As a leader, you have three basic responsibilities to your people — if you get them right and stick to only these three, you will be hitting home runs all season long.
There are so many books, seminars, and articles about how to motivate (yes I know, this is one too!). But I think they miss something big: To be successful in business and life, you need to build a motivational foundation inside YOU.
1. FOCUS & MEDITATE
Do you spend hours doing nothing? Do you play online games? Too much Youtube/News Sites? You are not alone — and the first thing to stop these destructive behaviors is finding a purpose, a goal to focus your energies. How do I do this? I listen to John & Julianne.
I have done a lot of meditation throughout my life and John and Julianne from Profound Life Wellness are the BEST. Relax, take deep breaths and allow your mind to float. Think of things that make you happy, think of things that get you excited about life. They will come to you in relaxation.
If you’ve never tried meditation — today’s the day.
2. MOVE YOUR BODY
A good solid 20-minute walk will do more for a depressed person than any medication. Exercise makes you feel better, look better and perform better in life. It chases away all those negative thoughts that creep in during the day.
If you’re really committed and live in the Oxford CT area, my personal trainer (THE BEST) just opened a new studio — check it out here.
3. MEET LOTS OF PEOPLE
So now you have desire and purpose, you feel good, you look good, but you don't feel that happiness I've been talking about.
YOU NEED TO START TALKING TO EVERYONE. There is an art to a good conversation and coupled with that a skill to overcoming shyness. When you were first learning how to add, it was hard. Looking back, it seems 21+18 is a joke equation compared to f(x) is (-ia)ng(a).
The art of conversation is the same. We learn the basics of conversation, but not the skills needed to carry a great one as an adult. I want you to think of someone you love talking to — what is it about the conversation that makes it fun, lively, and memorable?
Learn this skill — it will land you a great job, build your business, and attract the best friends you'll ever have.
4. MAKE PEOPLE WANT TO TALK TO YOU
Who wants to be a hit at parties? YOU DO! Memorize these psychological quizzes (everyone loves them and they’re easy to learn):
- Super Power - Flying or X-Ray vision (their real personality)
- Favorite Animal (how they view themselves)
- Second Favorite Animal (their ideal partner)
- Describe a Tree on top of a hill (their view on life)
- Room with no doors, windows, black except for candle how do you feel? (Their thoughts and feelings on death)
Try this to any group of people and they will love it. Learn the art of making every conversation exciting and fun for both you and your 'verbal judo' sparring partner.
5. BE GRATEFUL
Now things are going well — and they will keep going well as long as you don't take what you have, what you’ve learned and what you gained FOR GRANTED.
To keep that joy, motivation, and happiness flowing you need GRATITUDE. Here’s a great tool to do this every day.
The Five Minute Journal will help train your mind to appreciate what you have and to be happier with it.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
I hope you enjoyed these tips — now go dance your happy dance because dancing is incredibly awesome. I do it every day.
You’re moving on up.
Making your way up the ladder, dodging bullets, using every last bit of your intellect and motivation to deftly ingratiate yourself with key decision-makers.
It’s a high-wire balancing act many executives go through to grab the golden ring. What are some of the techniques used? Based upon many hours of advisory with C-Level clients, here are the two major tenets that bubble to the top:
IQ – Intelligence Quotient (or Tactical Intelligence)
You have to have the chops, the intellect, the experience, and knowledge to make it through the first hurdle. It’s that simple. Many executives whine and complain when they hit a very real glass ceiling, but in the end, it’s their fault. They haven’t done the requisite homework and they’re trying to bribe the teacher with an apple. Bottom line, you have to put in the hours, the sweat and tears to adequately build a firm foundation of tools to leverage in the myriad of situations that arise. Some are:
- Financial – This is all-important – I can’t tell you how many executives I would watch sit in meeting and clearly see they had no idea what was in front of them on our financial projections. Know this area cold.
- Operational – Know how the organization works inside and out. Sit at home and map out your operational chain from start to finish. Where are the dependencies? What past decisions are holding the company behind? What areas might take the company to the next level? If you are unsure or unclear about one or more of these connections, talk to your people and LEARN.
- Marketplace – What’s happening in the outside world? Who are the key players? What are the market forces at work – are they playing fair or are they slowly (and possibly illegally) undermining your position. Think holistically. Get out there and mix with your peers, understand the levers that make the world go round. What is the competition doing and how do you master the game of chess with them every day?
EQ – Emotional Quotient (or Emotional Intelligence)
This is where most C-Level executives fail. What got them to this position (IQ) is now failing them. For some positions (CFO, CIO), all their hard work to make it to the table is now useless when they need to use skills other than IQ:
- Communication – Communicate clearly and concisely. But communication is a two-way street, you need to listen too. Listening is an art – shutting your mouth (and mind) to focus your full attention to those who are giving you critical information.
- Motivation – Every word, every order, every instruction must be nicely wrapped to motivate your people. Of course, sometimes you have to bark, but if you find yourself barking most of the time, step back and see how to manipulate your direct report’s levers so they want to make things happen and not undermine you. How do you grow your direct reports, your staff, and your organization through motivation?
