Month: June 2010

How to start a movement – Dancing Man at Sasquatch

Derick Sivers (sivers.org) has some great insights on leadership – all garnered from watching a shirtless man dancing at a music festival.

We literally watch a movement start with one person out there baring his soul and his bad dancing with everyone to see.  But doing it with a passion and an abandon that is compelling.  This act of enthusiastic dancing draws another to emulate him.  Now it is more than just one crazy dancer, maybe there is something there.    Then the third person joins in, and now it is definitely something more.  People start looking at this as something different.  It is something that they could do to.  Something that looks, not so much like a crazy man dancing, but something that is fun and free.  In fact, as you watch what happens after that, you might just call it a movement.

And friends, as Arlo Guthrie states in Alice’s Restaurant:

“And the only reason I’m singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say “Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.” And walk out.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.”

So lets go start a movement – will you be the first to dance or the first to follow?

The Story vs. The Analyst: How good communication gets ruined!

The largest part of our business is developing communications for sales incentive plans.  We create presentations, develop plan books, and design flash and other forms of communication. We got into this work by accident (one client many years ago asked us to create a “meeting in a box” for his IC plan – the rest, as they say, is history), but now we embrace it and have carved out a niche.  That niche is taking highly analytical and dry plan data and making it more interesting, more engaging, and more motivating for the sales representative.  Over the past 10 years we have done just this for thousands of plans and hundreds of thousands of participants.

We strive to tell a visual and emotive story with our work.  We work hard at capturing the vital information that is important to a sales person and making that information understandable and engaging.  I like to think we do a good job – when our clients allow us to.  You see, telling a story about incentive compensation and creating captivating visuals to convey that information isn’t easy.  It requires that we make choices about what information we share.  It means that we may have to simplify the message.  It may mean changing how we present and what types of communication that we use.  This, for some clients, is easier said than done.

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The Power of Communication – best “save the date” announcement ever

Ok, this is too funny. I think it is real, but even if it isn’t, it is good. Shows you the power of being creative, using different types of media, and having good production…this is what every incentive compensation plan communications needs but rarely gets. Think of the power of this video being about your compensation plan and being introduced to your sales force at your next National Meeting…WOW!  Motivation is about more than just the reward – it is about how we communicate, how we actively engage, how we convey the message and get people to not only notice, but care…and maybe even have a little bit of fun!

One Year Birthday

Alright, probably not as significant as a child’s one year birthday or other one year anniversary’s – but hey, we’ve been doing this now for one year (as of tomorrow)!   In looking back I have to say I’m pretty happy with what we’ve done.  By no means are we a top blog but we’ve done OK for a couple of people putting up random thoughts and insights on motivation.  Here are some stats:

  • 117 posts by us
  • 155 comments on those posts
  • Over 7,438 views
  • Average daily views is now almost 30
  • Most viewed post: Four Drive Model: New Theory on Employee Motivation (by the way, this was our first post – which I’ve just updated)

We are looking forward to the next year and all that we can do!  Let us know what you would like to see in the coming months and if you have any favorites from our past.

Sales Motivation using the 4-Drive Model

Salespeople who are engaged in their roles, who are motivated to succeed, and who’s goals are aligned with the organizational goals have been shown to have a significant impact on helping an organization succeed (Badovick, Hadaway, & Kaminski, 1992). Successful organizations understand this and try to keep their sales employees motivated and engaged through a variety of motivational methods – mostly involving extrinsic rewards.

While much has been much written about how extrinsic rewards may have a detrimental effect of on a sales person’s intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, Kohn, or Pink – note: there is also a lot of research on how this extrinsic/intrinsic effect can be mitigated) there is little disagreement on the short-term impact that extrinsic rewards can have on a company’s performance . The short-term benefit of extrinsic rewards assures us that these rewards will be used in businesses no matter what Dan Pink has to say on the topic.   However, this does not mean that these types of programs can’t be improved.

Successful organizations and leaders of the future not only need to focus on the optimization of extrinsic reward programs but also on moving other levers within the organization that can drive sales motivation.  Using the Four-Drive Model of Employee Motivation (Lawrence and Nohria, 2002) provides a clear framework for how to do this.

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Refresh

It seems as though in this day and age, everyone is busy – and I mean busy.   We go from project to the next or possibly have them going on at the same time.   The need to get things done faster, with less resources, and with higher impact is making us feel like there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week.  We are becoming a nation that is stressed out and on the edge of burnout.   I know that I am.

What is necessary is to be able to take some time to slow down and relax.  To refresh…

Of course that is harder than it appears.  We are no longer able to take a day off and play golf or go to the cabin without still being hooked in.  Our cell phones and laptops, while wonderful tools, keep us plugged in no matter were we go.  We cannot escape the e-mail or phone call  that requires our attention NOW!!  Even if we do escape to some backwater place where we don’t get cell phone coverage or there is no wi-fi, we often have the stress of multiple projects and deadlines looming over us that keep us up at night.  None of this is good or healthy.

So what do we do?  How can we refresh ourselves?’

What we need is some serious down time.  Some time for ourselves to let our minds and body’s calm down and rejuvenate.  This is not a vacation (vacations often only add in more stress and pressure).  This is a time to slow down and allow ourselves an opportunity to vegetate.  To feel like we did in Junior High over the summer when the most pressure we had was to make sure we got home in time for dinner.  It is time that many people might call “wasted” time because it is unproductive – but I feel that it is time that is needed to repair and invigorate so that we can be productive.

I can attest that this isn’t easy and that I’ve never actually fully achieved it – but I’m going to try.  Here is my plan…

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