How to Motivate Your Team

Success is built on motivation. Think about it, our best relationships are not with people who supply the best product, the most knowledgeable or even whom we have known for the longest. We actually have the strongest connections with people that share the same motivation and focus as us.

We have all hired “perfect” candidates, only to see that they aren’t as driven to work hard as the rest of your team. Sometimes you spend a long time looking for the right service provider and then are let down when the deal is closed. We even invest hours to help our loved ones, but are let down because they are reluctant to take action.

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So why does this mismatch occur? I think that the problem is that humans love to conform. When someone asks us a question, we give them the answer that we want to hear. What we need to change is our ability to screen others more accurately by getting deeper – to find out what really motivates them.

Get the full picture – because sometimes we only see people the way that we want to see them out of our own desperation. We focus on what we want out of the relationship and concentrate our conversations in a limited area. However, humans are complex and there are multiple factors that play a part. Motivation can stem from families, financial situation, desire to fulfill a dream or just to prove someone wrong. We are all different and that is why you need to take the time to explore the possible areas of motivation for each person.

Actions speak louder than words – so when you ask people what motivates them, they might not have an answer. You are asking the wrong question. Ask them what their best memory is – an achievement, happy moment, inspirational time? This is a good starting point to see what exactly is most important to that person.

Get them to relax – adrenaline can get our hopes up to make a good impression, regardless of whether it meets our own essential needs. Truth comes out when their guard is put down and you can have a more transparent conversation. You don’t want to talk to their “game face,” you want to talk to them. Get there by making it recognizable that you’re putting down your guard as well.

Try this with each of your team members so you go into 2016 stronger than ever.

A New Kind of CEO?

Last week, Twitter’s new CEO Jack Dorsey had a big announcement for his employees in which he appropriately informed them via tweet. Dorsey decided that he would give a third of his stock options to all Twitter employees – that’s approximately one percent of the total issuance with a market value of $197 million.

Jack-Dorsey

This is an unprecedented act of generosity and I believe that this should serve as a valuable lesson for leaders. Why?

  1. Retaining the company’s most valuable asset

Intellectual property, exclusive customer contracts, unique service offering, differentiated market locations are all assets that companies value. However, each of them require employees in order to maintain, enhance and commercialize that value. Dorsey has realized that his workforce is Twitter’s most valuable asset, which is why he gave them the options grant as a retention incentive. An employee’s options grant is usually broken into percentage blocks, with each block vesting annually over a number of years. This is an effective long-term tool to keep his people happy.

  1. Boost the morale of employees

It gives his employees a performance target to help structure they’re daily activities. More importantly, it transforms the employees into company owners. Then employees feel more valued and also gives them a sense of all being apart of the Twitter team if they didn’t already feel it.

  1. Culturally focused team

Dorsey’s leadership also sets a strong tone of conduct across the whole organization. Employees won’t forget this surprising demonstration of generosity towards them. Now there is a Twitter DNA of teamwork, generosity and consideration.

  1. Telling investors that they matter

Shareholders matter, no matter if it is a start-up raising venture capital or a publicly traded company that is accountable to its investors. One of the amazing aspects of Dorsey’s gesture is that his block of options isn’t dilutive to its current shareholders. That means that Dorsey’s stake in the company was already publicly disclose so the amount of his options grant was already considered into the stock purchase decision of existing shareholders that already bought the stock.

Dorsey could have had the company issue a new block of six or seven million options for employees that would have been dilutive to shareholders, but instead he pulled from his own resources. That is a remarkable act of stewardship and leadership – the new visionary CEO. Do you think that other leaders and CEOs will catch on and follow suit?

3 Ways to Have a Bigger Impact

The theme of this year’s Clinton Global Initiative was “the future of impact.” I began to think about what we can do as individual lePartnerships-Are-the-Future-of-Impactaders to create a better world for the next generation. There are many different ways to go about this, but I do believe that there are three fundamental changes that we can make. If we implement them into all tasks, big and small, I think that we can create some positivity for our future.

GIVE BACK

Everyone, successful or not should give back. It isn’t just the right thing to do, but the gratification that it gives you is like nothing else. Volunteering creates shared value for everyone – whether it is employees, customers, partners or shareholders. When a group of people join together to take on an environmental or social issue, they take on much more than a few hours of their time. They can address an immediate need, but also put attention on a long-term solution, no matter the challenges. Every effort to give back makes a difference in someone. That someone will turn around and impact someone else or some thing in a positive way as well. Giving back has a multiplier effect, remember your one action is not alone.

MENTORSHIP

Mentoring young people around me is something that I have always naturally done, probably because I had it done for me. Besides my parents, I have had many other brilliant mentors that have shaped me into the person that I have become. My favorite part of mentoring others is watching them grow and realize that they are capable of great things. Us, as mentors are an invaluable resource that can ignite a mentee’s ambition – so we need to take advantage of it and lead them to opportunities we know they can handle.
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I am a firm believer that everyone has something to learn from someone – yes, even your mentees. I think that by working with others, especially from diverse backgrounds and interests, we can achieve so much more. By simply having the commitment of working together, two people or a group of people can create a new way of thinking that can have better impact on the future than you could have had alone.

Very early in my life, I was taught the importance of “paying it forward” and I believe that these three steps should serve as reminders of how we can have a lasting effect on the world and its future leaders.

