Happy, motivated employees are something every business owner wants because those employees are more productive. Job performance is a function of ability plus motivation. Assuming your people have the ability, what motivates your employees? Do you know? If not, how can you motivate them?
Motivating employees is a core component of most management training. If you’ve had any type of training in management and motivation theory, it may have, in part, been based on the work of Frederick Herzberg. He was a pioneer and a thought leader on the subject of employee motivation from the 1960′s through the 1980′s. His theory asserts that the most powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money. It’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others and be recognized for achievements.
Can You Improve Employee Motivation?
These are important and fundamental concepts to understand if you want to improve your team’s productivity and performance. Why? Because now you know where to start when thinking about how to help motivate your people. Your first job as a manager of people is to help them be more successful. You do that by having clear goals and accountabilities, documented systems and ongoing training and development. Then, utilizing behavioral coaching, you deliver positive feedback to recognize good work and habits. In just a very short time, you’ll see your employees’ motivation and performance improve.
A contemporary, Daniel H. Pink, has written several books on the topic of motivation. One I would recommend is his book titled Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. You can also watch the video of his TED talk right here (about 18 minutes) to get a brief overview of this theory:
Pink’s research shows that intrinsic motivation – doing things we enjoy, things that matter, things that are interesting or part of something important – is more motivating than extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is the carrot vs. stick approach – reward or punishment. He cites the three most important intrinsic elements of motivation are autonomy, mastery and purpose.
5 Strategies to Improve Employee Motivation
Based the concepts outlined by these two experts, here are 5 strategies you can start to apply in your business to motivate your people:
- Achievement – put your people in a position to achieve their goals; nothing breeds success, like success.
- Positive feedback – recognize your people when they do things right.
- Autonomy – understand their need to direct their own work and determine how to leverage that in your business
- Mastery – provide opportunities for your people to learn and encourage their desire to improve.
- Purpose – connect your business purpose with each individual’s work and their own personal purpose and desire to contribute to something beyond just a job.
Just by employing these strategies, you have the basis of your operating system for managing and motivating employees. Now, you have to put it into practice. Make applying these five strategies part of your personal weekly goals and activities and you will see improved employee performance because your people are happy and motivated.
Most business owners do not plan very often or very effectively. You have seen more than one study which proves that companies that use a strategic plan are more successful than those that don’t. I know you already know planning works. Yet you don’t plan.
I am not trying to lecture or scold you, but rather point out the reasons why most business owners do not plan. Because when you understand the reasons you can then choose to do something about it. Here are the common reasons I hear:
- Too small to have a strategic plan
- Do not have the time to plan
- We are already successful, why do we need a strategic plan now
- Do not see the benefit of planning
- Things change too fast to have plan
- I don’t like planning
- I do not know how to do strategic planning
It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck, already in your comfort zone, or you desire additional growth, there are multiple benefits to strategic business planning. Here are four fundamental reasons why planning is not just necessary, but essential:
- Clarity – it compels you to focus on the long term.
- Working ON It – it allows you to recognize the need for and manage change.
- Prevents Commoditization – it helps you find and keep a competitive differentiation.
- Engages and Inspires – it enables you to communicate and involve your team in setting the direction and building of the business.
Planning is a Critical Strategic Process
Your strategic business plan is the plan you use as a road-map to execute your strategy and reach your envisioned future. This is not the business plan you would put together for financing. This type of plan is something you will actually use to run and grow your business.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer to call this type of plan a business plan, a strategic plan or a growth plan. Documenting your plan is extremely important, but understand the physical plan itself is not the most important part of planning. The real critical activity is the process of planning – the way you and your team create, discuss and update your strategic plan.
The real value is in the ongoing process and not the physical document. Of all the tools available to the business owner, strategic business planning is perhaps the most powerful for moving your company forward and giving you the feeling you’re in control. There is an opportunity for every business owner to grow more effectively and more strategically by making strategic business planning a standard process in your business.
The one thing that will solve all of your problems
Sometimes a small business owner will come to The Renaissance Group looking for the proverbial “magic pill”. You know that one thing that will solve all of your problems, right away. Because if you can just solve all of your current problems, then you will be happy, profitable, and have more time to do all the things you would like to do.
Unfortunately, this is not what we do…mainly because there is no one thing; there is no one book, no one coaching program, no one training session, no one piece of technology, etc. that will make you happy and solve all of your business frustrations.
A better way to approach this concept of a “magic pill” is to understand there is no magic pill.
Once you understand this, now you can actually get to the underlying cause of your challenges and begin to improve and move forward. If you study how successful companies grow their businesses you will eventually realize there is no one growth strategy they all use. Successful businesses come in all shapes and sizes. They do not have one formula, or set of steps that works every time. There is more than one way to grow a business, which in turn means you can stop searching for your “magic pill” as just one thing. Start looking for all of he things the most successful companies share.
Success does leave clues. What all of these most successful companies do have in common is that they all focus their time, energy and resources on the areas of the business that actually drives growth. There are 5 critical areas they focus on. You might think of them as ingredients in your success formula. Interestingly the companies that get stuck and reach a plateau often overlook some or all of these areas. They are the missing ingredients preventing them from sustained growth over time.
The five critical ingredients to create your own magic pill are:
- Clarity – It is hard to move forward and grow if you are not clear about what your business must look like and accomplish, in order to provide you with the lifestyle you desire.
- Strategic Work – There will be a gap between where you are today and where you want to go – your clear future. Strategic work determines how you will move forward; your clear path. It is an ongoing business practice in the best managed companies; it is a random event in the others.
- Planning – The best managed small businesses understand that planning is the habit required to implement your strategy, reach your goals and achieve your vision. Unfortunately, most companies don’t plan, or don’t plan well or consistently.
