Volume 26/number 28 June 10/17, 2013
by Scott Perron
Because of my energy and optimism, over the last several years one question has been asked of me over and over again: “Scott, what motivates you?” Well, folks, the answer is simple: People, people, people! In a previous article (FCNews, Oct. 10/17, 2011), I described the seven P’s for developing a successful business: pain, plan, process, passion, people, patrons and profit.
Although many other items lie beneath these overarching requirements, the most powerful is people. Without the proper individuals playing to their strengths, an organization is prohibited from achieving its ultimate potential. You can have the very best strategic plan, tools, location and marketing but without the right team you are playing against the odds. Conversely, many teams lacking in those other areas triumph in spite of themselves due to the talent they have assembled.
As a leader, a main role is to give a clear company vision, foster its values and define your mission. Additionally, you are charged with hiring, training, motivating, supervising and holding your staff accountable in order to meet and/or exceed expectations. Yet, during my visits with business leaders I am met with a blank stare and asked, “How do I motivate people to do what I require?”
The answer is stimulation, not intimidation.
The old school mentality of treating people poorly has been replaced by many laws, practices and written volumes about the dos and don’ts of human resources. I have done the research, and the consequences of these ancient methods are expensive and, moreover, embarrassing.
It is my policy to sit down with each person in my charge and discuss what we are trying to accomplish as an organization, how we envision the roles in the company and clearly define the steps necessary to complete our mission. We talk about what is important in relation to his or her position, including family, charity, time off, recognition, opportunity for advancement, competition and sense of belonging.
You’ll find money is not the core motivator but rather what the money does for employees and their families. I have found that if a business has built a culture that truly cares about the quality of life for its members, the people will work harder to achieve the company’s needs, protect its assets, service its customers and take ownership of the failures while celebrating the successes.
I have worked in multiple companies where I have watched this culture shift happen, resulting in powerful gains in morale, teamwork and yes—sales! If you think your staff does not represent these characteristics or the drive to accomplish great things, then look first at the leadership, especially you, and decide if you are leading by example.
If you have doubts about your team, you must look at its members and decide if action is required. Design a plan to interview, inform, train and empower your people to invest in the goals of the organization. Foster and promote a team environment of incentive-based goal setting in which everyone participates, where you celebrate the achievements as they happen. Make it fun, challenging and competitive, but look people in the eye and tell them clearly this is an adult’s game.
Your team is a representation of you, your families and everything for which you stand. Find the best teammates, hit the ground running and be proud of your group and what you can accomplish together.