Month: September 2010

Shhhh…keep your goals to yourself

Derik Sivers tells us that to not share your goals with other people will make them more likely to be achieved.  This is contrary to everything that I’ve ever heard or read…thus I like it (but I’m also a bit skeptical).

There are some very interesting insights into how the mind works that makes this have some credibility for me (watch the video).   If true, this would have a lot of implications not only for the motivational work that we do, but for motivation theory in general!

I will need to do some more research on this.  Would love to hear your thoughts.

Can Dilbert’s Wally Really Be a Top Performer?

I just had to laugh at the second clip in this.  Wally should be up for a very large bonus based on his analysis…

What is sad, is that many companies reward programs actually would reward this type of behavior.  Not failing is actually seen as a positive and rewarded.  This leads to all sorts of behavior that minimize risk and limit exploration.  Think about what this means for a company long term?  Think the type of culture it breads?  Do you think people really want to work in a company that rewards the Wally’s of this world?

Let us know what you think – leave a comment!

Teams – Part of the Motivation Equation

Team building

Team Building Fun!

We know teams

We do a lot of work helping improve how teams operate.  Some of it is straight old fun team building – you know the type where you go off-site for a day and do different types of games and activities (note – some people love these types of programs and others detest them with a passion).   Other programs we do are much more intense and involve really working on specific team issues and developing action plans for greater collaboration, communication, or productivity.

We’ve worked with big teams.  We’ve worked with small teams.  We’ve done programs for executives and for line-workers.  We’ve worked with teams that are working well and just want to get to that next level and teams that really are on their last leg and need immediate urgent care or they will implode.

We have done one hour fun sessions.  We’ve created on-going programs that last months and require intensive work by the participants.

Regardless of the type of team development we are doing – it is also part of building a more motivational organization.

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You mean showing appreciation is a bad thing?

I’m linking to this blog as it has a great post that highlights some of the “old school” thinking that is still out there.  It amazes me that in this day and age there are still managers that believe that showing appreciation is a bad thing….

Employees: Do you take them for granted?

Let me know what you think…

Are you Spock or Kirk when it comes to motivating?


Spock and Kirk

You might motivate like Spock if you focus on…

  • Cash performance bonuses
  • Paid on multiple products/sales/behaviors
  • Complex plans since they are more fair
  • Use of thresholds, kickers, multiple payout levels
  • Use of goal based programs
  • Paid annually

You might be like Kirk if you focus on…

  • Non-cash performance bonuses
  • Paid on one or two measures
  • Simplified earning process
  • Use of simple multipliers
  • Use of ranking contests
  • Paid monthly

Other ideas on this?  Add a comment and let us know…

Motivated by adversity: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

First, if you have not watched Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion – please,  please do.  It is funny….ha, ha, ha, he, he, ha…. (ok, I need to work on my laugh – you’ll see the connection after watching).

The Spark

Joss Whedan on why he developed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog:

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Leadership lessons from a dying Raccoon

RaccoonWe had three very cute  baby Raccoons in our yard last Thursday night.  They were fearless, lost, adorable and wondering around lost without a mother.  Kind of like employees without a good leader…but more on that later.

We went out and watched them as the toddled around the yard and gardens.  They were obviously hungry.  The smallest one could not keep up with its siblings and kept cooing out to them (that’s the only way I could describe it, like a mix between a cat’s “meow” and and owl’s “who”).  The siblings would circle back and rub noses with the smallest one.  They would try to get it to climb the rock wall to the garden or move under the table.  The smallest Raccoon would waddle slowly after them and try to keep up.

But the siblings were hungry and cold themselves and soon enough – they left the smallest one by itself.

The next morning, the smallest one was almost dead by the side of the garage.

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No Best Practice Quest Here!

I read “Sales Comp Demands a Deep Sales Dive, Not a Best Practices Quest” by Ann Bares on Compensation Force yesterday – the article really resonated with me.  The basic premise of the article is that companies should focus on understanding their sales force and not depend on best practices.  Ann states it best when she says, “the problem with the notion of best practices in HR is that it too often leads to a blind search-copy-cut-paste effort whereby we simply lift popular program elements (out of professional journals, books, studies, etc.) and implement them, without sufficient thought as to their fit and strategic applicability.”

It resonated because it is right-on but also because I just completed an assignment for a company where they were looking for “best practices.”

I didn’t give them any (we’ll not really – more on that later…).

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Passion or Lunancy – You Decide?

I was in South Dakota last week on a family vacation.  First off, I forget how beautiful South Dakota is and all that it has to offer.  Secondly, there are some really, really humongous carvings there…

Mount Rushmore

The original idea for Mount Rushmore is credited to South Dakota historian Doane Robinson who thought that it would increase tourism (he was a pretty insightful man).  His idea was to carve local famous people into some of the granite mountains of the Black Hills.  In 1924, after working on Stone Mountain, GA, sculptor Gutzon Borglum was brought in to carve the mountain.

Mt. Rushmore

Borglum expanded on the original idea and wanted it to be a National monument that focused on our presidents.  He insisted that his life’s work would not be spent immortalizing regional heroes but insisted that the work demanded a subject national in nature and timeless in its relevance to history.

Borglum started work on Mt. Rushmore in 1927 at the age of 60.  He worked the rest of his life on the mountain.

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