team members bad behavior or failure to meet goals, will be talked about by the entire team, and take the wind out of their sails.
Setting up SMART goals will help our team get the results we need and help them feel like they are successful in their efforts. All goals should be in writing and be reviewed, updated, and adjusted as needed. Make sure everyone has the tools and training required to reach their goals BEFORE they start. If your team hits the goal, celebrate the results (see above). If someone is falling behind, you need to hold them accountable. No exceptions.
Even YOU need this in your leadership. Our Top Executive Peer Advisory members help each other refine their visions, give each other encouragement and praise along the way, and hold each other accountable to reaching their goals. If you do not have someone pouring into you like this, come join us.
ABOUT ROBERT HUNT
I am a Forum Leader and Business Partner for Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. My role is to find the best members for our CEO Peer Groups, then lead each meeting so that our members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Google+,Twitter, and Facebook. You can also email me at info@REFDallas.com or call me at (469) 269 – 5148.