by Michael Masterson
I got involved in a discussion recently with a client who, I believed, was making a mistake by ignoring his key people. “They’re doing fine on their own,” he told me. “They don’t need me meddling in their affairs.”
Yes, they were doing fine. Still, I argued that he needed to stay in touch with them. He needed to ask them questions and give them suggestions. He didn’t need to make demands or commands, but he did need to make sure that they were feeling fulfilled by the work they were doing. If they weren’t, he was going to lose them or they were going to stop caring about the business — no matter how much he was paying them.
I’ve seen it happen too many times. An executive makes a fast rise and then suddenly breaks though to the upper ranks. He continues to build the business, bringing in smart people to help him. He motivates them with money because it seems to work and because he doesn’t know any better.
All the while, his income is getting bigger and he is acquiring spending habits and pastimes that compete with his work. Eventually — generally after seven to 10 years — he finds that the business is running itself. He doesn’t have to show up every day, so he doesn’t. He’d much rather spend time on his hobbies and outside interests. He gets away with it so it becomes a habit.
A year or two later sales flatten out and profits decline. And he doesn’t understand why.
If you want your business to grow profitably and consistently, you must understand that your job as chief motivator will never go away. You must be willing to interact personally with everyone who reports to you. You must talk to them constantly.
You must give them guidance. You must give them freedom. You must praise them and you must occasionally correct them too.
Let me give you an example of how important employee motivation is to the success of a business.
This past year, I have been very much involved with a client whose business had faltered.
I began by meeting with his key employees and trying to understand what they were doing, what they were proud of, and what was frustrating them.
Based on what I learned, I recommended some radical changes in the structure of the business — and as a result, some people had to be fired. In deciding which people to keep, my primary concern was whether any of the company’s employees would be open to new ideas.
I believed I had the knowledge they all needed but I had to be sure they would listen to me. By eliminating the people who were past being motivated, I made my job possible.
Once I had a good group of people that I could motivate, I knew that my ideas for turning the business around could be tested.
To cut to the chase, they managed a miraculous turnaround in less than six months. The improvement was only partially due to the new ideas we introduced. Most of it was due to the fact that the entire team was motivated to execute those ideas well and quickly.
[Ed. Note: You've just learned the right way to motivate the people you work with – and those who depend on for your own success. It's a key element of growing a successful business. And it's a major theme of Early to Rise, the world’s leading newsletter dedicated to wealth-building and self-improvement. To sign up, just go here: www.earlytorise.com.
Michael Masterson, founder of Early to Rise, is the author of several Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Amazon.com best sellers, including Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat, Seven Years to Seven Figures: The Fast Track Plan to Becoming a Millionaire; Automatic Wealth: The Six Steps to Financial Independence; Automatic Wealth for Grads… and Anyone Else Just Starting Out; Power and Persuasion: How to Command Success in Business and Your Personal Life (all published by John Wiley & Sons); and Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire and Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business (with MaryEllen Tribby).]