May 29th, 2013
Have you ever watched someone’s face when you respond with “I am fine how about you” when asked by a stranger how you are? Try it. It is almost stops them in their tracks with amazement and you might just receive a great incentive for doing so, a smile. Why? Because it sadly “How are you?” has just become an empty routine statement, a sort of ice breaker.
The world has become rushed and afraid to share in human interaction. Human interaction is not only important for our well being, it is crucial to your business. We must make connections to others to grow and fulfill our reason for being to love our brothers and sisters here on earth. Your business must be deeper than an email or text message, it must be human to human visual and auditory communications. Say things with your eyes, reach out and pat someone on the back and feel. The true incentive of communication is to drop seeds in your garden and see what develops. Will all be long lasting life relationships, no but some will develop into relationship of mutual respect and understanding.
An incentive sometimes is viewed as a selfish goal in exchange for action. The truth of the matter is the incentive of good intention is one that touches many. If you business relationships are one that cheers the other on and finds job in brotherhood, all will succeed. Sure it is something so simple but as simple is even hello is becoming more difficult.
Set up a front porch of sorts for your business. Develop a ritual to spend time at the same coffee shop, neighborhood bar or start a networking group that incorporates fun. The front porches of days past were away to wave hello to passerby and after awhile inviting people over for lemonade. It was an incentive, a casual act in an inviting setting. Today, you can construct your own front porch by learning how to make others comfortable and asking how they are and really mean it. Ask question and listen, listen to tones and be aware of the excitement in someone’s eye when they talk about something of interest. Be excited and convey your feelings openly so that you too feel. Feeling is not a bad thing, it is a real thing. It s life business or personal at its best. With practice your porch will soon be decorated with friends that make up friendship bouquets made up of different flowers inviting all to join in for lemonade.
The incentive of good communication.
May 28th, 2013
Whether your self motivated or pin up vacation photos on your cubicle wall, dreaming about the chances of winning a new car that is being given away for top sales this year. You have a carrot in mind and the more you see and think about it, you can almost taste it. You carrot is perfect in your mind with no twists, it is as sweet as honey and the crown is lacy and is green as green can be. How funny, all of a sudden you begin to notice carrots everywhere and the color orange is now more visible in things that you never dreamed of! It is as if the carrot seed had been planted in your mind for you to grow at rapid pace with each thought of how you were going to obtain it. You stretch to reach your goals. The more you stretch and push, the more you taste your delicious carrot.
If we imagine each and every aspect of that carrot we are more than half way there. So what if you have to stretch to make it happened or feel that you have never won the contest before, it is your turn. You should forget the past that may have been filed with short comings because it is holding you back, it is stealing your power to vision. Find strength from learning from the success of others and achievements no matter how small from your past. When you all of a sudden start to see successes being achieved, celebrate! Jot down what got you to each step because each step is the building block that is going to get you there. While working towards your goal find incentives that help you achieve other things in your personal life. Call your friends and family so they can rejoice in your celebration and ask them to keep you motivated to win. Chances are that these same incentives will carry over to your professional life and as you achieve things in you personal life your momentum will increase putting you on the road to success at work.
What you deserve is everything, one person does not deserve more than another. We all have been given gifts from God to help us live our best life ever. To love, to work, to achieve and share of our gifts with others. As you share yourself with others, recruit people that you have helped to become part of your support team. Everyone needs a cheerleader and when you have achieved, get your pom poms ready for those on your team.
The incentive of each of us is a different one and not all of us are driven by new cars and money. Become an observer of the rich and successful. When you see them making big purchases or scaling the face of the highest mountain, ask yourself what motivates them. Take note of what they do right before they scale the face of that mountain. Do they have a ritual, how do others on their cheerleading team play a role? How does success look on their face and on the faces of those around them when they achieve. Those who are successful are examples on how to achieve and are living how to books for you to learn from. Be bold next time you witness greatness, ask that individual what motivates them. Sometimes we think that success people have had a leg up in life but most of the time they just knew how and when to lift their leg up as they climbed up.
