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Ryan’s Journal: What Motivates Us?

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hypophyse/4019712420/

I touched on this a bit last week with regards to what motivates people. It’s different for all of us of course, but there is something that drives us.

Whenever I am particularly candid with myself, I find that fear of disappointing others is always high on my list. But I also have a drive to be unique.

Sometimes I look at lists that show how only a few people have achieved something and I make it my goal to join that group.

A bucket list item of mine is to climb the seven summits. These are the highest peaks on each continent. Very few have done it as it requires an immense amount of time and money. I figure if I can accomplish that then I have done something right in other areas if my life. Enough about me though.

What motivates others?

I had a conversation today with a fellow sales rep. She has been successful in the past couple of years and has accomplished some life goals. One was paying off debt. That’s a big one. She also had her eye on a few personal objects, one being a Rolex.

Last year she said she had the ability to finally buy one and not feel guilty. I realize most out there probably have other priorities, but this was hers.

As she began her search for a Rolex that would fit her tastes she was surprised to learn that her company had went ahead and purchased one for her as a gift.

Her boss had overheard her saying how she wanted one and decided to reward her hard work by giving the Rolex as a gift. My friend said this was the most meaningful item she had ever received in her career.

When I asked why she said it wasn’t because of the watch. It was the fact that someone took the time to listen to her, remember what she said and care.

Her boss didn’t have to give the gift, but they understood that we are all motivated in different ways. For my friend that motivation was to feel validated.

As I go about my week I am going to take the time to see what motivates those around me.

What motivates you?

Image credit: hypo-physe

Golden Oldies: Self-starter Does Not Mean Self-managed

Monday, January 11th, 2016

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1209643

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over nearly a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

The effort to flatten management has been going on for awhile culminating in the idea of totally eliminating it and culminating in holacracy . I’m not impressed. Read other Golden Oldies here

How flat should an organization be?

How well do “self-starters” manage themselves?

Crucial questions for startups and small businesses, since how they are addressed can make or break the company.

Often the most important hires made when a company wants to grow are in sales.

Founders and owners often have technical, marketing or business backgrounds and many have a tendency to shrug when it comes to sales.

They see hiring salespeople as no big deal—there is an assumption that as long as they have a good track record in their previous sales position and understand the new product they can manage themselves.

If this sounds off base to you, you’re right, it’s not that simple. To use a real-life example, I had a client who thought that way.

The CEO hired “Jack” (before my time), a salesman with a fantastic record selling a parallel product to the same market.

The CEO personally taught Jack the product line and explained what the company was working to accomplish and then pretty much gave him free reign.

In the year Jack was with them he sold only two accounts, spent a good deal of his time on marketing and managed one large client; commissions totaled only $15K.

When he left he went to work in a field completely unrelated to anything he’d done before and in a market about which he knew nothing. In his first year at the new company he earned over 125K in commissions.

The difference was management.

Based on his track record both the CEO and Jack assumed that he could manage himself.

However, Jack didn’t have, and didn’t create for himself, the structure, accountability, etc., necessary to be successful.

During his exit interview he admitted that although he had no knowledge or training in marketing, he spent substantially more time than he should have because it was new and exciting.

After the CEO and I had fully analyzed what happened he concluded that the failure was 80-20, with the 80% his responsibility.

Hind sight is 20/20 and my client believes that if he had taken the time to do what was needed, instead of expecting Jack to completely manage himself, that he would still be with the company and doing a spectacular job.

The important lesson here is that “self-starter” does not mean “self-managed.” Even the best will need direction, structure, and accountability in order to perform brilliantly.

I’ve read multiple articles on holacracy, including Tony Hsieh actions at Zappos, but I believe that most people enjoy working for good managers and that they excel more and grow faster.

Of course, the operative word is “good”.

Image credit: iamwahid

The Value of Validation

Monday, April 6th, 2015

https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/5790730182

Do you like hearing “you did good” or the appropriate equivalent when you accomplish something, whether large or small?

It’s safe to say that 99.9% of us do.

It’s called validation and it’s what takes our accomplishments out of our heads and gives them objective, real-world presence.

We measure our success based on our accomplishments, so outside validation has always been important.

