New Year’s resolutions are already starting to fall away for some folks. And in the clear light of day, 2024 goals for your business may now appear to be more daunting than when you submitted your budget.

The optimists among us will be anxious to drive ahead no matter the size of the challenge or the obstacles in the way. That’s how they are wired. I have overheard some of these folks say that they have been “shot out of a cannon” as they hit the ground running early in the New Year.

If only we were all built like that.

For many of us, motivation comes with some difficulty. Sure, there are money motivators (base salary, bonuses or commission pay, retirement savings matches, profit sharing, and the like.) But if the annual goals are not realistic, variable compensation becomes increasingly at risk as the year goes on.

There are also those company-sponsored recognition programs like awards or being singled out for “above and beyond” heroics by executive leaders at the quarterly all-hands Town Hall meetings—or even the lower key (but still valuable) applause from your teammates at monthly staff meetings.

Those employees with quotas have all kinds of motivation, as their results are scrutinized closely every month. And if you regularly miss your sales targets, your career may be short-lived. For those who are gifted sellers, the recognition and rewards can offset the constant stress as each year starts at zero. They tend to be a competitive bunch.

Some leaders are just better at motivation than others. Day in and day out, week after week they take an interest in each member of their team and invest time to truly get to know them. They make themselves available and not just at annual performance review time. They listen, they ask clarifying questions, and they offer up ideas without belittling what you have done. Helpful suggestions and encouragement (before it gets to be too late to impact your deliverables) can make a big difference.

Or not. It is often said that you leave your boss, not your job. If it isn’t working, do yourself a favor and find a new boss and company culture that offers a chance to showcase and demonstrate your strengths.

Good stuff we have seen.

High performing teams have each other’s backs. They understand interdependencies and critical path milestones. Some may be more in your face than you might like, but achieving great results together can be exhilarating, along with celebrating those successes as a team. Team building outings can, in fact, boost effectiveness as much as they bring folks together—as long as they are inclusive. This can also be as valuable in smaller groups, such as having coffee with the boss in groups of 3 or 4, or the occasional lunch out of the office for your team.

This can be challenging in today’s work-from-anywhere environment, as it’s harder to get everyone together. And, for some folks, the “social stuff” just doesn’t move the motivation needle.

Grow your team.

Employee surveys routinely point out that career growth and advancement is a big motivator. Give your teams a fresh challenge to tackle or a new problem to solve. Just be sure to provide the resources to actually get the “special project” done. Adding it on top of an already full plate will surely backfire.

Set folks up for success by defining the task or problem clearly, with a doable set of expectations and timing. You might even mix up the participants so that they are interacting and learning from others outside of their day-to-day. Perhaps ask the team to present their interim findings and game plan to your company leaders for input, feedback, and help. Then stay close but do not “hover,” so that their confidence in new skills can build when good progress is made. You may be pleasantly surprised at the new energy and drive, particularly from your high potential folks who just wanted a chance to stretch their wings.

At Damen Jackson, we stand ready to help you grow your teams and your business. We are deep thinkers with the courage to stir things up and help your employees break down problems into manageable chunks. Our fresh eyes are there to supplement and augment your coaching while multiplying the odds of meaningful new revenue growth or sources of competitive advantage. And we can help shepherd the special project team to the finish line.

Let’s get some great work done!

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    CLICK HERE to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2.    We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3.    If we’re a fit, we finalize the details and get started.

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