What is your path to success? What is your incentive? If you cannot easily answer that question, it is time to sit in a quiet place and list
March 1st, 2013
Happy Friday! Many managers got up a little earlier today so they could stop by the donut store on the way into the office this morning. Who doesn’t like a donut after all, right? As soon as word gets out that someone walked in with donuts heads pop up over cubicles like a bunch of ostriches. Once everyone grabs their favorite and a cup of coffee then the sugar slug soon begins to set in and motivation slowly fades away leaving only thoughts of lunch and the great escape for the weekend.
Bring in the donuts on Friday and real incentives for every day. Incentives that make a difference to employees and their families. Something that makes life a little easier these days is an incentive to many who are trying to make ends meet. Insurance incentives that provide supplemental coverage to help fill in the gaps or reduce deductibles such as dental, vision, prescription drugs and telemedicine reaching a doctor or nurse 24/7 for minor illness. These incentives will benefit the entire family without a considerable expense to you, their employers.
Suggestions to Drive Production & Quality:
Training Bank – Provide each employee an allotted amount of hours per month to train in a department from an approved list. The only requirement is provide an idea that may enhance their own department and how they benefited personally from the experience. Create a chart noting progress to be discussed during their One-on-Ones.
Job Swap – Every second Friday job swap for 1/2 a day to promote cross training and job advancement. This includes swapping with the boss, a big incentive!
Assign an Incentive – Survey your staff on what improvement should be tied to what incentive asking them to submit the rules and their ideas for approval before beginning.
Motivate the Manager – During alone time have an honest conversation with yourself writing down how you will motivate and reward yourself so that you can in turn inspire others.
Hire for Attitude – On occasion we hire just below the bar because the candidate has dynamite and contagious personality, this is a must do to help stimulate the group. An employee who may lake the highest level of skill but can add a lot to the team is a true benefit.
Suggestion for Fun Department Events:
- Celebrate the seasons (fall, winter, spring & summer) with themed events that the employees vote on.
- Host meetings outside on beautiful spring days, a terrific incentive.
- Tap into your employee’s skills and ask them to present training, provide beneficial tips and suggestions for incentives.
- Coordinate a lunch, happy hour, bowling or other outside the office event for your department.
- Organize a joint potluck with other departments to foster team work.
- Have a beautiful pet contest where each employee provides a picture and brief bio about their pet.
- Best foot forward sock contest complete with runway walk, move over Tyra Banks.
- Entrepreneur Award for the best idea to increase productivity or improve quality incentive.
As with any well developed wine, you must first let it breath to fully appreciate it. None of us want to spend a gorgeous spring day at work, give and your will receive. Give the chance to learn, give time, give space and yes, give them a little bit of freedom to breath and have some fun!
November 15th, 2012
The other day I heard two people talking at the table next to me at Starbuck’s while I enjoyed my chai tea. One of the women told her friend and peer that she was accused of being an “Employee’s Manager” by her in personable boss. She told her friend she was shocked by his comment and hurt by his lack of support. Within a few minutes she actually said she was not really too surprised because he was what she calls an “Absentee Boss”, he only came around when he needed something or when he had an opportunity to rattle her cage.
As they continued to talk and eat their muffins and people began to thin out inside, she was asked by her friend how things were going for her department. She wondered if perhaps he was upset because her team was maybe not making their service level agreements or if customer complaints were on the rise about her employees. The frustrated manager said that neither was true but she did notice that her boss seemed increasingly disinterested in her efforts to raise morale after the ups and downs of this recession. Some of her other peers on the floor also seemed to be recent how her employees raved about her and thought that her cheerleader attitude was ridiculous and unnecessary at times. Most managers made sure they met production standards, followed employee development requirements and nothing more. They were good managers with a different management style.
