extra mile

November 5, 2008

Motivation – Cheap and Cheerful!

When you get right down to it, there are a few misunderstandings about how to get the best out of your people.

The ‘headline’ might be that the better you pay people, the more effective they will be. Maybe, the more amazing the benefits, the more likely they will be to ‘go the extra mile’.

Perhaps the possibilities for promotion would work to ensure that each one of your employees are pro-active’ and stun you with their activity.

None of this is true.

Research over a number of years with public service workers in the UK, found that those who merely felt unfairly treated were more likely to suffer serious physical and mental health problems.

The reality is that where your people feel that you and/or your organization just don’t care, they will never be as supportive of the business goals as they might be.

And all it needs is the simple things.

By saying thanks for a job well done, saying good morning at the start of work and, well, just doing a few things that show you care, you will truly have employees who will stick with you through thick and thin.

You know, it’s just about being a reasonable human being and behaving with your people as if they are like your friends.

It costs absolutely nothing, so that really should not be too much to ask for, now should it?

Filed under Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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November 3, 2008

SMART Goals are out DUMB Goals are in

If you’ve ever read any strategic or business planning literature, you’ve no doubt come across the acronym SMART for mapping out goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Those are all fine and dandy objectives, but I’m out to propose another side of the coin – DUMB goals. Hear me out for a second!

DUMB stands for Dreamy, Unrealistic, Motivating and Bold.

If you stop and think about traditional and realistic goals, they aren’t that inspiring or exciting. They encourage status quo and/or staying within confined areas to achieve marginally better results at best.

Most employees can see through status quo goals and aren’t going to go that extra mile to achieve things that are already within relative reach – greatness comes from inspiration; not reaching a plateau that the ordinary can achieve with typical or expected efforts.

That might be why a majority of employees so willingly sign off on the goals during a formal review process – they know they don’t have to do a whole lot more to get the raise that comes from a satisfactory review next time around. Let’s dig a little deeper to see how ‘DUMB’ we can get.

Dreamy goals repeatedly wake you up at night wondering if something is possible with an effort that is truly remarkable. They imply going for that rarified air no one dares to breathe. It’s finding that special ’cause’ that will unite people on a mission that makes them feel part of something special versus merely putting in time to collect a check.

It’s like your kid at five years old saying he’s going to be President one day and you encouraging her/him to be anything they put their mind to. What happened to encouraging that blank canvas of wide open thinking?

Unrealistic goals are the ones traditionalists warn against and believe aren’t obtainable by anyone. To most, a job is a job until there is a challenge of the unimaginable or someone telling you ‘it can’t be done.’

Unrealistic goals push people to really push hard to move beyond what’s expected to stand out in the crowd and achieve greatness. Isn’t it a lot more fun to do something someone says can’t be done?

Motivating goals are those that make someone wake up each morning ready to take on the day versus figuring out a way to muddle through it looking busy even though time is being wasted. They are those things that people want to come to work for instead of calling in sick because they just can’t stand spending all day in the office.

Most SMART goals encourage toiling through the day in an effort to fool everyone around into believing someone is working really hard. A motivated workforce is tough to stop because momentum builds daily.

Bold is charting a course competitors don’t dare take because the fear of failure or success is too daunting. There’s a very fine line between failure and success, and most companies and individuals will walk right up to the line and toe it without ever stepping over it.

What is the worst that could happen if you stepped across that imaginary line and really went for something? You’ll never know until you try, and most people simply aren’t bold enough to try – we’re too scared we might not be able to return to the comfort zone we currently live.

I encourage you to DUMB down your goals the next time you’re charting the course for yourself or your company. Who knows what you might achieve?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Roger Bauer is CEO of SMB Consulting, Inc. a nationally recognized small business consulting firm specializing in business planning, competitive intelligence, marketing, sales, search engine optimization (SEO), strategic planning, and technology guidance. To learn more about the firm, please visit smbconsultinginc.com

Filed under Developing Your People, Focus on Results by Martin

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