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…
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.
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.
I just spent the last week in South Dakota with my family. It was a needed break from the day-to-day stuff that has been going on for the last six months.
A time to unwind and relax. A time to reconnect and think. A time to focus on things other than work and obligations…
Buffalo at Wind Cave National Park
I’ve talked taking time off before in order to recharge ourselves (see here: refreshabbatical). I’ve realized that it is very important that we do this – and yet it is so hard. I wanted to take the time off completely – without checking in or doing any work.
I ended up needing to be on some conference calls, figuring out a problem with one of our rental units, and checking back into see how an issue was being resolved at work. As a result I was up way earlier than I wanted to be while on vacation. Putting it mildly, that sucked. Setting an alarm for 5:00 AM while on vacation to take a conference call is not my idea of fun.
But by doing it early, I was able to spend all day with the family – every day.
And I didn’t check twitter, or my blog, or the internet or even the news. It was almost blissful!
What is it that drives meaning in work? True, real meaning that goes beyond the obvious “completed this project” or “achieved that goal”? I have some ideas, but would love to hear what other people have to say first. I’ll keep a track of the responses we get and put up another post on this with some ideas at a later time.
So please, leave a thought in the comment section!
As noted before – I am on the board of the non-profit Economic Growth Centers in Minneapolis (http://www.egcmn.org). We are looking for experts and leaders who have some wisdom to share.
Economic Growth Centers (EGC) is focused on strengthening the economic vitality of Twin Cities communities and neighborhoods. We do this through helping small businesses grow and prosper.
Small companies are the engines of economic growth for the USA – yet they do not have many of the human or economic resources that larger firms do.
Our goal is to create a library of on-line training presentations that can be accessed at any time for free by small business owners, managers, and employees. By providing small business leaders and employees with the skills and information that they need to prosper, Economic Growth Centers is helping them grow revenue, increase buying, add employees, and build out infrastructure, thus increasing the economic vitality of the Twin Cities Metro area as well as other communities across the country.
We are looking for experts in various fields to volunteer to host our training seminars. By volunteering your time and expertise you are helping these small businesses grow and prosper. The library will be focused around key developmental areas that small businesses need to grow:
Marketing and Sales
Legal / Regulatory
The success of this endeavor depends on ensuring that we have a robust offering of meaningful courses – I would encourage anyone who is interested in presenting to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 612-396-6392 to get further information.
Please share this with people you know who you think might be a good fit. Thank you!
Over the past 18 years I have conducted a team building event called the Electronic Maze® with hundreds of companies and thousands of participants. Sometimes called the “Magic Carpet” the Electronic Maze is extraordinary, not because it is magic, but because of the team behaviors and emotional responses it elicits.
Those behaviors and emotional responses are surprising similar across a wide variety of groups: senior managers, line workers, middle management, cohesive teams, strangers, international audiences, men, women, and every group that we’ve ever done this with.
Those behaviors are also very insightful as to how we perceive the world, work with each other, and get things done.
My 4-year old son just got his bike a few weeks ago. He is in heaven. Ask him what his favorite thing in the world to do is, and he will tell you, “Ride my bike!” He wants to ride it everywhere…which is fantastic. He is definitely motivated!
I have one problem…he won’t ride it without training wheels.
We tried. The first four days I was out with him every day, running up and down the sidewalk, holding on to the bike as he peddled. But he was too scared. He would stop peddling anytime the bike tilted. He would always look back to make sure I was there (which caused him to turn the wheel and tilt the bike to one side and then stop peddling). He would stop and say he wanted to go slower.
And the problem was he was actually doing a good job riding on his own. He was able to go a fair way with me just running beside him and not supporting the bike. I would let go and he would be riding just fine.
I was reading an the transcribed copy from a conversation between Ira Flatow and Dr. Paul Bloom on the NPR show Science Friday. This show was titled, “Why we like the things we like” and I think it highlights some very interesting insights that we could all learn from.
The following excerpt is a great example of the Drive to Challenge and Comprehend.
FLATOW: Well, you led into a topic I wanted to ask you about, and that is the pleasure of just learning about things. It’s – you know, just knowing more. I mean, I find that extremely pleasurable, and I’m sure a lot of our listeners do, or else they wouldn’t be tuned to this program.
The 4-Drive Model of Employee Motivation’s 3rd drive is the Drive to Challenge and Comprehend. The drive focuses on our innate desire to learn more about the world around us and to not be bored.
I like to call this the “4-year old drive.”
If you’ve ever tried to get a 4-year old dressed quickly, you know what I mean – they want to do it themselves. It is the challenge of being able to button their shirt or put on their own shoes that they are striving for. Or think about a 4-year old sitting at dinner with a group of adults who are talking (i.e., boring) and think of the trouble that they get themselves into trying to add some excitement (or learn something new). For instance, my 4-year old was bored and decided to see what meatballs in a glass of milk would taste like…you see what I mean.
So here are three tips to help increase the C drive:
The first drive in the Four Drive Model of Employee Motivation is the drive to Acquire & Achieve. This is typically the drive that most organizations focus on when they are trying to find a lever to influence employee motivation.
However, companies often get too caught up in the financial aspects of this drive (i.e., how much of a raise can we give, what is our targeted incentive/bonus payout, etc…).
The following are three quick tips to help you think about how to impact this drive and increase employee motivation.
1.It’s not just about the money. It is so much more…This drive also includes the drive to achieve. Achievement takes on a number of different forms. Think about this in terms of grades – there is no monetary component to this, yet we are driven to try to get an A. In organizations, recognition is a very powerful motivator because it recognizes individuals or group achievement (kind of like a report card). Organizations can tap into the drive to achieve by focusing on ensuring that recognition is done correctly (e.g., timely, relevant, and appropriate to the effort/result).
Achievement is also about setting realistic goals that can be achieved. Short-term milestones are elements to use to help keep this drive up. One way to think about this is to think about the need to reinforce achievement on at minimum every 5 weeks. If you don’t have a milestones set up that fall within that time frame, you will tend to lose people. Make sure that you celebrate those milestones as well. One thing that we are trying to get better at The Lantern Group is celebrating when a project or milestone is done. We get so caught up in the next project or next event that we don’t take the time to stop and congratulate ourselves on a job well done.
2. Add Some Perks. While we tend to focus on the big items like pay and bonuses with this drive, some of the more powerful levers that we get to pull are smaller “perks” such as office space, titles, parking spots, flexibility to work from home and other things that help satisfy the Achieve drive.
In addition, there are a number of small perks that also tie into the Acquire side of the equation, such as pizza Fridays, movie days, lunch seminars, discounts on classes, days off, foosball or pool in the office, employee of the month/quarter/year… You will notice that a number of these also contribute to the other three drives of Bond & Belong, Challenge & Comprehend, and Define & Defendsee also Four Drive Model
3. Improve your Total Rewards Communication. Too many times we’ve worked with companies that offer fantastic total rewards – not just their base salary, but their benefits, bonus programs, culture and recognition opportunities; however, no one at the company knows about these programs! This is because they are outlined in a legal terms in a five different 50 page HR documents. It is vital that you market what you are providing to people in a way that will capture their attention and convey the big picture.That means that you have to overcome silos within the organization and market your Total Rewards as a comprehensive program that highlights the offerings from across the organization.
Also, make sure that your Total Reward communications are not just a one-time effort at the beginning of the year, but instead a campaign that highlights various aspects of your offering throughout the year and keeps people engaged and charged up.
While the concept behind these ideas is simple, the implementation of them isn’t always as easy. If you need help, please give us a call. We can help you work through the issues and improve your employee’s motivation!
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