Motivate Your Team Members by Showing Progress Every Day
But what does that mean? Why does it feel so freeing to step away from that large organization and into the unknown?
“No one is telling me what to do.” – Yes, now YOU have to figure that out.
“I don’t have to carry a bunch of lazy co-workers.” – Instead you have to do everything yourself.
“I don’t have to work late just to show ‘face time’.” – Right, but now you have to work late in order to meet your client’s needs.
“No one is holding me back. My success is up to me.” – Ah, now we are onto something.
One of the most motivating things we can experience is the feeling that our efforts, our work is making progress. Bonus points if we are making progress to a big goal that matters to us (Daniel Pink and HBR do a great job explaining this).
Entrepreneurship creates just that kind of situation. We define the goals, we work hard and each day (hopefully) we get to see progress. Having control over that feeling makes us feel free!
We want to create an organization where every person get’s to experience that? Because leaders who do that almost always have extraordinary teams.
1. Connect the work to something bigger.
If your work, the work of the company and every person in it is connected to a REALLY BIG GOAL. One that’s people care about (no one cares about making you more money); work has more meaning. For Google it’s “Organizing the World’s Information” , for Starbucks it’s “to inspire and nurture the human spirit” These are big goals, that people can get behind and care about.
2. Create measurements and systems that reveal the progress that’s being made.
How does a finance analyst at Google know that reconciling that ledger helped to “Organize the World’s Information”? Why does the person buying paper bags at Starbucks feel that connected to nurturing the human spirit? They will only feel that connection if their boss and organization helps them to connect the dots. If the Big Goal is important to everyone, they will all be paying attention to what is helping to make progress and what’s not. If that purpose matters to them, they will make decisions and set priorities that will move the organization toward that goal.
3. Recognize effort that created progress.
When people’s efforts are making a difference you should say thanks. If people’s efforts are making a big difference you should say thanks in a very public way.
4. Don’t hold people back.
People want to make progress, the want to use their judgment and creativity to make a difference. To the extent that they have demonstrated that they have good judgment, and their work has produced results, get out of the way.
How are you connecting your organization’s purpose to the progress that individuals are making every day?
Brad Farris is a small business advisor with Anchor Advisors, Ltd. in Chicago, Il. Since 2001 Anchor Advisors has been helping creative professional firms to grow, by helping them clarify their purpose, get the most from their people, keep their eye on key performance measures, and implement consistent processes. Brad is also the author of The Business Owner’s Champion: 6 Practices to Build your Nerve and your Business.