- Empathy – The hardest one of all – in addition to communication (which is overt), understand those signals to allow you to ‘listen in’ and help your people with their problems and obstacles. Ferret out those signals and dive into what is holding them back and help them. You also have to be patient to allow the natural flow of the company to run it’s course. Too many executives forget there are forces you cannot control.
- Sales – You have to have the ability to mix all three of these areas together and move people into action inside your organization and outside too (prospects into clients, retention and extension of current clients).
Here’s a great book to read on this topic.
What other elements do you feel play a key role in defining you as CEO material?
Great leaders translate vision into decisive action — a skill that's especially vital in tough times. But what are those skills? Do you have a blind spot? Should you be doing more? First off — great leaders do three things — no more, no less:
- They motivate their people.
- They deliver information when required.
- They help their people with obstacles.
That's it. As a leader, if you find yourself doing anything else, you're doing too much. Now let's look at each one:
They motivate their people.
The most successful leaders are those with the best people skills, especially during the most difficult circumstances. Poor communication and interpersonal relationships routinely thwart leaders who are otherwise technically competent. In order to succeed, leaders must be fully engaged with the individuals who make up their organization. This means an array of capabilities like coaching, mentoring and how to give constructive feedback which reinforces the behavior and motivation of your peak performers. The best tool to learn how to motivate is Dale Carnegie's: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
They deliver information when required.
What does this really mean? Incredibly efficient two-way communication. And the cruel joke is that most leaders had the chops to make their way up the ladder and succeed — now the skills that got them there (getting things done) have no place in leadership. You now have to communicate to your team to get things done. This is where most C- and VP level executives fail - you need to lead with greater impact by applying emotional intelligence to manage your team. The best tool to effectively communicate is Daniel Goleman's: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
They help their people with obstacles.
Here's the mistake all leaders make. When their people come to them with a problem — they spend time helping them brainstorm, choose and sometimes execute a solution. I've seen this happen time and time again. Great leaders ask their people to come to them when they have a problem, but they also require their people to come with a solution too. 80-90% of the time, that solution is usually the best one and the team member is further empowered to make those tough decisions. On the off chance (that 10-20%) that your people might be wrong, you're there to help them investigate other options. For optimal delegation, seek out Michael Abrashoff's: It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy.
At the end of the day, you need to build a leadership style that creates trust, sets a clear vision and guides your entire team toward greater performance and profit.
This year, I would like to offer up my Top 5 motivational videos I watch regularly to help add a little bit of energy and enthusiasm to your life.
Do you need a 'Wake-Up Call' to your career?
Do this TODAY.
Good To Great. An incredible book by Jim Collins — relates how certain companies overcame their obstacles and pushed themselves from being just good companies to the stars of their industry. How they made the leap, what they did, and what they didn't do. How can you make the leadership leap with your team and go from just being a good leader (and that isn't bad at all) to a great leader? Here are some basic qualities most leaders use and how to kick each one up a notch to great:
Shhh. It's a secret. Don't tell anyone.
The secret prescription to success is no longer a secret.
As a business and career coach, I run into so many different people every day. I attend conferences and events, I run workshops and webinars, and I host team masterminds for all types of professionals. And guess what? When I talk to the unemployed, I've heard all the excuses why you don't have a job. Here are the top ten realities of your job search today:
1. You're waiting for the phone to ring or the limo to pull up to your house and whisk you off to your new position.
This is my #1 pet peeve when I host job-search workshops. People say they are busy, they're sending out resumes, but the reality is they are mentally waiting for a knight in shining armor to whisk them away to a new cushy position. Guest what . . . it's never going to happen. NEVER.
Unless you're a recently fired CEO with massive connections to firms who want to hire you and subsequently ruin their company, no one is going to call and no one is driving up with a black stretch limo. Once you realize you are on your own and only YOU can change your situation, it's time for a mental ass-kick to get your head on straight.
What To Do: You want an mental ass-kick? Start listening to motivational speakers to keep your mental energy level up and constant. Check out Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Jeffrey Gitomer, and my favorite Bennie Hsu at Get Busy Living Podcast. He's the best!
2. You rarely go out.
You get up at 9 AM, you probably don't take a shower, you get dressed in your old geriatric Adidas sweatsuit, and sit in front of your laptop. WRONG!
What To Do: Get up at 5 AM, go for a walk/run outside, take a shower, and get dressed in real clothes. You don't like it? TOUGH. This is your workday and for the next 8-10 hours, I am your drill sergeant and you will deliver 110% looking for a job every Monday through Friday. Set up a schedule which takes you outside every single day. Meet people for coffee, hit the library, go to the gym, walk around the park. Strike up conversations with people — you never know who you will meet.
3. You check the web for postings, send out a few resumes, and watch Ellen, Rachael, and Jerry the rest of the day.
Unemployment is not a vacation. You have to attack your job search like any project you've ever delivered at work.
What To Do: You have to:
- Focus on the marketplace - What companies are doing well? Where are the growth areas? Who are the movers and shakers?
- Analyze your attributes against your competition - Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on YOU. Figure out how you leverage your strengths and opportunities.
