Where do the really good people go to work?

Sometime in the early nineties, we decided that we were causing some of our own problems because we weren’t training our own salesmen. Business was good and growing, but we wanted to make our team better. So for 10 or so years we ran classes and asked everyone who attended to rank, in order of importance, a dozen reasons they might go to work for a company. The list included items like: Working Hours, Ethical Company, Growth Opportunity, Salary, Guaranteed Advancement, Paid Vacation and Leadership Training.

 One important but unexpected outcome was that salary never averaged higher than fourth. So my first suggestion is that while everybody wants as much money as they can get, to most people …

There Are at Least Three Things More Important Than Money

You have to find out what each individual on the team is personally invested in and how to encourage their best possible contribution. This takes lots of time. First, a great team needs a leader who will treat each member individually and tailors relationships to leverage each member of the team and vice versa. Plus, the leader must also help each member of the group take this concept to subgroups and replicate it there – and therefore through the entire organization.

Take the time to learn enough to feel comfortable telling each team member that you will help him or her achieve their goals if they help you achieve yours. It is a marvelous experience to work in a “help everyone forward” environment like this. It doesn’t happen very often and takes a lot of work to get there.

The leader of this kind of group has to be ethical and comfortable being him/herself. The difference between manager and leader should be clear to all. You lead people and manage assets. As a leader you are helping everyone become his/her best self while preparing to move up whatever ladder they have in mind.

The only way the boss can discover what really motivates his or her people is to talk about it. Be clear and open about your plans, challenges and shortcomings. Be direct about where you need help. Be as forthcoming about yourself and your goals as you would like your team member to be. The idea is that if you are open and straightforward, that is what you will get from your team. Once you get that, you can scheme together for everyone’s benefit. You will be able to see to it that everyone is properly challenged.

When this is done you will have a slightly different plan for everyone. The variances will take into account the distinctive goals of your team members. The disparities will also measure your ability to really understand your team and how to most effectively motivate them.

I want to work for someone who understands me and my goals, don’t you? Let’s be that somebody.