Motivating

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Turning garbage into a gold mine

June 15, 2017
It’s hard enough motivating a white-collar workforce. Imagine trying to motivate garbage collectors.

When motivation no longer does the trick

May 23, 2017
Q. For years, we’ve motivated our sales and service folks with incentives. Our culture is built around contests, fun competitions for bonuses or other prizes and recognition. But the last few contests have produced acrimony. Those who don’t win gripe about the rules and resent the winners. Are we motivating the wrong way?

Why your best talent is leaving, and 4 ways to win them back

April 6, 2017
An interesting phenomenon occurs in most organizations. On day one, most employees are fully engaged as these fresh hires are excited to begin a new experience. And yet, according to Metrus Institute, engagement levels drop considerably during the first few years, and often far more than you would expect after a honeymoon period. Clearly something is going on, and most organizations need these four key actions to minimize this degradation of engagement and reboot it to formerly high levels.

Do one more thing

February 8, 2017
When you think you’re done, always do one more thing.

Monitor those benchmarks

January 19, 2017
With 2017 upon us, you may consider setting ambitious goals for your team. But think twice before you announce bold targets for the year.

A tiny card’s game-changing message

December 20, 2016
When Bill Swanson became CEO of Raytheon in 2003, he instituted a simple rule. He required all 65,000 employees to carry a laminated card with them at all times.

A small boost can deliver big gains

November 15, 2016
No British rider had ever won the Tour de France when Brailsford took over Team Sky, Great Britain’s professional bicycling team, in 2010. But Brailsford had a simple strategy for success.

Facebook’s hacker culture drives it

November 11, 2016
At Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg adopted an unusual motivational strategy from the start. Rather than prod employees to excel, he and his co-founders left them alone.

After a bad day, a pilot gets a lift

August 30, 2016

Part of the job of a military leader involves helping raw recruits gain confidence so that they feel like they belong in the unit. Otherwise, their self-doubt can make them a liability to the team.

Part of the job of a military leader involves helping raw recruits gain confidence so that they feel like they belong in the unit. Otherwise, their self-doubt can make them a liability to the team.

As a new fighter pilot, JV Venable recalls the day he participated in his first operational fighter squadron. In poor weather, Venable was among four jets forced to fly a complex maneuver in the skies over Turkey. He did not execute well.

While he landed safely, he knew his squad noticed his shaky piloting. Because he was new to the unit, he worried that he had lost any chance to establish credibility.

In the van heading home, the most respected member of the squad, Bill “Blaze” Binger, exclaimed, “I got to tell you boys, that was one of the worst approaches of my life. I was all over the sky and never did settle into a smooth rhythm. It was mighty ugly!”

Venable suddenly relaxed. He figured that if the team leader felt so disappointed in his performance, Venable’s mistakes didn’t stand out as much.

“If someone with his experience and reputation could fly a bad approach, then maybe I wasn’t so bad after all,” Venable thought. 

Later, Venable realized that Binger had been flying right behind him—and could see Venable’s every bob and weave. It made Venable appreciate Binger’s self-criticism even more.

“To this day, I don’t know if he was really talking about himself,” Venable says. “Or if he was trying to let me know that even the best fall short every now and then.”

Venable went on to lead the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and a combat group of 1,100 airmen in the Persian Gulf.

— Adapted from “Building Commitment on Your Team,” JV Venable, www.greatleadershipbydan.com.

8 phrases that instantly convince people to follow you

June 24, 2016
Not everyone is a brilliant orator, but it only takes a few words—precisely timed and honestly delivered—to truly command attention and respect. Here are eight phrases totaling less than 40 words. Use them and you’ll stick in people’s minds long after you’ve left the room.
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