A Spoonful of Sugar

A Spoonful of SugarRaise your hand if you have ever started off a conversation to offer difficult feedback by giving a compliment.  I can literally hear the rustle of thousands of hands being raised.  We’ve all done it.  No one wants to see pain inflicted on another human being.  We put ourselves in their shoes, and feel the agony of knowing we didn’t live up to a standard.

But on the other hand, we don’t put ourselves in their shoes completely.  Let’s try on your shoes for a moment.  You might not want to hear how you’d disappointed someone, but what other things might be in your head when someone approaches you with a suspiciously nervous start to a conversation? Continue reading

Yes You Can

Yes You CanAs hurricanes played out in the US over the past weeks, heartwarming stories also emerged about people who took the initiative to help others, even risking their own health and well-being to be of service to those who needed their aid.  There was a 13-year-old boy who floated an air mattress around his neighborhood, rescuing neighbors.  And a nun who got out a chain saw to get a tree off someone’s car.

But heroism doesn’t need to be big or risky.  In fact, the simplest of acts can be the most meaningful when people need it the most.  Again and again, in the face of fears and tears, people called and texted each other, and when the water receded, what stood out for the survivors were the messages that said, “Yes, you can.  You are capable.  You are resilient.  I believe in you.” Continue reading

4 Leadership Paradigm Shifts: Part 4 – Cash to Contribution

Employee MotivationHere’s a paradigm that actually has not shifted over time: what motivates people to work their best is not money.  The paradigm that is shifting is leaders’ recognition of this fact, and how they are choosing to motivate and engage their workforce.

Despite decades of data showing that cash is not king in engaging people to do their best at work, compensation systems have been the first place leaders have traditionally looked to either reward or signal displeasure with employee performance.  People who have studied compensation reward systems, like author Daniel Pink (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us), have learned that money is a motivator only up to the point that we have a reasonable amount.  After that, more money is no longer a motivating force.  Commission-based sales organizations know this.  Salespeople will drive for more sales until they are making what they see as a comfortable living.  After that, even increasing commission rates don’t produce more sales. Continue reading