Today’s workplace more than ever we are made up of different races, ages and education levels. The common ground really is only that everyone is trying to keep their jobs, election debates and survive this long recession. No matter what the economy, the department or the situation employees in the work place want to be appreciated. They want to have you look them in the eyes a few mornings out of the months to say a sincere good morning. They want a manager who truly does not hide behind a smiley mask asking them how they are while walking by at light speed without even hearing the employee’s entire response. Work is work but there is absolutely no reason why a manager cannot care or insert motivational incentives along the way.
If we put a stake down for an afternoon investing in some time alone, we will come to realize that what motivates us as managers is in part what motivates our employees. Not that our employees are like our children but after awhile you get to know what motivates them, what makes them not succeed and what ignites their passion.
What motivates crowds who wait for days in the rain for the “Twilight” movie premier for a chance to see their favorite star and be the first to see the movie? People want to feel and feel cared for at an emotional level, they want to be connected and be part of a community. Being part of a community is a big reason why people want to connect on Face book, Twitter and why they still pay $13.00 dollars or more for a ticket to go see a movie that they can rent in a few months.
How do you become an employee’s manager to get the best production results?
1) Let the real you come out, laugh a little and smile. Talk about your weekend or fun community activities you heard about.
2) Walk around right before it is time to get off work and thank employees for their work that day.
3) Schedule one on ones that spend at least the first 5 minutes on getting to know your employees. Ask them what movies they have recently scene or ask them if they caught the game on Monday night.
4) When invited, participate in events that your employees schedule such as potlucks. Don’t forget that just because you are the boss does not mean that you eat at the potluck and don’t bring a dish. I can’t tell you how many times this really does happen.
5) Bring in articles you may come across in the Sunday paper or in magazines that let the employees know that you did pay attention while your employee was speaking with you and that you are sincerely interest in what they shared.
6) Pay attention to your employee’s desk, anything new on it? Make a positive comment and talk it. The funny items most employees have on their desk make it an easy and fun topic.
7) Survey your employees and ask them what topics they would like to discuss in future meetings. Don’t forget to ask them if they want to be a presenter or do some show and tell regarding recent training or conferences that they may have attended.
8) Thank your employees frequently and especially, during holidays. Use employee incentives to kick up morale and carry you through the holiday season.
It is your job to make the number but don’t forget that it is your employees who do it for you. If they are happy, you will be happy. You don’t have to be a push over to be the boss that keeps employee wanting to come to work each day.
October 17th, 2012
Wow a free vacation condo in a resort, really? You are kidding, all I have to do is quickly blast out an email back to you with a date when I want go within the next two weeks? How can this be, there has got to be a catch. Who gives a resort vacation away for free without a catch? Who? What is their incentive for doing this? Well, after day dreaming about my vacation at this resort I figured out the “why”. The why is because this company is going to literally receive hundreds of immediate responses to their offer which enables them to learn who is still in business, who is reading their emails, what the recipient’s most current address and phone number is and which are interested in receiving contact from their company? This exercise is an interesting way of putting together their Christmas Solicitation List. Very cleaver guys!
Have you begun your Christmas Solicitation List yet? You can still make it and follow these tips to make the most of your efforts.
1) Look at 2012 trends, what are people talking and tweeting about.
2) make sure your inventory is in check, nothing worse than having orders and no products.
3) Decide what your eye catching theme will be.
4) If necessary, staff up for the holidays and train, train, trains.
5) Line up incentives for bundled services or products to make them more attractive.
6) Create special incentives and services for purchases before Black Friday.
7) Offer free services such as gift tags, gift wrap or pairing ideas.
Partner with other business that is complimentary to your business and workout an incentive plan for them to participate.
9) Are you ready to send SMS Text messages to iphones and tablets? More shoppers are using the latest technology and you will want to reach every one of them.
10) Establish a Pinterest holiday marketing campaign with lots of fun incentives.
11) E-gift card or retainable coupon codes that act as a certificate.
12) Create incentives for referrals and increase sales!
