Tag Archive | "motivation"

5 Smart and Easy Ways to Motivate Millennial Employees


Bashing Millennials has become quite a sport in recent years, reports Inc. But as a father to two of them, and employer of nearly 500 people–many of whom younger than 35–Christopher Cabrera says it’s not fair to make nasty generalizations about the age group. In fact, the founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based Xactly, a SaaS company which offers tools for sales performance management and employee engagement, says his company has flourished by embracing the characteristics that make Millennials unique. Here’s his advice on how you can do the same.

1. Give them the recognition they crave.

Yes, it’s true these younger workers grew up receiving awards, trophies and certificates for every little thing. Now that they’re grown, there’s no getting around the fact that Millennials expect to be recognized for their achievements. Instead of bucking this reality, Xactly changed the structure of its sales organization to allow employees to get promoted or make more money every six months, depending on their performance. “That worked out tremendously,” he says.

2. Don’t worry about them checking their phones.

Millennials have had devices in their hands since they were little kids, and there’s an upside to this reality. They’re really good with technology, are bosses at social media and capable of paying attention to multiple things at once. Exploit this fact and cut them loose to become brand ambassadors, assuming they like and respect your company enough to say good things on whatever platforms they frequent.

3. Let them work from home.

The fact that Millennials constantly have a phone in hand means they’re on-call after hours and on weekends to respond to calls, emails and texts. Reward them for this dedication by being a flexible employer which recognizes people for achieving goals, not clocking time. “If companies aren’t embracing the new ways of working including working from home and having flexible time then Millennials are going to be miserable and won’t stick around,” he says. “You will miss out on these very bright young people.”

4. Give them the opportunity to do good.

Millennials want to do work that matters and make a difference in the world. Tap into this desire by providing opportunities to volunteer on the company’s dime. Xactly’s foundation does this by encouraging employees to work on Habitat for Humanity projects or participate in races which raise money for good causes. “They’re very moldable and I think with the right role models these people can be great leaders who embrace more than just working like a slave to your company,” he says.

5. Give them credit for being different in good ways.

Cabrera says it can’t be denied that Millennials are collaborative and creative, due in large part to growing up with social media. Instead of bashing the age group, he’d like to see more people celebrating their strengths. “I’m so tired of hearing ‘When I was in little league only the first place team got an award,'” he says. “That’s missing the point of what these folks are all about.”

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6 Authentic Ways to Inspire Other People When You’re Not Great With Words


In order to succeed, almost everyone–whether business owner or employee–must not only stand out but also be inspirational. Leading requires the ability to encourage, to motivate, and to inspire, reports Inc. 

But what if you’re not comfortable speaking to groups… or even to individuals? What if finding the right words is something that always seems to elude you?

That’s okay. Instead of using words, inspire others through action. Here are some genuine ways to be inspirational–and to have a lot more fun in the process.

1. Don’t try to talk. Just do.

Words are often quickly forgotten. What most of us say isn’t particularly interesting — but what we do can definitely be.

So spend your time doing instead of talking. Actions are memorable. Actions are inspiring. Actions inspire other people to follow your lead and take actions of their own.

And that’s especially true when you…

2. Do unusual things.

Draw a circle and put all your “stuff” in it. Your circle will look a lot like everyone’s: Everyone works, everyone has a family, everyone has homes and cars and clothes….

We like to think we’re unique, but roughly speaking we’re all the same–and similar isn’t inspiring.

So occasionally do something really different. Backpack to the next town just to see how many people stop to offer you a ride. (Don’t take them up on it, though, since unless you appear to be in distress the people eager to give you a ride tend to be the last people you want to ride with.) Try to hike/scramble to the top of a nearby mini-mountain no one climbs. (Do yourself a favor and take water along.) Compete with your daughter to see who can swim the most laps in an hour. (If you live in my house you’ll lose really, really badly.)

Or work from a coffee shop one day just to see what you learn about other people… and what you learn about yourself.

Whatever you do, the less productive and sensible it is the better. Your goal isn’t to accomplish something worthwhile. Your goal is to collect experiences.

Experiences, especially unusual experiences, make your life a lot richer and way more interesting–to you and to other people. You can even…

3. Do the occasional stupid thing.

I know. You’re supremely focused, consistently on point, and relentlessly efficient.

And you’re also really, really boring.

Remember when you were young and followed stupid ideas to their illogical conclusions? Road trips, failing the cinnamon challenge, trying to eat six saltine crackers in one minute without water… you dined out on those stories for years.

Going on “missions,” however pointless and inconvenient, was fun. In fact the more pointless the mission the more fun you had because that made it all about the ride and not the destination.

