All businesses are cyclic in nature, sometimes they’re growing, sometimes they’re not. Peaks and toughs, contractions and expansions feature in the life of every business. As business owners, we want to ensure that no matter where our business is at, our team are happy and motivated to deliver on company goals and targets. This can be especially difficult when your business is in the launch or growth stages. During this time most business owners are putting in massive hours and can struggle to keep their own motivation high. So how do you ensure that you and your team have an abundance of motivation and drive to keep growing your business?
COMMUNICATE COMPANY VALUES
Having clear values within your business is an essential foundation stone to growth in the right direction. The process of identifying what you value and what your company is working towards can take some time and it’s best to review it regularly. Once you have clear values, a mission statement and know your direction – how do you communicate this to your team? The best way I’ve observed is by living them. A while back I was working with a young start-up and I arrived in their office one day to find nerf guns and bullets scattered everywhere and a retro video machine in the room. I commented that it was great to see such a fun work environment, they said it’s just who they are. While it wasn’t yet written down, this company had identified that they wanted to include fun and play into their work. This might not fit every company. For some possibly work-life balance is important, flexible work arrangements, or creating a peaceful and welcoming environment?
DISCOVER TEAM MEMBER VALUES
Knowing what is most important to the team you are leading is crucial to employee satisfaction, retention and as a result, business success. If you were clear on your company values before your employee started, then it’s likely that your values are already in alignment. The right team building activities can help individuals within your company to develop a greater understanding of each other’s values and drivers. By knowing what is most important to the individuals in your team, you can identify and create opportunities regarding their work structure, incentives, and long term career progression. Keeping the lines of communication open will also ensure your team feel respected and develop a sense of belonging.
SET GOALS THAT ALIGN WITH VALUES
If goals are set that are not in alignment with your values they are much less likely to be achieved. Worse than this, if you do achieve them, you may be further away from where you ultimately want to be. Let’s suppose for instance that you value quality time with your family, in fact, you left your corporate role to start your own business so that you could spend more time with your children. You’re a marketing consultant, and your goal may be to work with a large firm that are based in another city. Before you’ve even started working towards that goal you have a conflict. If you achieve what you’ve set out to do, win this big interstate client. Then you will fail to live in alignment with what’s really important to you, being home to see the kids more. How can anyone feel motivated pursuing a goal that will take them further away from where they really want to be? That is why it is so important to do some soul searching and identify values as early as possible at both an individual and a company level.
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN
Goals are great, SMART goals are even better. I like to see clients take their goal setting even further – work out the action steps and block out time to do them. Most business owners are pulled in twenty different directions before morning tea (and if you’re thinking, ‘what morning tea?’ this part is for you). It can be hard to shift from reactionary work to proactive work. It’s the important, non-urgent tasks that will drive business growth. The important, non-urgent tasks are also the ones most likely to get bumped from the to-do list. One solution to this is to schedule meetings with yourself to complete each step. This only works if you turn up to those meetings without any distractions, just as you would for your most important client.
IMPLEMENT AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM
This seems like an odd way to increase motivation right? The thing is, the long term consequences of ineffective accountability are much more severe than simply not achieving certain goals. Without accountability, moral is eroded. When no one checks in, it can become apparent that ‘it doesn’t really matter anyway’. No one wants to be berated like a school child, nor do most of us need a gold star every time we complete a project. However, we do all want to know that what we’re spending our time on matters. When no one notices or cares if we don’t complete what we set out to… then why were we doing it in the first place? This attitude can poison entire workplaces. Find and use an accountability system that fits your organisation – it could be as simple a regular emailed update or report.
Motivation is inextricably linked to how we feel about who we are and what we do. I hope you have found the above ideas helpful in identifying where your team motivation ‘leaks’ are. If you have any questions or would like some more help in this area, please contact our office. We run regular workshops and online training in the areas of team motivation, mindset, influence, and emotional intelligence. To view our upcoming training, please visit our Events Page.