In the latter half of the 20th century, elk populations in the United States’ Yellowstone National Park ballooned out of control. You see, back in the 1930’s, the wolf population in the Park was completely eradicated due to over-hunting and other reasons. The absence of wolves was a boon to the elk because despite other minor predators such as bears, cougars and coyotes, the elk flourished and proliferated rapidly. But their success upset the natural ecological balance in the park, takings its toll on other plant and animal species. In 2001, in an attempt to return the ecosystem to a natural balance, Park ecologists reintroduced the grey wolf. And their efforts were successful, and in more ways than they had expected! Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that if goldfish are kept in the dark, their colour fades? This is because goldfish scales are made up of hundreds of photo-reactive cells that respond positively to sunshine and bright light. In fact, aquarium enthusiasts know that the easiest way to get vibrantly-coloured goldfish is to keep them under bright lights for at least a portion of each day. Read the rest of this entry »
Writer and reporter Chris Talbot contacted me late last year about an article about what it takes to motivate employees that he was writing for Service Station and Garage Management magazine. Not surprisingly, I had some opinions and advice to share with Chris! You can read the entire article in the December 2012 issue here:
(It’s a large pdf, give it a couple of minutes to download)
Take a quick skim through, and then come on back to the blog and give us some of your tried-and-true tactics that you’ve used to energize and fire up your staff by adding to the Comments below.
Earlier this year in a previous blog post, I told you about the Hawthorne Effect – ground-breaking research on employee motivation by Dr. Elton Mayo in the 1930’s. In a nutshell, Mayo discovered a fundamental concept that may seem obvious to us today: that workplaces are social environments and people thrive in positive and respectful surroundings. So, as a leader, when you create a positive atmosphere at work, you are much more likely to secure your employees’ cooperation and loyalty, and thus improve productivity and performance. Which leads to the next obvious question: what are some specific things that you can do to create such an environment and motivate and encourage your employees to peak performance?
Here’s one very effective approach: take steps to raise the self-esteem of your employees. And the simplest and most influential way to do so – offer genuine and sincere praise for the things that they do well. The keys to success – first, your praise must be genuine and sincere, and second, keep in mind that saying “thank you” is quite possibly the easiest alternative there is. Now you may think to yourself that you do this already, but wait just a moment … let’s conduct a little experiment. Tomorrow, before you go to work, put ten pennies in one pocket. Read the rest of this entry »
In today’s fast-paced world, you’d expect the biggest workplace challenge for business professionals would be the rapid advance of technology, or the need to keep abreast of the competition, or the myriad of options when it comes to raising financial capital. Yet over and over again, the managers and supervisors I work with tell me something completely different. “Managing and motivating employees” is their toughest challenge they tell me. “Not that the other decisions are unimportant,” they explain. “It’s just that if you are having trouble inspiring the troops, the other challenges can become secondary.” There are no magic pills when it comes to encouraging and motivating your staff (I wish), but one of the answers to this leadership conundrum, believe it or not, has been known for quite a while. In fact, the basic principle of human motivation that helped revolutionize today’s theory and practice of leadership was actually discovered, quite by accident, in the early 1930’s. The Hawthorne Effect, as it has come to be known, demonstrated that the mere act of showing people that you are concerned about them usually spurs them to better job performance.
Here’s a quick history lesson. Read the rest of this entry »
As a die-hard Calgary Flames fan, I was excited to be at my first National Hockey League regular season home game a few weeks ago. It was great to partake in the usual rituals – cheers and boos, hot dogs and mini-donuts, noise-making and flag-waving. And of course, the 50/50 draw! This great tradition is a fund-raiser for the Flames Foundation for Life, a charitable organization that seeks to give back to the community. For a mere $2, you can buy a ticket giving you a chance to win 50% of the total money raised that evening with the remaining 50% going to the charity. This 50/50 draw has been running for as long as I can remember, and at every game (despite the fact that I haven’t won yet) I’ve happily forked over a few bills for a handful of tickets. However, just in the last year, there has been a significant change in how the draw is administered. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re a manager or supervisor, then you know that reward and recognition matters! The problem is that your good intentions don’t always translate into action. Motivating employees can be a challenging task, and believe it or not, increasing their salary is not the solution! If you continually struggle with acknowledging and recognizing those who deserve it AND shortage of money and time are your primary reasons, then you ABSOLUTELY MUST join me at my next live audio event on May 12. In one jam-packed session, I’ll give you specific and practical tips that you can use right away to fire up your employees so that they are willing to go the extra mile! You’ve put it off long enough, so don’t put it off any more!
In one power-packed hour, right from the comfort of your office, I’ll give you specific, practical, and useful tools to motivate employees without spending a fortune! You’ll learn:
- The single most important thing you should do to create a motivated workforce
- At last, the ultimate answer to the question: is money a motivator?
- Realistic and specific zero- and low-cost ways to motivate the troops
- The cookie jar principle and how to use it with your employees
- Current up-to-date information about what motivates employees, including how employee motivation research from the 1930s and 1960s is still applicable in today’s modern workplace
Join me on May 12, 2010 at 11 AM MDT. Early bird pricing in effect ONLY until this Wednesday May 5!
If you’re a manager or supervisor, then you know that reward and recognition matters! The problem is that your good intentions don’t always translate into action. Motivating employees can be a difficult task, and believe it or not, increasing their salary is not the solution! And when you take today’s business environment characterized by tight budgets and fewer resources into account, the challenge becomes even more overwhelming.
What obstacles do YOU face when it comes to motivating your employees? Do you struggle with finding the time and the means to acknowledge and recognize those who deserve it? What gets in the way of you taking steps to ignite your team and encourage high-performance? Ask your tough questions at www.AskMerge.com, and I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can in my live Audio Conference coming up on May 12.
If you’re a manager or supervisor, then you know that recognizing and rewarding your employees is important, but in today’s fast-paced workplace, your good intentions may not always translate into action. The good news is that IS possible to acknowledge and appreciate those who deserve it, WITHOUT spending a fortune! Motivating employees can be a challenging task, and believe it or not, increasing their salary is not the solution! If you’ve attended one of my leadership development seminars, or if you’re a long-time reader of this blog or my print column, you might recall me mention a series of experiments conducted in the late 1920s by Harvard Business School professor Elton Mayo. Seeking to establish the relationship between work conditions and productivity, Mayo looked at the effect of fatigue and monotony on job productivity. At the time, his results were surprising, but today, we know that Mayo had simply discovered a fundamental concept in leadership: that workplaces are social environments. This age-old wisdom is particularly useful if you happen to be a manager or supervisor who faces a shortage of time or money. For six low-cost timeless ideas to motivate people on a shoestring budget (and more about Elton Mayo’s groundbreaking experiment), read this article I wrote back in November 2006: Rewarding Employees.
As a manager, supervisor or team leader, what is your single most difficult challenge when it comes to motivating your employees, particularly when budgets are tight and resources are few? Ask your tough questions at www.AskMerge.com, and Merge will do her best to answer as many as she can in her live Audio Conference coming up on May 12.