So do something, just once, that adults no longer do. Drive eight hours to see a band. Buy your seafood at the dock.

Or do something no one thinks of doing. Ride along with a policeman on a Friday night. (It’s the king of eye-opening experiences.)

Pick something it doesn’t make sense to do a certain way… and do it that way. You’ll inspire other people to take chances of their own — and to not worry about what other people think.

4. Embrace your own cause…

People care about–and remember–people who care. Stand for something and you instantly stand apart — and inspire people.

But…

5. But don’t ever talk about your cause. 

People who brag are not remembered for what they’ve done. They’re remembered for the fact they brag. (That’s why the first — and second — rule of doing good is to never talk about the good you do.)

Do good things because those things are good for other people. Don’t worry: the less you say, the more you will inspire others, because they’ll know you do what you do only because you care.

6. Get over yourself.

Most of the time your professional life is like a hamster wheel of resume or curriculum vitae padding: you avoid all possibility of failure while maximizing the odds of success in order to ensure your achievement graph tracks ever upward.

Inevitably, that approach starts to extend to your personal life too.

So you run… but you won’t enter a race because you don’t want to finish at the back of the pack. Or you sing… but you won’t share a mic in a friend’s band because you’re no Adele. Or you sponsor the employee softball team… but you won’t actually play because you’re not very good.

Personally and professionally you feel compelled to maintain your all-knowing, all-achieving, all conquering image.

And someday, without noticing, you’re no longer a person. You’re a resume.

Stop trying to appear perfect. Accept your faults. Make mistakes. Hang yourself out there. Try and fail.

Then be gracious when you fail.

When do, people will be inspired, because people who are willing to fail are rare–and because people who display grace and humility, especially in the face of defeat, are incredibly rare.

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You Can Motivate Your Staff And Yourself at the Same Time


The intrinsic motivation to help or give is something we share as humans. Many times, even the most economically disadvantaged individual will offer what they have to help another person, reports Small Business Trends. So can an organization take advantage of this by adopting variations of it?

Pay it forward management, if you’re not familiar with the concept, goes a little something like this: I help you, and in return you help someone else. And if that chain continues in perpetuity, you can see the incredible impact it can have.

Imagine if this were to be applied in a business setting where everyone knows that, if you pay it forward, the business result can not only be incredible, but it can create incredible feelings experienced by all involved as well.

In an article by Gretchen Gavett of the Harvard Business Review, Gavett starts by asking, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. But if you scratch my back, am I any more likely to scratch someone else’s?” The answer is yes. Companies can greatly benefit from encouraging and adopting the principles that pay it forward management champions.

One of the companies Gavett highlights is Google. The company has a bonus system that uses token payments for employees that have exhibited helpful behavior with a pay it forward stipulation attached to it. The additional funds that the company gives from the peer-to-peer bonus must be paid forward to recognize a third employee.

This is just one example of a company implementing a pay it forward management system to reap the benefits of the philosophy. In terms of monetary value, Gavett shows how ConocoPhillips has reaped more than $100 million since implementing an online knowledge sharing information community where solutions are offered by members.

As University of Kansas psychologist Dan Batson, PhD, said, “We, as humans, are capable of a motive that has another’s welfare as the ultimate goal.” And that capability can be used by organizations to create a community in which this innate quality can be fostered by incentivizing the behavior.

This is a top down proposition, because whatever the current culture of the company is, the change must come from its leader and management. And as such, it also must take into consideration the voluntary aspect of the pay it forward management model. Because if employees feel they have to do it, the likelihood of it succeeding will be very low.

Below are some steps you can start taking to implement a pay it forward management system in your business to get the ball rolling.

Employee Engagement

A study (PDF) by PwC revealed, “Employees most committed to their organizations put in 57 percent more effort on the job — and are 87 percent less likely to resign — than employees who consider themselves disengaged.” This is a great point to remember, because it has a positive outcome for everyone involved. Engaging employees by helping each other is a sure fire way of ensuring the long-term viability of a pay it forward management policy.

Define Objectives Clearly

The devil is in the details, and having objectives that are clearly defined before you initiate the program lets everyone involved know what is expected of them. From the get-go, they will know if this is for them or not. It’s as simple as that.

Manage Expectations

Management and everyone else in leadership should not expect more of their employees than they do themselves. After all, this is paying it forward, and if leaders are not taken to task — they will be responsible for breaking the chain of continuity.

Recognize Talents and Passions

An organization is made up of individuals, and they all have talents and passions that need to be recognized in order to more effectively bring everyone together. The 2014 Millennial Impact Report (PDF) states, “More than half or 53 percent of respondents said having their passions and talents recognized and addressed is their top reason for remaining at their current company.”
By recognizing these talents, companies can bring groups together that have similar interests so they can build relationships on their commonalities while addressing the overall concept as it applies to the organization.

