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How many times have you been frustrated in your business?  Too many times to count?

How often is that frustration about either motivating yourself as the owner, or motivating your team to engage, participate and produce results?

Chances are you have created structure and accountability for yourself to build and grow your business.

It might be the drive to succeed, provide for your family or make a difference in your industry.

If you are in business and being paid for what you offer you have figured out some level of managing yourself.

The challenge is that what worked for one level of business development is often what holds us back from growing to the next level. So it takes continually challenging how we leverage, structure and motivate ourselves.

And that is doubly true when applied to our team.

A book I recommend every business owner (and parent) read is called “Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink.

“From Daniel H. Pink, the author of the bestselling A Whole New Mind, comes a paradigm-shattering look at what truly motivates us and how we can use that knowledge to work smarter and live better.”

Daniel pulls from 40 years of human behaviour research and applies it to business.

What he found is that most businesses still use the “carrot and stick” approach. In other words, do this activity or task and you will get “x” reward, if you don’t do it there is a consequence.

That approach worked successfully in the twentieth century because the focus was on repetitive tasks as we became more industrialized (think assembly lines).

Unfortunately it is exactly the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges.

As we have moved into the knowledge and information age what we need more from our team is their thinking and creative problem solving applied to the business.

In Drive, Daniel examines the three elements of true motivation – autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Autonomy is about people having some freedom of choice. The job still needs to be done, but there are always ways that the person doing the job can be creative on how they do it, or their improvement ideas are welcomed.

The results of the job may be set, but it’s possible that the team member doing the job may actually have better ideas for how the job can be done.

If you have heard of the iPower Program Ken Glickman delivers, this is a good example of encouraging employees to develop improvement thinking and increase autonomy.

Mastery is the freedom to develop ability, skills, experience and knowledge. There is a sense for your team that they are encouraged to improve.

Mastery is not always about advancement – moving up the corporate ladder so to speak. It is more about becoming the best they can be which sometimes equates to a different role, but may just be getting better and better at what they do.

Purpose is feeling they make a contribution, that they are part of something that makes a difference.

In an entrepreneurial organization every single person is important and directly contributes to the success and results of the company.

It’s important that your team members understand how they contribute and they feel appreciated and valued.

A carpet cleaning technician needs to understand they are not just cleaning carpets – they are being trusted to be in the family home (for residential cleaning), they are creating a clean, healthy environment and they offer solutions for people taking pleasure in and care of their home.

Can you see how if a technician believed they were having that kind of an impact they would be much more interested in the quality of what they were doing, and the pride they took in their role?

“We all have a deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and crate new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”

How does this apply to you and your business? Start by considering each of the three elements individually.

What type of autonomy is important to your team and your business? How can you start integrating more autonomy with your team? Hint: smart small and fine-tune.

Are there courses, materials or books that would support your team development?

As the owner it is important that you are clear the purpose and value of your business. Your business is not just what you sell!  Share what you see as the purpose and value of your business with your team – what difference do you make for your customers?

Discuss with your team the importance of their role, and remember to acknowledge their progress and contribution on a regular basis.

And I highly recommend reading Daniel Pink’s book. In it he includes real world business examples, as well as strategies for implementing the ideas for yourself and your company.


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