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Strata Performance Solutions

Helping companies find their Full Potential.

March 19th, 2012 by Robert Ringstrom

Zig Ziglar was a masterful motivator. A client once challenged him by stating that his motivational efforts only lasted for a day. Zig replied, “You’re right; and that‘s why I suggest motivation on a daily basis.” He also offers his “Day Before Vacation” story. Think about your last day at work before you went on vacation. Did you get as much done in that day as you would normally get done in two, three, or even four days? Have you ever considered how this could be used to motivate employees?

How many people sit down a day or more before a vacation and make a to-do list? It’s quite common. The list is pretty clear. As you complete a task, it’s scratched off and your mind jumps to the next step. You probably even tackle the hardest or most critical ones first. You’re performing like a “clean-up” engineer on steroids, tearing through the list efficiently and by the numbers. You know that you want no distractions to your planned “vacation mind-set”. As the list gets shorter, you feel your energy rise. Everyone had better get out of the way; this race horse wants to run!

Let’s have a look at the principles behind this focus and how it would apply to your employees’ performance and development. Of course, it’s probably not very practical to schedule rapidly-impending vacation days on a regular basis simply to build up ‘organizational steam’. But with some initial positive experiences, the internal sense of satisfaction can ultimately transition into a pattern of motivation every time the slate is cleaned.

Over-arching goals are very useful in keeping the focus on quarterly or annual objectives; or even 5-year plans. But the short term goals are the ones that ultimately close the gap. Helping staff learn to appreciate the value of goal achievement is critical to consistently ending up the year where you want everything and everyone to be; on top of the world!

Every employee should have their own personal set of goals; each one demonstrably connected to the achievement of the organizational goals. These should be mutually identified and agreed to by the individual and by management. It would be imperative that mandatory quality achievements would supersede any rate-of-completion standards. This is really nothing new here, but it is one of those minutiae that can get lost in the fray as organizations become more obsessed with “just working harder”.

The goals are really about making everyone happy. Objectives are a measure of goal achievement. Happiness is discovered by reaching the objective of the goal. Can the boss count the dollar signs of durable success of the organizational efforts at the same time that each participating member realizes the satisfaction of completing a job well done? No one is jumping down anyone’s throat and the smiles can be counted everywhere; happiness abounds. That is motivating! You can almost hear the birds chirping.

Keep in mind these three essentials of goals:

1. Objectives must be measurable.

2. Objectives must have a timeframe.

3. Objectives must be attainable.

It’s a sign of a struggling workforce when people simply ‘show up’ for their job. That is really more about collecting a paycheck. It does not reflect an engaged workplace. How engaged are the people where you work?

Bob Ringstrom

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