Monetize the Program

If having a more engaged workforce results in increased productivity, it means the revenue stream will be larger for the company. By monetizing the program, the organization lets its employees know it’s willing to reward participants for helping their fellow employees.

Be Flexible

Whether the program is being carried out in the confines of the company or elsewhere, your employees have a life. Acknowledging their personal lives and finding out the types of commitments they can make, along with their level of availability, will increase participation.

Make Resources Available

This will be different for each organization, but if the resources and tools employees need to help each other are readily available, it will make the process that much easier.
Arizona State University psychology professor Robert Cialdini, PhD said, “What we argue is that taking the perspective of another person can indeed lead to increased helping.”
Establishing a pay it forward management principle as part of an organization’s vision is a win-win for both the employee and employer. It gives employees a sense of purpose within the organization by building connections and relationships with each other. And an engaged workforce always produces more than one that is disengaged.

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6 Ways to Motivate Individuals to Become a Winning Team


In sports, we often talk about athletes who “want it” more than others. These are the players who show up early, who use up every last ounce of energy in pursuit of their best performance. Players for whom defeat is viscerally painful, the ones who will stop at nothing to succeed. A coach’s job is to inspire and channel this motivation and use it to maximize the team’s performance, reports Entrepreneur.

Motivation comes from two places — intrinsic, which comes from within, and extrinsic, which comes from external forces. As a leader, it’s easy to rely on incentives, penalties and other extrinsic motivation – “If you do X, you will get Y” — but these kinds of incentives only go so far. The best coaches on the ball field and the best leaders in the office understand that to build a truly winning culture, you need to create intrinsic motivation. Inspiring those you lead to do great work for the love of the work itself and not because they’ll receive a trophy at the end of the game or a mention in the next company newsletter.

But how do you instill that passion? Here are six lessons I’ve learned from coaches to foster intrinsic motivation in your office.

1. Link individual to team success.

Motivation soars when athletes know their actions can make the difference between a team win or a loss. On the field, this can be clear cut – hustling for a loose ball can mean the difference between a turnover or a goal. At work, the link between an employee’s day-to-day work and the success of the business can be less obvious but employees must understand the importance of their contribution to the success of their department and company as a whole.

2. Shoot for ‘small wins.’

One secret of successful athletes is their ability to break down goals into discrete parts. Instead of focusing on their dream of breaking a record, they focus instead on the small steps that will help them get there — increasing their mileage, lifting more in the weight room, even something as small as drinking more water every day.

There’s important reasoning behind this: psychologist Karl Weick says goals can be counterproductive to motivation. People are often discouraged when confronted with a large, daunting challenge. Weick’s advice? Reframe goals into smaller challenges with visible results that he calls “small wins.” Small wins allow your team to focus on making steady progress and motivate them to keep working towards the larger goal.

3. Practice makes perfect.

As athletes notice their skills improving, their intrinsic motivation grows and they work harder. Give your teams the chance to practice and hone their skills, whether it’s through internal training or external resources. There are so many great professional development platforms (from General Assembly to Coursera) and skill-building events available today, and making these available to your team will only bolster their performance and attitude about their work.

4. Build relationships.

Athletes who care about their coaches and teammates become invested in their team’s success as well as their own. Great managers create bonds that spread among team members. This doesn’t mean just friending your direct reports on Facebook or taking them out for drinks. It means making a concerted effort to understand them, their strengths, weaknesses, passions and fears.

5. Praise the effort, not the outcome.

Recognize your employees’ contributions, big and small, with positive reinforcement. But keep in mind it’s better to reward the effort than the person. Too much generalized praise such as “You’re awesome” and “You’re a rock star!” can actually decrease motivation. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that children who are praised for their performance – for example “You worked really hard” – instead of abstract personal praise such as “You are smart” are more likely to embrace challenging tasks in the future. Your direct reports aren’t toddlers but the idea is the same: reinforcing the hard work helps an employee understand what made them successful.

6. Have fun.

The most motivated teams are also the happiest. But what comes first: the motivation or the enjoyment? Economic expert Andrew J. Oswaldstudied the impact of happiness on productivity and found that a positive mindset can improve performance. In one study, subjects were shown a video – either of comedy routines or a “placebo” video that wasn’t as funny. Those shown the comedy video were 12 percent more productive than those who saw the less funny video.

Intrinsic motivation is essential for high-performing teams. Those leaders who understand the difference between internal and external motivators and know how to harness them will have the edge on their competition, on the field or in the marketplace.

