Money makes for a great scorecard, but a terrible motivator. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way when I was a new leader almost a decade ago. As a small startup, we assembled a team of what could best be described as a rag-tag group of people. Think The Bad News Bears, but older. And I had no clue how to motivate them.
Where Motivation Truly Comes From
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. – Helen Keller (TWEET THAT)
When I first began to lead others in the marketplace, I thought that everyone was like me. Money was the scorecard and it was also the motivator. Boy, was I wrong!
I’d struggled for almost a year to find better ways to motivate our team and push them to new levels of excellence. I used mostly financial incentives, with little or no results. Then, we held a company retreat.
Happy April 15th!
Happy April 15th? Unless you are an IRS agent or accountant, who would dare say such a thing?
Surely, I am delusional. I can feel a few of you clenching your fists at me. At least one of you is thinking up ways to leave flaming bags of poo on my doorstep.
Don’t base your life on how your tax dollars are spent. Take charge of your own life. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
My wife and I paid a record amount in taxes this year. In fact, we paid more in taxes than most of my family has ever earned in one year.
What’s your income goal this year?
That’s a question I often ask people when I speak to groups or consult individuals. Then I write down their answer on the board like this:
What results is an exercise in thinking beyond what they ever imagined. Thinking differently. Thinking abundance, not scarcity. Thinking what is possible, not what they’ve always known.
What if you add a 1 to it?
I want to stretch you a little bit. What if you add a 1 to your income goal?
Just a little 1. That’s all. What do you have now?
Most people would say $40,001. Big deal. By the time you pay taxes, you’re left with a stick of gum and a single copy from the UPS Store.
“But we pay well, have free food, and a company arcade. This is a great job”
Those were the words of the leader of a fast-growing startup (we’ll call him Simon) who was hemorrhaging team members. As fast as he could hire one person, it seemed like two were out the door.
OK, it wasn’t that bad. He has more than one hundred team members and is forecasted for nearly $200 Million in revenue this year. The seven-member executive team seems happy and all but one of them have been in place for the past three years. Sales are up, costs are down, and yet…he can’t seem to keep any mid-level talent.
The average tenure of his managers and VPs is less than eighteen months. Three positions are currently unfilled. His past two hires quit before they reached six months. Simon was at his wit’s end. The good news is that he recognized that if he didn’t address the problems, they would be his downfall. He had a strong desire to fix them.
What he didn’t know are the eight things his team really wants. They are the same eight things most professionals want. So whether you are leading a company, growing a non-profit, or leading a team of salespeople, keep these things in mind.
This has to be one of the signs of the apocalypse.
Apparently you can finance headphones.
I think it goes without saying, but whatever wonder I have about how we ended up with $18,000,000,000,000 (I think that’s enough zeroes) in debt is answered by this ad.
I have no lesson today as a result of this. Just one piece of advice…if you ever consider financing headphones, stop. Immediately remind yourself that you have a brain, save the money and pay cash for them if you really “need” them.
Listen to this post
This is a follow-up post to my earlier post, The 3 Most Common Downfalls of Leaders. Today, I show you how to avoid those downfalls.
Avoiding the three most common downfalls of leaders is not difficult, but requires intentional effort.
Without further ado, here is how you avoid each of the three most common leadership downfalls:
Get constant feedback.
I’ve written a lot about leaders getting feedback from others and I suggest you read those posts. Most of what I write comes from my own experience getting feedback. The short version, if you don’t read those posts is that I was completely naïve to my failings as a leader. I was headed for a downfall and didn’t know it…until I got feedback.
Listen to this post
Leaders usually fail for three reasons.
Watching the downfall of a leader is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Living it, as I have, is even worse.
If you have failed as a leader, read this as a reminder of why and learn from it anew. If you are a successful leader, read this as a warning. If you want to be a leader someday, let this be a call to rise above these typical downfalls and lead with unfailing character and principles.
In middle school, I learned the concept of transitive relationship. If A = B and B = C, then A = C.
Leaders are people. People fail. Therefore, leaders fail. Great leaders fail a lot.
But great leaders also avoid these three common downfalls which often lead to fatal failure, the types that end careers, destroy relationships, and are eventually studied by others as examples of how not to lead.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I am a Christian. That means I believe that the words of Jesus are true. I just don’t always believe that the way people interpret His words are true.
Before we go any further, I want to introduce a new feature on some blog posts: An audio blog. You can listen to this post here. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 that you cannot serve two masters. Essentially, in reference to money and God, He is calling on His followers to pick a side. You can either be a slave to money or a slave to Him.
I’ve heard it said that “God doesn’t need your money.”
I’ve heard this from people I respect, people I admire, and people who mean it well.
But I disagree with them.
When I’ve heard this in the past, it’s often in the context of calling business leaders and others to stop “just writing checks” and get out there “in the world.” And while I think this is well-intended advice, it is often misleading.