Erich Stolz

Building on a very successful International Management career in several corporations, Erich has concentrated on helping companies to provide the foundation to grow, turning around or restructure.  Read more...

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Four ways to motivate your team - Dinner with you is NOT one of them

Four ways to motivate your team - Dinner with you is NOT one of them

You have experienced it many times, that creating a continuously motivational fire under your people is one of your most challenging tasks.

I'm certain that you have seen how effective of a motivator MONEY can be. Regardless of what you have heard from some of your own people that money is not a big motivator to them or money does not matter much to them. Well, you know, the power of money is so strong that many books and articles have been written about it. We don't need to roll this topic out again.

We also don't need to elaborate about two other motivators: interesting work and great co-workers. You already know that these two motivators are quite important to understand why people work their hearts out and give their souls away to work in those kind of job environments.

Well, what else can you do so that your people are excited and want to be top achievers and even over-achievers? There are others - plenty of other motivators. Here are just four additional motivators that does not cost you any money but each one of these motivators are very powerful and make a great impact;

Let's start with a realitvely easy one: RECOGNITION. When your team member or the entire team does something special and noteable, make a big deal of it! Make a big and strong announcemen to everybody. Make that success story well known. Give them a special award in front of everybody. Make it something very special. Now somebody may say: "Will that special recognition not de-motivate or hurt others?"  Well, maybe. But that is none-sense. It only pampers and spoils the non-performers or low-performers. If you have the right people - upbeat, competitive, go-getters, team players - then a public recognition raises the bar for everybody else.

But be careful about the of rewards. A nicely engrave plaque without something else, like money, could backfire on you. A nice plaque collects dust. A nice check gets cashed in. Don't kid yourself, your employees know the difference.

Another motivational tool is CELEBRATION. This one should be easy but isn't. Would you be surprised when I tell you than less than 10% of companies celebrate the success of their people? Now that is a lost opportunity, to say the least! Celebrating a victory or a success is highly effective to keep your people engaged on the whole journey. I am not talking about the big success stories or a major breakthrough. I'm also talking about achieving certain milestones, like winning a new customer that your team tried to get for quite some time. What about some visible and noteworthy quality improvement of your products or services? Take the opportunity and congratulate the team! Boost the spirit for the new challenges ahead.

Celebrations don't need to be extravagance or elegant. What about having a simple lunch like finger food with soft drinks for everybody, or some tickets to a special ball game, or an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas or New York City for the top performers and their families? Whatever is mostly rewarding for them.

Celebration is not: having dinner with you. That is not motivational when people are being forced to spend an evening with you when they spend all day with you. 

The next motivational tool is really powerful, but it can only be used if you're absolutely clear about your mission. Now, you may be thinking: "Aren't all bosses clear about the mission?" Sorry, too often they're not. In the course of my career and travel, I have discovered that many leaders are so busy with the daily grind that their missions fall by the wayside.

To keep moving forward, your team has to understand and buy into where it's going. Your team needs a collective sense of purpose. And that's exactly what a great mission gives you, a bold, inspirational creed. A mission allows bosses to say: "There's the hill, let's take it together." Now, that's motivation.

The final motivational tool is probably the most difficult to implement. Yes, many great leaders have it, but for the less seasoned, it's hard to get just right. I'm talking about balancing achievement and challenge. People are motivated when they feel as if they are at the top of the mountain and as if they are still climbing it. Simply put, bosses who create jobs with just the right push-and-pull have a real competitive advantage.

Back to money for a minute.

Of course, some people aren't excited by monetary rewards, but these people rarely gravitate toward business. That's why when you think about motivation, you need to think about money first. It's not always how much you give people, though. Sometimes it's how much you give them relative to their peers. While some people are very pleased with their bonus, these people were even more excited when they found out how their bonus measured up to the other top perfomers in the company. Money is a way of keeping score, simple.

Even some the highly money-motivated achievers do care more about something else than money. Only very few people stay on the job for a long time soley based on money alone. People also need the feel that they are important. They need to feel that they matter. They need to feel what they do all day long really makes an impact and has a meaning.  You can fulfill those needs with open appreciation, a sense of fun, an exciting shared goal, and individual attention to the challenge of each job. It's a tall order for any boss, but the returns are incalculable.

Do those things and you will see a difference!

Great Success!

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