Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We often underestimate the power of that which goes beyond motivation. Beyond what one could possibly instill into one's team (and one's own psyche), it goes beyond mind-games and above what might translate into a handsome quarter end bonus.

It is what literally makes us get up every single morning and what we dream of doing, if it is something other than the roles we perform every day.

Sometimes it might not even fully or directly relate to our jobs. For me these days it is the taste of a long (and long-awaited) trip to a different continent.

But why should anyone invest any time thinking about this?

Even for the luckiest of us, the ones who get to pursue their passion every single day, sometimes the light goes into pilot, and the roaring, crackling fire that once propelled us dims every so slightly. That's when it is important to remind ourselves that work-related stuff is never the only dangling-carrot at the end of the race and let our copilot (our other dreams and aspirations) take control of the wheel and let those motivations re-ignite our bonfire.

That's why it is so important to get to know your team-members. Know who's working to pay for their parent's dream vacation, know who is working to adopt a child, know who is working to buy a boat or to get a get the idea.

Getting to know your people is not always as easy as it sounds. It has to be done sincerely, tactfully & graciously. One has to invest time for conversation to flow, for barriers to break down, for trust to build. But in the end, it is one of the simplest and most important conversations you can ever have with anybody in your team.

When someone is down because they could not close a deal, or things simply did not go as expected, softly remind them "Hey, think about that boat, think how worth it it all will be in the end. Think about lazy fishing Sundays!"

This, of course, is no exact science, but adding a human touch to the quotidian surely it has never hurt relationships...or business.


Unknown said...

Dear HR Guy,


I’m reminded that it's no coincidence that Howard Schultz and Jim Donald are smart, proactive, visionary leaders. Starbucks is such a great company because its collective IQ and knowledge are off the charts!

But in the midst of the tough economy, there's a lot of bashing and cynicism towards change, performance recognition and, inspirational efforts in the workplace. Just check any bar in lower Manhattan! It's a shame.

As a VP leading over 100 salespeople, I've found that the hard fact is that QUALITY performance recognition works. Not just for morale, but in dollars. I have been using a
couple of different tools to help me retain good people and to inspire excellence in them,
which = larger sales figures. A#1 tool is a personal, elegant recognition concept called
Design Your Inspiration
( ) .
Intelligent, customizable with any words and/or great quotes you want to use (such as those on this very site!) All on framed, art photography prints.

Again, the quality of these, and the MEANING emparted, makes them
highly effective for me. It has made an amazing difference! So while the cynics shed tears in their beers, we're laughing all the way to the bank! Thanks again. Jim

HR Guy said...


Thanks for the input. Glad to see that you are up on things and not afraid to implement new technologies for managing people. New ideas, new formulas, new innovations in motivating people is needed for today's market. Although "there is nothing new under the sun," and these concepts all boil down to common sense--- getting to the root of what makes people tick--- they are all reminders of how we can all do a better job of engaging our troops!

HR Guy

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