The important thing to remember if you get started early, you can keep selling all season long as people begin to find value you in your product and service buying for many others.
Here is too a great 2012 Christmas season!
October 12th, 2012
So your business partner or your husband left you, who cares right? So the competition one upted you this year, you’ll show them! We have always been told that revenge is something we are never to act on because it only brings us bad Karma but if you use those “I will show you’s” as rocket fuel, revenge can be a great thing!
How many times have you made the wrong decisions and changed your way of doing things? Like many of us, we all have. We trusted the wrong person, jumped when we should have waited or did not answer the door when we heard opportunity knock.
It is time to use all that energy that made us so mad that we could have picked up our car at that moment in time and thrown it across the boulevard! Gather up that piss and vinegar and your pen to draft your plan. Don’t wait, pick up the phone and call an old contact NOW! Take advantage of that boiling emotion that we usually experience when something goes really wrong and use it as a creative incentive tool to make something go really right. Don’t leave that boiling emotion to just raise your blood pressure, bottle it up for a few minutes and take a quick note on just how you would go about your “I’ll show you” moment.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not good enough. Look to celebrities and successful business owners, many have been told since they were young teenagers that they would never amount to anything or that they are not beautiful or smart enough. Those that have to deal with rejection as part of their business know not to take things too personally and if one zinger comes along with more sharp edges than the last, they simply use those edges to help them cut away the crap and find an incentive to move up and on.
Revenge is about first making a vow to yourself then self talking yourself into success that has not yet been realized. Because of you are angry you have envisioned bragging about your new found success to your enemy. A grudge that is a motivational stepping stool until you your dream is solidified. Remember to only focus on sweet revenge when it is helpful then put it away and forget about it while you wait for your success to happen.
Working towards poetic justice we think of Shakespeare’s plays that has helped leaders unravel strong motivations such as revenge, ambition, success and power. Instead we hear about people who have suffered small unfortunate career occurences that if some are smart can be used to help them achieve greatness. A layoff, being looked over for a promotion or a client choosing another after your business has bent over backward to provide quality service. Look passed the possibilities of evil sabotage and capture the energy for goodness.
Finding incentives along the winding journey is better than a straight path to success because you will learn much more as you earn your sweet revenge. Here is to your success!
July 18th, 2012
Ah the new relationship. You meet and overcome that awkward first conversation then find that you are really meeting someone who will matter. You exchange emails, text messages that then lead to coffee, lunch and dinner. Every conversation will of course not lead to a lifelong friend or million dollar business deal but each has a possibility of enriching your life and just may provide you the incentive of a fruitful referral.
After time passes, it becomes important to not let your new and existing relationships fade. We lead busy lives in the U.S. and need to stop to adopt the values of socializing that our European friends have. Europeans take things slower connecting with friends and family over long lunches and dinners enjoying each other’s company and a nice bottle or two of wine. Sitting at a cafe taking in the fresh air and spending time talking about one another’s families with a sprinkling of business here and there are the incentive glue to building business.
Valuable relationships require an investment of time. Emailing and texting at holidays will only leave your relationships to become a brief thought during holidays without a real incentive to reach out to you and your business. Connecting during Thanksgiving and Christmas alone and will feel insincere and may be seen as only an attempt to reconnect to do business during the holidays when you have not spoken all year long.
Business connections, employees and donors have one thing in common; they have great intentions just like you do. They intended to do business, increase sales and donate blood but the reality is their view of your relationship with them can also fade. Just like a plant, you must feed, water and let things breath but don’t wait too long because it will be time to water and feed again! Don’t see this as a chore, each action is an opportunity to get in front of business connections to do business and meet others.
So, how do you become a bit of a European and socialize?
1) Take a breath and take time to enjoy the day. Walk and greet others on the street while enjoying the vistas of life in the neighborhood.
2) Plan to meet others two weeks in advanced to be sure you make the date for coffee or lunch. Look for places that energetic with an incentive of promoting lots of conversation.