Do It, Ask Questions

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese proverb

Handsome businessman daydreaming of his business future

I was recently in a meeting with a CEO of a very successful company, one that I look up to. In the middle of the meeting, someone mentioned something about retail in China. He immediately perked up and began asking a number of questions. There’s no doubt that this man is a successful professional, but yet when you found something that he did not know very much about – he asked questions and learned. We think of good professionals as working hard, inspiring others, negotiating well, but another critical quality that I think we need to keep in mind is that they aren’t afraid to ask questions. I think that asking questions shows some further good attributes.

Confidence

No one is really a know-it-all and it is never a good look. Asking questions shows others that you are confident enough to admit when you don’t know. This enables you to grow, just like the CEO did.

Openness

When you ask questions, the dynamic in the room changes. When you are no longer the big dog in the room, others are more likely to open up and ask questions too. With everyone better informed, better decisions can be made.

Preparation

I know what you’re thinking, “Doesn’t asking questions show a poor command of the subject?” Well, not really. If you have a series of questions to ask in every meeting, it shows your team that you are on top of what is going on in the business and where there are gaps.

Sales

This might sound a little counterintuitive to you, but it is actually a sales strategy that works. When I first got started, young and naïve, I learned that asking questions is a great way to sell yourself and your company. By doing this, you let others feel empowered and shows that you are interested in their passion. They are more likely to trust you and want to work with you.

If anyone ever seems upset that you are asking a question, they are not true working professionals. Show them what a professional is by showing how asking questions makes deeper connections and boosts your career. At the very least, you will leave a meeting knowing more than you did before, which is never a bad thing.

Remember, asking questions shows confidence, openness, preparation and will be a great addition to your sales strategy.

Feedback: Direct, Specific, Clear

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

Feedback is a really idownloadmportant factor no matter the environment that we are in; it is the coaching along the way that helps us improve from bad to good and good to fantastic.

When I was around 10 years old, I quit playing the piano. The feedback that I got from my highly trained, but young and inexperienced teach was so overwhelming. There was always so much correction, pressure and expectations – it was difficult to process. Six years later, I returned to playing the piano with a more experienced coach. I learned to appreciate the process of learning how to string the notes together – first by measure, then increasing the tempo and last, perfecting the phrasing. Granular feedback had turned me into a confident pianist.

In order to coach others into their full potential just as I was, I believe that there are three simple rules to follow.

Be Direct: People sugarcoat areas that need improvement, but really you need to tell them how it is – that is what is truly valuable. Of course, show sensitivity while delivering the facts. Something that might help you is by asking permission such as, “May I give you an observation that may bother you?” They will automatically convert into learning mode and be ready to hear you. Lastly, as always, present it in a positive framework that is aimed at them improving themselves rather than comparing to a quantity or measurement.

Be Specific: The least effective feedback is when it is generalized. Use a recent instance and talk about the effect that it had on the team or their performance. Provide this kind of feedback privately because a confidential conversation makes hearing these tough truths easier. They will focus on your words instead of worrying about what everyone else is thinking.

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Be Clear: If the feedback is serious enough that they risk losing their position, then say it in a non-threatening way. Give them time frames for improvement, measurable ways to improve and schedule a follow up. So basically, don’t skip to the punch line.

The wonderful thing about being in management is watching others grow. You are not the solo performer; you need the rest of your team there. Yes, giving feedback can be difficult, but it is as vital as deciding whom to hire, to promote and even to let go. Be the leader that keeps confidences, removes obstacles and notices what can be improved. That is the kind of piano coach I had and the one that I aim to be.

4 Steps to Lead Effectively

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

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The fact of life is that we all have to lead at some point. Some are pushed into authority position whether they like it or not, some are required to lead as their daily duties and some are looking to lead to promote ideals and guide others to values that they feel strongly about. There are so many ways that we need to be leaders and it doesn’t have to be scary, I’ll tell you how to lead a team without becoming the manager that everybody hates.

  1. Set an Example

Think about when someone asks you for directions. You can write step-by-step directions, draw a map, or even provide details such as landmarks. Or you could simply say, “Follow me.”

Value statements and culture decks are not effective, especially not the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ sentiment. These respect and integrity lines don’t mean anything if you turn around and curse a member of your team out.

The point is, show people what you believe in and they will naturally follow.

  1. Be Humble

Think about two scenarios. In the first, a boss makes a mistake and refuses to admit it, blaming someone else. In the second, a boss recognizes the mistake and admits it, learns from it, done. Which boss would you rather work for? Exactly, the second because owning up to mistakes inspires respect. No body is perfect so don’t be afraid to ask your team for help. This will humanize you to your team and create an environment that everybody feels that they can learn from each other.

  1. Praise Sincerely

Authenticity is key – DO NOT just go through motions to check people off of a list. Be specific when telling someone how and why you found their actions to be so beneficial. The overall goal is to instinctively recognize and appreciate efforts of others and to communicate that appreciation consistently. I believe that praise and recognition can be inspiring, so don’t skip this one.

  1. Learn to Listen

No one has ever learned anything while speaking. So, listen to your employees and stay in touch with the reality of your company. You will begin to become aware of new problems much quicker and understand how your people are dealing with them.

Remember, what is important to you is important to them. Your voice carries more weight because it is based on reality.

Being a ‘leader’ is just a title. We all lead, so focus on leading effectively by paying attention to these simple steps. I promise you that you will have results that you are proud of.