Sales Coaching Power! is about rewarding the staff with the money they create and not money from the owner’s pocket. The goal is to reward the right stuff.
Recently, I’ve been rethinking the way we, as owners, look at rewards and consequences to get our employees to:
1. Do something we want them to start doing;
2. Continue doing something we like; and
3. Stop doing something we don’t like.
The tried and true method is a system of “carrots and sticks.” If you do well, you get a carrot. If you do badly, you get the stick.
Most times, the carrot can come in the form of a bonus — a bump in pay, time off, or a job promotion. At my old shop, we left you alone. That was a big carrot.
Sticks typically come in the form of verbal reprimand, a written reprimand, a suspension, or termination.
Truth be told — carrots and sticks as rewards and consequences can and will work.
Let’s take this a little further. I’ve preached throughout the years that having objective standards, clear communicated goals, and known and practiced policies and procedures for everyone at the company is the best path for being fair. As people, we all want to feel we’ve been treated fairly, regardless if we’re getting a carrot or the stick as a reward or as a consequence.
Here’s what I typically hear from new clients when we first start working together: “I’ve got to motivate them.”
And I share with them, “You can’t motivate me to do anything. What you can do is find a series of rewards and consequences that motivate me to either get on board or make my exit. Either way, that’s a good thing for all concerned.”
I continue with, “Let’s face it, you can get anyone to climb a mountain by hitting them with a big enough stick. The problem is, when you stop hitting them, they’ll be flying down the mountain twice as fast as they climbed it.
“The goal must be to have way more carrots than sticks. This encourages staff to want to climb the mountain, and, when they’ve reached the top, to anxiously await the next mountain you want to climb together.”
This does work. It worked at my company, and it’s working at a load of companies I’ve worked with throughout the years.
But, I also have come to better understand that if I can teach you to provide the “Why they should want to climb and keep climbing,” things go a lot better, and the results have far longer-term power. The days of saying, “Do it; it’s your job,” are long gone.
People today want to know that their work means something and that they’re building a future for themselves with your company. We, as people, all want to belong to something, and, most of all, we want to belong to a winning team. Even those employees you perceive as being removed or feeling above it all and wanting to sit it out on the sidelines are just fearful of failing and being a disappointment. These people will provide you the greatest chance to be a leader. It’s your job to let them know that change is difficult if you’re fearful of failure. That’s why we’re going to work together to give you all the tools and training. So, not only will we not fail, we’re all going to win.
Speaking to next-level motivation or just another way to look at motivation beyond carrots and sticks, I was watching an online video on the website TED© Talks.
The author, Simon Sinek, whose book, “Start with Why,” which I read a while back, was speaking to an audience about what he felt was the fallacy of “If you do this, you get that.” He mentioned:
1. It works and doesn’t work;
2. People need to know why first;
3. Sole reliance on carrots and sticks can have the adverse effect of stunting creativity when it comes to problem solving; and
4. A good way to set a goal is to use simple rules. These goals become even more attainable if you narrow the focus.
To point No. 4 above, it speaks to having known and practiced policies and procedures that come into play about 80 percent of the time and letting the 20 percent go.
Know that even as adults, we tend to act like kids. We want to know what happens in a good way if I do, and what happens in a bad way if I don’t.