Congratulations:  you are a leader who sets the course for your organization.  Wow, that’s fantastic, but do you feel that you are the only one who cares about the organization?  Why do others look like they are just doing a job?  Fear not!  We have ideas on how to provide a SPARK for others to become more motivated and engaged in your organization.

S – See It and Say It

You must know where you are going for others to buy into your dream.  Joel Barker says, “Vision with action is a dream.  Action without vision is simply passing the time.  Action with Vision is making a positive difference.”

If I went to your employees or key supporters and asked the vision and mission of your organization, would they say the same things?  If not, how do they know if they are doing the right things?  Nail down your vision and mission and then SAY IT!  You must consistently tell folks the right behaviors and let them know what is critical in your organization.  The best way to accomplish this is to Role Model the behaviors you want to see in your team.

Do you want them to act like owners in your company?  If so, ask for their opinions and reward suggestions.  Implement their solutions and give credit for having the courage to speak up!

P – People:  Hire and Develop the Right Talent

The right talent is the engine for you achieving the dreams you had when you started out.  I see business owners and leaders consistently miss on this.  They tend to hire family, friends, or people like themselves instead of what the company needs.

Here are three suggestions to avoid this trap:

·       Write down what you need to be done and be very specific.

·       Always be recruiting.  Talk to people about your company long before you need to hire them so you can know what type of person they are.  Network with leaders, search firms, and at conferences to meet future talent.

·       Finally, make tough choices.  One of my clients let go of someone after thinking about it for two years.  The new hire was outperforming the incumbent within a month and my client is still kicking himself for not acting sooner.

Do you have the right talent around you to achieve your goals?  If not, what are you going to do about it?

A – Action and Attitude

 You must have great expectations for your team members.  They want to be part of something great, so outline your expectations and goals so they know how to be AWESOME performers.

To help your team:

·       Set clear, concise, and SMART goals to make sure you are all on the same page

·       Get small wins

·       Congratulate them on progress and ask them what it will take to get better results

·       Reinforce the key behaviors often.

To help motivate your team members ask:

·       What can I do to help you reach your goals?

·       What can I do to help you develop?

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then is a habit, not an event.”

What habits or key behaviors are you reinforcing?  What attitude are you bringing to work each day?  Does it create an engaging environment?  Choose Your Attitude.

R – Recognition

If you want to create a motivated and engaged team that wants to come to work every day, you need to recognize each person.  Over 64% of employees were not recognized once in the last year, according to the book The Carrot Principle. 

How do you develop the habit of recognition?

·       Ask your team, “When you do something great, how do you want to be recognized?”

·       Put time on the calendar weekly for some recognition.

·       Be specific about what the person did well so they know how to repeat it.

K – Know Yourself

This is the hardest but most essential part of the formula.  You are the face of your organization.  If you look stressed, tired, or frustrated all the time, your employees, customers, vendors, and other leaders wonder how the organization is doing.

Three Tips to Take Care of Yourself:

·       Personal life and professional life can blend together.  Find a way to give your personal life a chance to be the top priority.  Put your personal life on your calendar first so you have to make a choice to move something off your calendar.

·       Find a coach or peer group to share your ideas, challenges, and thoughts.  This can give perspective and provide ideas you might otherwise not see.

·       Learn a small but powerful word - NO!  You might have to use it with a volunteer group, a key customer making unreasonable demands, or an employee’s request.

I hope these ideas SPARK some new ways of thinking for you and help you provide a jolt of energy into your organization.  Good Luck!