3) Bring a conversation piece such as an interesting article or have one in mind to spark conversation.
4) Share vacation photos and talk about what you found to be funny or interesting.
5) Bring a small gift for their kids or their desk that shows you have been thinking of them.
Keep things casual and relaxed. Do not look at your watch or gobble your food. Think about the true incentive, a time to spend away from work while getting to know someone else in this world. Feel honored that the individual chose you to spend an hour or two of their time with you, a real compliment.
It is not a complicated formula. While you get more sleep, eat well, exercise and socialize thing will magically come together. You will meet more people, meet their people and do more business.
May 31st, 2012
Have you noticed a change in the work place? If you take an informal survey, you will find that there are now seniors over 65 years of age, those over 50, people in their 30′s and college kids all working together. It is now very common to find 4 generations working on a project together in one aspect or another, each being influenced by their own generation. Each group performing at peak levels when provided with a motivating incentive.
Managers are learning that they need to change their ideas about how to manage diverse age groups of their team members. Attracting new employees and retaining them depends mostly in part to their manager’s ability to understand the behavior that drive individuals within the group. Management should never be considered a one size fits all approach. Each age group has been influenced by different economic, social trends and technologies with their own incentives for working.
Looking Back by Decade
70′s to 80′s - It was easy to recruit and retain employees. Women entered the work force more and more with an education. Employees wanted more money, quick advancement and benefits. Employees had the power over employers.
80′s to 90′s - Downsizing, rightsizing, re-engineering and the push to eliminate waste and find ways to do more with less. Employees were shocked by the trend and held on for dear life. Employee loyalty begins to fade and employees jump from job to job because it is the only way to make more money. The usual annual increase of 4% did not keep the bills paid. Some employees were lucky to receive stock options while working at start up companies. The employer now had the power.
2000′s – Complete survival as companies continued to cut back and reduce benefits. Many employees went back to school to obtain Masters Degrees but did not see a big increase in pay but did help them survive. Networking became a necessity with more competition for jobs and more foreign born people taking the helm at many corporations in the U.S. The middle class white male seems to be the minority. Employer power remains.
Although it is still an employer’s world with more bargaining power over employees, there continues to be a worldwide shortage of skilled workers. People who are technically educated and specialized in computer science, life science, supply chain, technical engineers, plumbers or welders are in high demand globally. This is creates a need for incentives to attract and retain skilled workers. It also demands more from managers. Managers must be trained in Emotional Intelligence and understand the driving behaviors of each generation.
People except positions or quit them because of their relationship with their manager. Managers are viewed as coaches, teachers, counselors and sometimes friends. Since we spend much of our lives at work, no one wants to work for a dictator or absentee boss who does not care for their employees at some level. That is why more Fortune 500 companies require from CEO’s to Managers to take Emotional Intelligence tests to learn if they are good with people and have the ability to naturally inspire others. They days of ”My way or the high way” are long gone especially, for the Gen Y generation. An education is alone is not going to cut it any more, people skills are crucial when managing people. Some can learn to be good leaders but the best leaders are natural ones.
In my opinion, mid-level managers are in the most high pressured position of them all. They must satisfy lofty corporate goals while trying to keep everyone motivated during downsizing, cuts in benefits and incentives. Managers have less time to interact with their teams assuring that their departments are motivated and remains strong so they can do more with less. Managers are often in an uncomfortable sandwich between their upper level management’s demands, employees complaining about production demands and pay. These people need to be motivated and cared for too so that your managers attract and retain skilled, loyal workers.
How to Motivate the Generations?
Those in their 40′s and 50′s want incentives that provide perks for the entire family to enjoy. This includes discounts to restaurants, movies and supplemental health benefits. Some in this age group are faced caring for their parents and college aged children with insurance expenses at the top of their list. They also want more time in casual clothes, fun Fridays, relaxed summer schedule and growth opportunities.
