Simple Truths: Companies Don't Succeed, People Do

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50 Ways to MOTIVATE Your Team

Bob Nelson PhD i

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an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.

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Copyright © 2015 by Bob Nelson Cover and internal design © 2015 by Sourcebooks, Inc. Sourcebooks, the colophon, and Simple Truths are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—­except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—­without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc. Editing by: Alice Patenaude Photo Credits Cover: None Internals: page 7, Myvector/Shutterstock; page 17, YanO/Shutterstock; page 23, Sudjino/ iStock; page 26, danielfela/Shutterstock; page 31, Artishok/Shutterstock; pages 34–35, Leremy/Shutterstock; page 38, america365/Shutterstock; page 43, Vasya Kobelev/ Shutterstock; page 46–47, faithie/Shutterstock; page 51, macrovector/iStock; page 56, Olga Sh/Shutterstock; page 61, gst/Shutterstock; page 73, Kev Draws/Shutterstock; pages 78–79, Dragana Gerasimoski/Shutterstock; page 83, Elnur/Shutterstock; page 89 Anthonycz/ Shutterstock; page 91, phipatbig/Shutterstock; page 98–99, Gray Ng/Shutterstock; page 107, Alvaro Cabrera Jimenez/Shutterstock; page 111, Arcady/Shutterstock; page 115, 13spoon/ iStock; page 118, Leremy/Shutterstock; page 121, justone/Shutterstock; page 122, mart/ Shutterstock; page 123, Kakigori Studio/Shutterstock Published by Simple Truths, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-­4410 (630) 961-­3900 Fax: (630) 961-­2168 Printed and bound in China. QL 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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INTRODUCTION Even the most talented individual soon realizes that the secret to achieving more in business and in life is through mastering the art of motivating others. No one is an island; we are each dependent upon others throughout our lives to get things done that are important to us. In fact, my former professor, the late, great Peter Drucker, defined management as “getting things done through others.” As obvious as this sounds, motivating a team of divergent individuals, each of whom has different talents, personalities, goals, and ambitions, is much easier said than done. This is why Companies Don’t Succeed, ­People Do is so valuable for you. In it, you will find real stories, techniques, and examples 4

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from successful leaders who have all tried to do the same thing: increase the motivation, performance, and success of their teams. Reflect on their advice and successes, and try what has worked. If you could do two things to make your teams more effective, what would they be? Or, better yet, share this information with members of your team, and challenge them to think of ways all of you can enhance your team performance. Use the ideas in this book as a starting point for discussion about improving your teams, achieving more, and being more successful. Best of success,


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“The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” —­S TEVE JOBS

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Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago uses a multifaceted approach to hiring new employees. Applicants are interviewed by teams of employees, including potential coworkers, department leaders, and human resources staff. Candidates are then divided into teams of four to eight people, and they are asked to take on a joint problem-足solving exercise. The highest-足 rated applicants are then hired.


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“To succeed in business it is necessary to make others see things as you see them.” —­J OHN H. PATTERSON

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It’s been said that the three keys to purchasing real estate are location, location, location. Here are the three keys to inspiring change: reinforce, reinforce, reinforce. In times of change, many leaders grossly underestimate the need for continuous reinforcement. Once the management team has signed off on the change message the challenge is to keep it alive until behavior is consistent with your goals. It won’t happen on its own. You need to have a plan in place to make it happen.


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Answering these three questions is the first step for success: 1. How do I keep it simple? Less is always more. 2. How can I make it memorable? 3. How many times can I communicate it, on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?


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To some this may sound like simple, commonsense stuff. But to do it right, it’s anything but simple. It takes creative planning and input from everyone involved. But, most of all, it takes tremendous discipline to keep the train on the track. A lot of little things will make a big difference in convincing the team you’re 100 percent committed to making change happen. So sweat the small stuff and remember: reinforce, reinforce, reinforce.