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Sell More and Stay Motivated


We’ve talked about ‘motivation’ a few times…As a salesperson, it’s easy to become demotivated from being bored waiting for customers to show up, not selling, not making enough money and a host of other things; bills, outside issues, etc. And while ‘selling more’ may be the very short version of the solution, for most people, that is definitely the answer.

When you’re busy, your mind kicks it up a gear and starts working on auto-pilot, and it’s totally focused on selling, not the money you didn’t make last month, not on the fight with the kids about playing too many games on their iPads; it’s just focused on the customer and the sale.

When that happens, you sell more, earn more and find most of those other issues start disappearing. So again, go sell more.

Let’s look at the steps you take that lead to a sale:

  1. You have someone to talk to.
  2. You greet the customer, build rapport and investigate.
  3. You present and demonstrate and close the sale.
  4. You write someone up, close it and send them to F&I.
  5. You make a sale, deliver a vehicle, earn a commission.

Numbers 2, 3 and 4 are the ‘selling activities’ that lead to a sale. But every sale always starts with having someone to talk to, so that has to become the priority.

Solve #1 – and #2 through #5 just fall into place. If you hang with the group and wait for ups, don’t expect much different to happen, it can’t happen because nothing in 1 through 5 changed. But take action, start getting your own customers on the lot and you’ll find everything you dislike disappears, almost overnight…

  • I follow up my unsold customers, I prospect in service, and make 5 to 10 prospecting calls daily, I handle incoming calls and leads correctly, and make my retention calls and contacts on schedule.
  • My appointments show up 70-90% of the time.
  • I deliver over 50%-75% of my own customers.
  • I sell more units and earn higher commissions.
  • I’m pumped, selling cars, having fun and making money.

No rocket science – just a new set of skills and more effective work habits to make #1 a daily priority. You know what needs to be done, that isn’t the question. For the ‘how to’…

You control your career and your income. If you want to sell more, earn more and have more fun, then part ways with the huddle, make # 1 your priority and turn pro in sales.

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16 Motivational Quotes From Lesser-Known Entrepreneurs


These quotes from lesser-known entrepreneurs (e.g., not Mark Cuban or Richard Branson) offer some insight into starting a company. They can serve as some motivation for your day, reported Inc.

  1. “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia
  2. “I don’t care if you succeed or fail, if you are Bill Gates or an unknown entrepreneur who gave everything to make it work but didn’t manage to pull through. The important distinction is whether you risked everything, put your life on the line, made commitments to investors, employees, customers and friends, and tried–against all the forces in the world that try to keep new ideas down–to make something new.” Chris Dixon, the co-founder Hunch
  3. “Making the decision to not follow a system, or someone else’s rules has allowed me to really dig into what my own strengths and gifts are without spending time feeling jaded or wasteful.” Ishita Gupta, the founder of Fear.less Magazine
  4. “People don’t take opportunities because the timing is bad, the financial side unsecure. Too many people are overanalyzing. Sometimes you just have to go for it.” Michelle Zatly, the co-founder CloudFlare
  5. “I wish I had spent more time reading and weighing the pros and cons of various philosophies instead of just jumping in and doing what I thought was morally and financially sensible.” Jason Cohen, the founder SmartBear Software
  6. “Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” Anthony Volodkin, the founder of The Hype Machine
  7. “No more romanticizing about how cool it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s a struggle to save your company’s life–and your own skin–every day of the week.” Spencer Fry, the co-founder of CarbonMade
  8. “You just have to pay attention to what people need and what has not been done.” Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam
  9. “In a lot of ways, it’s not the money that allows you to do new things. It’s the growth and the ability to find things that people want and to use your creativity to target those.” Travis Kalanick, the founder of Red Swoosh and a co-founder of Uber
  10. “Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell.” Lisa Stone, the co-founder and CEO of BlogHer
  11. “Openly share and talk to people about your idea. Use their lack of interest or doubt to fuel your motivation to make it happen.” Todd Garland, the founder of BuySellAds
  12. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Erica Nicole, the founder of YFS Magazine
  13. “Think big. I never think big enough. Be audacious. Imagine deals people around you think will never happen. Believe.” Josh James, the founder of Domo and Omniture
  14. “Patience, drive and very little fear.” Jack Nickell, the co-founder of Threadless, describing what it takes to start a company
  15. “You have to be ready for hard work and frugal spending to get the idea off the ground.” Garrett Camp, a co-founder Uber and the founder of Stumbleupon and Expa
  16. “By dealing with all these things that seem so unrelated to the work you dream to do–you learn an awful lot. I learned to ask for help when it gets too frustrating as well. I can only recommend to get help with the non creative aspects of living the dream of a start up. You can’t do everything alone.” Catharina Bruns, the founder of WorkisNotaJob

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