Validation used to come came from our family, friends, bosses, colleagues — people we knew and who knew us.

Now people crave and seek validation from strangers they have never met and probably never will.

Society seems to have decided that recognition and approval from thousands via virtual communities and soulless apps have more value than the same from flesh and blood people.

Personally, I find it very weird, but I guess it’s just one more thing that makes me a digital dinosaur.

Image credit: DonkeyHotey 

Milestone 3500

Monday, June 30th, 2014

butterfly_bottomToday marks a small, in the scheme of things, accomplishment for me.

It is my 3500th post, counting both MAPping Company Success and Leadership Turn, which I wrote for B5 media.

The count isn’t perfect, since I freely admit that I fudged now and then using posts from here on Leadership Turn and vice

butterfly_bottom

versa, reposted a few over the years and then there are the guest posts.

But the WordPress counter says 3500 and I’ll take it.

I am also giving myself the day off.

But just in case you do need some inspiration today, click over to the July Leadership Development Carnival; you can’t go wrong.

I hope you all enjoy my milestone as much as I plan to!

Oddball Facts: Adversity and Accomplishment

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/642052Adversity: a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress. Plenty of that around these days, but adversity is relative and doesn’t necessarily preclude world-shattering accomplishments. Consider these examples of adversity and accomplishment.

  • Sir Walter Raleigh, after getting in deep doo-doo with the queen, spent 13 years in prison. How did he spend his time? He wrote The History of the World.
  • Beethoven composed his greatest music after he went deaf.
  • The poet Dante worked–and died–in exile.
  • Daniel DeFoe wrote Robinson Crusoe while in prison.
  • Pilgrim’s Progress was penned by John Bunyan during his imprisonment in Bedford Jail.
  • He was too poor to buy paper so he used scraps of leather. That’s how Miguel de Cervantes managed to produce Don Quixote while jailed in Madrid.

If you want more current examples think about Dawn Loggins, whose life started among bullying, a broken home, drug use, squalor and, finally, abandonment by her parents, but was just accepted to Harvard.

Or Samantha Garvey of Long Island, who spent the last year in a homeless shelter with her family, but was one of 300 semi-finalists for the annual Intel Science Talent Search.

Now, what were you saying about adversity?

Hat tip to Steve Roesler for the historical adversity list.

Image credit: emospada

Quotable Quotes: Robert W. Service

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

I never heard of Robert W. Service until I came across something he said and looked him up.

The quote that caught my interest was this, “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” You have to admit that along with the obvious accuracy of the statement there is a good deal of wisdom there also.

I certainly didn’t connect Service with his main claim to fame, but if you are old enough you, too, have probably heard this line from his most famous poem, “Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead, was Dangerous Dan McGrew, While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that’s known as Lou.” For those of you unfamiliar it’s called The Shooting of Dan McGrew and you can read it here.

Service believed in the value of shutting up or, to use his more polite wording, “Be sure your wisest words are those you do not say.”

Lastly, a bit of wisdom that is well worth adding to your life guidance principles, “A promise made is a debt unpaid.

See you all tomorrow; have a wonderful day.

Image credit: Wikipedia

What People Want

Monday, May 14th, 2012

1193408_business_concepts_people_7Back when I worked for other companies I was considered “difficult.”

When I was young I was fired from one job for not taking my 15 minute breaks twice a day and from another for being too honest with a customer.

I spent 12 years working for a manager who never understood that all I wanted was acknowledgment and/or appreciation—without having to ask for it.

“Good job;” “congratulations, hell of a deal;” “good to see you back, we missed you.”

I was one of the top producers in his office, but the only time he said anything was when I brought whatever to his attention.

As most anyone will tell you, positive feedback or compliments are worthless when you need to prompt the source for them.

Often small efforts yield large results. My boss wanted me to move to the next level, but gave me no reason to put out the effort—the money wasn’t enough, I wanted to matter.

I recently told this story to a manager with high turnover in his department. He responded that he didn’t have time to “babysit” and expected his people to act like adults.

I told him he was a fool.