- Systems – It is difficult to replicate your success, continuously improve, and train staff without documented business systems. Standard operating procedures and documented systems are missing from the majority of small businesses. This makes it difficult to grow both effectively and efficiently.
- Leadership and Management Skills – Are required to inspire your team, create and execute your strategic plan and develop your people.
With these ingredients in place you will be astounded by the freedom, control, time and income you receive from your business. Doing the right things day-in and day-out is all the magic you will need to be a happy successful business owner. It turns out your magic pill is understanding where the most successful companies spend their time and energy and then spending your time and energy on these areas.Read more
What accounts for the fact that a small group of business owners can sustain growth over the years, while the majority of businesses reach a plateau and get stuck?
When it comes to managing their businesses, the most successful owners are clear about what they want to accomplish and act intentionally and deliberately. These “intentional” owners, who greatly outpace their peers in terms of net income, recognize that true success does not happen accidentally or haphazardly. It takes a clear vision and a plan.
They move purposely as they create and act on their plans, focusing on the activities that bring them closer to their vision; collaborating with others who can help them reach their goals and acting with consistency to provide a top-quality client experience. They succeed on purpose. Clarity is critical.
Use this checklist to become more intentional and to sustain your growth over time:
Putting these pieces together in your business is simple, but it is not always easy. You may struggle to do this type of strategic work because you are so busy just trying to keep up each day. You are spending most of your time working in your business.
Use this checklist as your framework to work on your business and do the strategic work required to sustain your business growth. This type of work will bring additional clarity and focus to your company, which will lead to continually better results.
Owning your own business provides you with the opportunity to have one of the most rewarding and fulfilling work experiences that a person can have. Your business has the potential to generate both the freedom and the personal income that you need to lead an extraordinary life:
- to call your own shots
- to do the types of work you enjoy most
- to make your own hours
- to do meaningful and fulfilling work
As a matter of fact, the very definition of a true entrepreneur is a business owner who can arrange his or her life exactly as he or she wants it.
Unfortunately, most business owners experience the exact opposite. They work all the time. Spending a vast majority of that time reacting to each day’s events and doing work they “have to do” as opposed to the work they want to do. Business owners face a seemingly endless list of challenges, like:
- Feeling that they have lost control of their business and their life
- Not having enough time to get everything done
- Spending too much time managing people
- Not generating enough revenues and profits
- Hitting a growth plateau
These challenges leave business owners exhausted, unfulfilled and unhappy. The good news is that these challenges are merely symptoms of the problems and they can be overcome. The root of the problem is that most business owners were never trained in the underlying strategies and skills required to run and grow a business.
Once Upon a Time…You Started Your Business
It goes back to why and how your started your business. If you are like most business owners, you started your business because you were tired of working for someone else and you thought it would be great to be your own boss. You were a technician performing well in someone else’s business. Until one day, you decided it would be better if you could do things your way. So, you “hung your shingle” and, like that, you were in business for yourself.
You have achieved a certain level of success, yet you feel that you should be performing better and not have so many problems. You have a good team of people, however, most of the business’ success can be directly attributed to your own hard work.
So when you do get stuck or things begin to fall apart, your solution is to work harder and more hours. The business that you’ve worked so hard to build to give you more freedom and independence is unequivocally dependent upon you for the most critical activities. In this scenario, the value of the business is tied to the owner being there, day-in and day-out.
The challenge for many owners is that their business is not prepared to run without them. Often, businesses are overly reliant on the owner to win customers and manage important daily tasks. Key systems and procedures are locked inside the owner’s head instead of documented in operation manuals.
This dependence on the owner is what causes you to eventually hit a wall. Your hard work is no longer enough to achieve all of your goals. You reach a point of diminishing returns because you are working on the wrong things. You’re spending too much time doing the tactical or technical work of the business, rather than the strategic work of building a business.
The Value of Business Coaching – It’s What’s Missing
Owning and running a successful small business is about more than just one thing. The success of the business is contingent on how well your company does everything. Your business is a collection of many elements and components. As it grows, the complexity of all these moving pieces increases exponentially. Sustained growth and success of the business is determined by how well all the parts work together in one streamlined, integrated whole – without the owner’s constant oversight and attention.
Business coaching is about making improvements and changes so that you and your business perform at a much higher level, continually moving forward and growing. The true value of a great business coach is that they can provide you with the support, tools, ideas and advice that you need to make more money, have more free time and enjoy owning and running your business again.
At The Renaissance Group, our approach to business coaching is focused on addressing specific development needs of your business. These needs are often oriented around skill sets, strategies and systems that are missing from your business. They are not the “silver bullet” or “magic pill” quick fixes that many frustrated business owners turn to out of desperation. Instead, we focus on sound, fundamental business principles that are “common knowledge”, but rarely common practice in most small businesses.
Below is a partial list of other benefits that business owners experience when working with a business coach:
What Are You Waiting For?
Athletes know that the right coach can make the difference between mediocre performance and extraordinary success. It is becoming common knowledge, even a best practice, that the top performing CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners engage a business coach. A great business coach can help you see what can be and guide you on the path to achieve it.
We all know the things that are good for us–a healthy diet, exercise, plenty of rest and a positive outlook. Knowing what to do is easy. Taking the right action at the right time can be difficult. This is known as the Knowing/Doing Gap. Distraction and procrastination are the biggest obstacles from creating your ideal business. A great coach can help you determine what’s getting in the way and what needs to change in order for you to achieve what you want both in business and in life.
If you would like to experience the value of coaching yourself, use the contact form below to schedule your complimentary coaching session.