Employee motivation: Helping your people achieve positive change in their lives is tantamount to improving organizational performance

Hunt-Larry-2-174-2By Larry Hunt, Vice President and Practice Leader

Many leaders approach employee motivation from the organization’s point of view, trying to figure out how to get team members to perform better with a primary focus on reaching company goals. It is far better to take Zig Ziglar’s advice: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help people get what they want.”

In fall 2016 I was fortunate to work with a special group of people who had a profound impact on the way I view employee motivation.

One of our clients, despite being an industry leader with exceptional performance, asked us to help them improve communication with their customer base. Consistent with what we have observed about companies that stay on top, this organization regularly invests in employee improvement.

We designed our training for delivery in 90-minute sessions over four weeks. Each session ended with a suggested reading assignment from the book The Quality Conversation by our company’s founder and CEO Bob Davis.

Many of the participants were very engaged, and by week two a quarter of them reported they had already finished the book. The group handled the company’s most important clients. Many managed only one account that represented millions of dollars in revenue for the company.

We have found over the years that many top performers or specialized groups like this can be a challenge to train because they believe they are different than other members of the company at the same level. The breakthrough with this group came during our assignment on setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-framed). At this point I truly began to understand each person on a higher level.

We began each session with a 10-minute discussion around the assignment from the previous week. My expectations leading into the goal-setting discussions were to hear very generic goals focused on how each person planned to perform their jobs better. What happened was the complete opposite. I heard very deep, specific and personal goals that changed the way I viewed this group. Helping them change their lives became the new focus.

One person was a writer during her personal time and set a goal to receive 100 rejections of her work in the upcoming year. She realized that to grow, it was imperative to step out of her comfort zone and challenge herself. Another person set a goal to finish the New York Marathon in under 4 hours and 30 minutes, even though she had never run the race before. (She went on to finish the race under her goal while running with an injured Achilles tendon.) Many set goals to return to school and earn an advanced degree.

Every manager approached me after the session and admitted they had learned more about their employees in 15 minutes than in all the time they had worked with them. Part of the session focused on showing genuine interest in their team members’ wants, interests and needs. That day the employer-employee relationship changed for the better. I was so impressed that I invited 13 members of this group to be guest speakers at an internal training session for our company. My co-workers were as blown away as I was.

In the weeks following the training session I worked with each member of the group side by side. The first-level and second-level managers continue taking genuine interest and have structured their management style around it. The team members are more engaged at all levels. Opportunities opened that weren’t there previously, and the company has seen positive changes in the overall atmosphere of the office.

And here’s the payoff – from a company performance perspective, they achieved and sustained desired KPI improvement. It was beautiful to watch and an honor to be a part of the transformation.

If you truly want to know what motivates your employees, just ask them and have a genuine interest in understanding what drives them. When you take the time to understand the people you work with, a few great things tend to happen:

  • The communication within the group will greatly improve.
  • An increase in group and individual productivity will follow.
  • We have found that managers who know their people’s personal motivations typically have employees who are more satisfied.

I am happy to report the aforementioned group has achieved their SMART goals, and the division is more productive because of it. At Robert C. Davis and Associates we strive to help our clients meet their overall goals. We execute by showing a passionate and genuine interest in each individual involved in that process and their wants, interests and needs. It’s a huge part of what our Quality Conversation approach is all about.

If you truly want to understand your employees, we can show you how. Contact RCDA today for more information.

Robert C. Davis and Associates
1875 Old Alabama Road, Suite 510
Roswell, GA 30076
1-888-392-RCDA (7232) | 678-259-9290

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