Stock.xchng image credit: arte_ram

Quotable Quotes: Accomplishment

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

accomplishment

I seem to be on a roll around my house and garden getting all kinds of stuff that I’ve been procrastinating for months done leaving me with a giant sense of accomplishment. I love that feeling; I make task lists just to cross off the items and get that feeling of accomplishment.

So I thought that would be an apropos to see what others have to say about accomplishments.

There is an old saying that sums up why accomplishing stuff makes me feel good, “Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling, enduring, and accomplishing.”

Even though the lists help me get things done and make me happy, I’m heedful of the German Proverb, Who begins too much accomplishes little,” which, when you think about it, is why so many people end up accomplishing so little.

Obviously, accomplishment has a major place in business environment.

As Barry C. Forbes said, “Ideas are the raw material of progress. Everything first takes shape in the form of an idea. But an idea by itself is worth nothing. An idea, like a machine, must have power applied to it before it can accomplish anything.”

Power means people, not companies, but individuals working together. Colin Powell said it best, “Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish  anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”

And while you are searching for the people who can accomplish the great deed, it’s wise to remember what Doug Larson said, “Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”

Combine that with the words of Harry S. Truman and you have an unbeatable combination as well as the hallmark of a great leader/manager., “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Finally, Fred Allen offers us a kernel of wisdom inside a little bit of levity; read it carefully and if the shoe fits throw it out!

“A molehill man is a pseudo-busy executive who comes to work at 9 AM and finds a molehill on his desk. He has until 5 PM to make this molehill into a mountain. An accomplished molehill man will often have his mountain finished before lunch.”

Image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/956033

Amaze Yourself

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

TCBheader_3Sometimes we amaze ourselves. Not because someone else says something, but because we revisit something we did a week or a month or longer in the past and we see it from the outside—and we are amazed.

We look at it and marvel; the quality and execution impresses; the inherent value surprises; and we revel in the fact that it is our creation.

It doesn’t matter what it is, big or small; whether it was produced at work or elsewhere; it doesn’t even matter if anyone else will ever see it.

We look and we are amazed.

This happens to me when I read something I wrote a month, a year, a decade ago. Not everything, but more than I would expect.

It doesn’t matter if anyone else agrees or says anything, although it’s great when they do, but I read and am amazed.

Today I want to share my amazement with you.

A few months ago I received an email from the editor of The Conference Board Review inviting me to submit an article for the next issue.

The Conference Board Review is the quarterly magazine of The Conference Board, the world’s preeminent business membership and research organization. Founded in 1976, TCB Review is a magazine of ideas and opinion that raises tough questions about leading-edge issues at the intersection of business and society.

And not just for the online version, but to appear in the actual magazine.

When I opened the hard copy and read my article that is when the real amazement hit.

The article is called Management vs. Leadership and is the second of four articles on leadership. I hope you’ll take time to read them all, then come back and comment.

One more thing, just for the thrill of it, review things you did in the past and be amazed.

Your comments—priceless

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Image credit: The Conference Board

Blow Yourself Away

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

A few months ago I received an email from the editor of The Conference Board Review inviting me to submit an article for the next issue.

The Conference Board Review is the quarterly magazine of The Conference Board, the world’s preeminent business membership and research organization. Founded in 1976, TCB Review is a magazine of ideas and opinion that raises tough questions about leading-edge issues at the intersection of business and society.

And not just for the online version, but to appear in the actual magazine.

I often go back and read stuff I wrote days, months, even years ago and it never ceases to surprise me. I read the TCB article online (it is the second article on the page) and that was cool, but today the magazine came and I read it again. The thrill of seeing something I wrote in a slick magazine like TCB Review was great, but when I reread it I was blown away.

Not because someone else says something, but because revisiting, but because something we did a week or a month or longer in the past and we see it from the outside—and we are blown away.

We look at it and marvel; the quality and execution impresses; the inherent value surprises; and we revel in the fact that it is our creation.

It doesn’t matter what it is, big or small; whether it was produced at work or elsewhere; it doesn’t even matter if anyone else will ever see it.

We look and we are amazed.

I hope you will take time to read it and come back and comment.

One more thing, just for the thrill of it, review things you did in the past and I’ll bet some of them will blow you away, too.

Image credit: The Conference Board

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