“Common sense is not so common.” —VOLTAIRE


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EFFECTIVELY “Communication works for those who work at it.” —­J OHN POWELL

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Contribute your ideas early and often in a team discussion. According to research presented in a book I wrote with Roger K. Mosvick called We’ve Got to Start Meeting Like This!: A Guide to Successful Meeting Management, when an individual engages in a team discussion within the first five minutes, that person is more likely to have greater influence in the meeting. When you wait fifteen or twenty minutes before making your first contribution, you will have much less influence on the discussion (about half as much as the early speaker). If you wait to speak until the middle of the meeting, your contributions will usually be ignored and have virtually no influence on the team’s decision. Make an effort to contribute early in the discussion, even if it is only to ask a question or clarify a comment, to show that you are an active part of the discussion. 13

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“Team player: one who unites others toward a shared destiny through sharing information and ideas, empowering others, and developing trust.” —­D ENNIS KINLAW

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IT consulting firm Akili Inc., based in Irving, Texas, involves employees right from the start. In their orientation program, new recruits are issued mock passports and must acquire at least twenty stamps from fellow workers. New employees receive the stamps for attending a company event, recounting company folklore, or drawing the organizational chart correctly. This unique orientation process helps people become steeped in company values and culture quickly.


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Catapult Systems, headquartered in Austin, Texas, has a “boot camp” program for new hires led by Chairman Sam Goodner to immerse them in the company culture before they take on any tasks. The topics include the roles of different departments in the company, customer service policies, and job responsibilities. New hires are given pop quizzes to check their retention of names and job titles of people they’ve met.


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OWNERSHIP “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” —­G EORGE S. PATTON

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To create an environment that embraces entrepreneurial thinking, consider these three keys: ONE: Explain the company’s mission, its goals, and most importantly, its strategies to achieve these goals. If employees understand the big picture, they are much more likely to understand their roles and why the company values their contributions. TWO: Help your employees understand the competition. Appealing to their competitive nature and their pride can generate excellent results. THREE: Encourage risk taking and innovative thinking. Great leaders know that long-­term survival depends on taking risks.


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SUCCESS “Becoming skilled at doing more with others may be the single most important thing you can do to increase your value—­ regardless of your level of authority.” —­C HRISTOPHER AVERY

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Ubuntu is a South African tradition of unity and collaboration made famous by Nelson Mandela when he used it to unify the country after the fall of apartheid. Ubuntu! is also the title of a book this author wrote with Dr. Stephen Lundin about this powerful topic. In essence, the philosophy is “I am because we are� and stresses the importance of beginning together with a unified perspective in order to overcome challenges and obstacles.


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The accounting department at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California, has brought this powerful African tradition into their workplace. They’ve declared every Thursday “Ubuntu Day.” All employees wear dashikis, a traditional colorful African shirt, as a public reminder of their unified desire to collaborate together. On Ubuntu Days, employees are encouraged to suggest ideas for their departments to function better, such as process improvements, cost-saving ideas, and innovations. They meet to discuss the ideas and to help each other implement the best ones.


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“The most important thing I learned from big companies is that creativity gets stifled when everyone’s got to follow the rules.” —­D AVID KELLEY

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Communicate the goal, then let the team figure out how to get there. When Carmen Villarma, president of The Management Group, a property management firm based in Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, needed to rent out a new 416-­unit apartment complex in a hurry, she approached a group of millennial employees at the company with a challenge. “Here are the keys to the office,” she said. “You can work whenever you want; you can do whatever you need to in order to get this apartment complex rented.”


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The team of young workers rose to the occasion, making several YouTube videos, launching a Twitter campaign, and hosting parties for open houses. They succeeded in getting all units in the complex rented in record time. The group received sales commission for their work and decided to celebrate their success with a group trip to Las Vegas. Although one of the team members didn’t meet her goal on the project, the group wanted her to come to Las Vegas with them because she had supported other team members along the way. When they returned from the trip, the group was ready for the next challenge, asking Carmen, “Do you have any other apartment complexes you need rented out?”


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