For those 18 to 35 years of age they are looking for all that the 40 and 50 year olds are looking for but want lots of additional training, real opportunities within 1 to 2 years, a relaxed environment meaning the use of their lap top and cell phone. They want a manager who does not just give them lip service but walks the talk. They want a manager who cares about them, their families, their friends and sincerely listens to their ideas. This generation is also looking to help the world. They want to donate to charities of their choice through the pay checks, work in the community and virtual opportunities to work from home or the beach.
Key Retention Points:
- Improve middle management’s skills
- Provide benefits and incentives that entire family can enjoy
- Training, training, training
- Lots of pats on the back and rewards
- Life and financial planning
- Immediately work with managers that are a problem
- An open work environment
- Engagement opportunities
- Access to talent coups
- Camaraderie events to build stronger and friendly teams
What has not changed in the work place, “Treat others as you wish to be treated”.
May 21st, 2012
Every work day you hear the alarm, give it a good smack then hope for a minute that it was all a bad dream. When the alarm buzzes for the second time, a thought crosses your mind to sleep in and forget about your responsibilities but what happens right after is called an incentive. The incentive is MONEY. That is right, the thing that makes the world go around. Money to feed our kids, pay the rent, go on vacation, pay for college and hopefully, money to retire one day.
How can you express gratitude or motivate others without spending any money?
- Plan a non-meeting with music and snacks, a social hour to demonstrate appreciate and team build
- Fun Friday themes (Hawaiian shirt day, crazy sock, sports) is a great incentive and keeps Fridays from being a sick day
- Greet people every day with a warm smile
- Thank people for a job well done in person nameing the service or item produced so they know you really did notice
- Host a brown bag lunch outside for meetngs and have fun motivating simple ice breaking games
- The grand incentive of being a manager for a day including any perks that a manager might experience on a given day
- Bring a comfort item to work day (teddy bear, toy or music)
- Provide a longer lunch or break for the day
- Arrange cross training or shadowing with an manager or upper management executive
- Do you hobnob with interesting or important people? Bring them to work for a meet and greet
- Theme potlucks with sister departments
- The most eye catching incentive or all, give everyone an hour off on a given Friday to start the weekend off early
The incentive industry is dedicated to creating motivating incentives to enrich relationships with customers, employees, donors and members. The true spirit of partnership is reflected in every alliance we forge, with the ultimate goal of creating rewarding experiences that will be remembered and shared with others.
May 17th, 2012
We all have seen, the fliers, the marketing adds on Google for various membership organizations but do we really see them? With everything hitting us for all over, we are experiencing solicitation overload. The many messages are just a blur and we ask ourselves “What were they trying to tell me?” then at warped speed pass them by.
What makes us stop and read further?
Within 30 seconds you must capture the reader’s or viewer’s attention with eye catching captions, graphics, colors and member services.
Readers quickly start at the top left go to the opening sentence then travel down to the end to decide if the middle is worth reading.
The member interface should be one that is simple for all ages and education levels. Well-planned major (top level) categories, navigation that is easy to find and consistent throughout the entire website. Provide links to the key areas of your site in the top half of your website. This layout format should remain consistent throughout on every page.
Use lots of white space meaning do not add to much clutter.
Use a captivating caption gleamed from the headlines or latest industry news about your product or service.
Add a brief member testimonial to your ad.
Coupons or other incentives mentioned early on your website or ad to promote action.
Instill some inticying urgency that prompts prospective member action.
Survey customers asking them if you are answering their curious questions within the first few seconds.
Feature just one or two products or services.
Keep your membership website and blog current, inactivity may be viewed negatively.
If you want more members, demonstrate sincere interested in your members. Learn about their business, visit members or their websites and provide business to your members. Know as much as possible about their industry and look for collaborative relationships that you can help them nurture. If your membership is a Chamber of Commerce or a membership that attracts many different industries, create a networking event just for one particular industry each month.
As with any relationship it is not what you say that is important, it is what you do. What you do for your members is an incentive for them to renew and refer more members.