- Develop key targets to go after - Analyze your commuting radius, find out all the potential industries and organizations within your circle, and begin to make a hit list.
- Execute - Go after each one incrementally in a cascade pattern to ensure you are not inundated with tasks, but your search is progressing in a healthy fashion.
4. Your industry has changed.
You actually thought people were going to buy slide-rules FOREVER. Yes, that's right, you're industry is changing. And guess what? Everyone's industry is changing. Some are morphing into other forms, some are merging, many are shrinking, and a lot are just plum going out of business. If you thought you could keep your job or profession for 30 years, I have a DeLorean to sell you.
What To Do: Figure out where your industry is going and either stick around for the very bumpy ride or jump off at the station for the next train. Get to thee library, my dear young minstrel and start understanding what is really happening in the marketplace. Read the WSJ, Medium, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Inc, and Foundr. Also meeting with industry luminaries doesn't hurt either.
5. You're too old.
Where did the time go? You were having so much fun as an executive in a corner office working on strategy and mergers, you never saw the axe coming for you until it was too late. Now you're 55 and no one wants you. Let me rephrase that — no 20-year old in HR wants you. The minute they do the college graduate math in their head (or on their calculator), your résumé is flying faster than a 767 into the circular file. And the funny thing is you keep doing it.
What To Do: Stop repeating something which doesn't work and expecting something different. You have to get out of the HR/Recruiter trap and move up the ladder and meet/engage/schmooze the hiring managers. Go to industry events, reach out to them via LinkedIn/Twitter, and google their name to get to know them. Then reach out and try to meet them.
6. You're too young.
Where did the time go? You were just in college wowing them with your 4.0 GPA and now no one will take your calls because you have no experience.
What To Do: It's time for you to get some experience! You need to call in every chip on the poker table of life and have them connect you with possible paid intern/entry level positions. Let's get real — you might have a little bit of knowledge, but your don't have the experience to hit deadlines consistently, run a meeting, handle an angry client, manage a boss, or run a complex project. You have to take a small hit position/salary-wise and build up those talents before you really hit the big leagues of life.
7. You're unrealistic about your position and your salary.
"Look, I was Vice President of Strategic Initiatives with a yearly base salary of $275K. Why doesn't anyone want me?"
What To Do: There are a finite number of positions out there which might fit your position/salary requirements, but you will never find them in time. I know, you might run into them, but most likely, NOT. You have to be a bit flexible on the Who/What/Where/How Much in the current marketplace. Try to broaden your scope and see what else is out there. It might not be a VP position, or one drowning in strategy. It might be a bit lower than $275K a year — but then again, it's higher than the $0/year you're pulling in now (great tax benefits though).
8. You have a glass-half-empty mentality.
No one likes a whiner. I just spoke with a prospect this week who could not stop talking about all the bad bosses and decisions they've made in the past 10 years. The first rule of your job search: Never, ever, say bad things about your past. Not only does it cloud anyone's opinion of you, it brings your mental state down into the basement.
What To Do: Start imagining what life would be like if you had that wonderful position RIGHT NOW. Where would you be? Who would you be working with? What would you be doing? How would you get there. Stop thinking and feeling guilty about the past and start preparing for your glorious future. Get your head half-full immediately.
9. You're afraid of Thinking Big and reaching out to the real power-brokers.
No one is going to think big for you (except me). You hamstring your search and actions by being risk-averse. You're afraid of rejection and will never put yourself in a position of actually touching key movers and shakers in your industry. No . . . you will continue to interview with 20-year-old HR reps who text more than they think and wonder why you don't have a killer position.
What To Do: Get a piece of paper and write down what would be your PERFECT job. Now actualize it in your universe — find those companies who fit the bill and reach out to the key people who run those positions. The funny thing is . . . these same people are always on the lookout for new talent. You're just not putting yourself onto their radar.
10. You've given up.
You've tried again and again to get a job offer, an interview or even a solid connection and it seems the cards are stacked against you. It's been years since you've worked and you're draining your savings account to keep your household afloat.
What To Do: You can always try again. Take a different tack, work on an alternate strategy, reach out to new people. In fact, I just worked with a client who was unemployed for two years and within three months, he had a number of offers and took an incredible job. You never know where your next break will occur.
Free image provided by iStockPhoto.
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think.
How's your motivational battery?
Trust me — you will MOVE MOUNTAINS.
Bosses suck. Motivational speakers are awful. Business books are boring. Your spouse/partner are wrong. I know you sometimes feel this way. I do.
Do you sometimes feel those forces in and around you are just pointing you towards disparate directions? Is it's just too much work to start . . . or if you start, the cavalcade of work will overwhelm you?
Take a moment and reflect about the each person on your team and the skills and strengths they exhibit. Where do they excel? What do they like doing?
An individual can't do their job effectively without being aware of what motivates them. A supervisor/manager should be cognizant of the fact that good performance is dependent not only on the abilities of team members, but also on how well team members are motivated to perform their tasks.
In How To Motivate People, Fran Tarkenton, professional quarterback for the NFL and TV personality, offers a focused motivation system — "People don't change their behavior unless it makes a difference to them to do so."