Friday, August 6, 2010

The Magic 16

Below are the 16 tried and true methods used in the workplace by me, Bret Donovan, in order to drastically improve morale.

Feel free to use these methods in other areas of your life as well, for example, relationships (romantic or otherwise), family reunions, or perhaps while snowed in at the Denver Airport.

These methods are guaranteed to boost the morale of even the most surliest groups of folks.  But under no circumstances should you modify or change any method below.  Perform them exactly as stated for optimal results.

Let's get boosting! (Morale that is!)

1. Consequences – Never use threats. They’ll turn people against you. But making people aware of the negative consequences of not getting results (for everyone involved) can have a big impact. This one is also big for self motivation. If you don’t get your act together, will you ever get what you want?  But when necessary, threaten the employee with termination (even though it's just a bluff, it will establish that you mean business, while showing that you value them as an employee!)

2. Pleasure – This is the old carrot on a stick technique. Providing pleasurable rewards creates eager and productive people.  Also, keep carrots in the office, just in case the metaphor isn't working and the employees demand the real thing.

3. Performance incentives – Appeal to people’s selfish nature. Give them the opportunity to earn more for themselves by earning more for you.  The more they earn, the more you earn.  But put a cap on what they can earn as to keep costs under control.  But don't cap your own salary, you work hard!

4. Short and long term goals – Use both short and long term goals to guide the action process and create an overall philosophy.

5. Kindness – Get people on your side and they’ll want to help you. Piss them off and they’ll do everything they can to screw you over.  So be kind, compliment a male employees handsome tie.  Or make a comment regarding a female employees makeup, hair or good posture.

6. Deadlines – Many people are most productive right before a big deadline. They also have a hard time focusing until that deadline is looming overhead. Use this to your advantage by setting up a series of mini-deadlines building up to an end result.  I find it's best to set impossible deadlines.  That way, even though your employees will be striving for the impossible, at least they'll fall amongst the stars.  Wait, is that how that goes?

7. Team Spirit – Create an environment of camaraderie. People work more effectively when they feel like part of team — they don’t want to let others down.  Team work is key.  Every team needs a leader, a visionary.  Be that visionary leader.

8. Recognize achievement – Make a point to recognize achievements one-on-one and also in group settings. People like to see that their work isn’t being ignored.  Perhaps print out a paper certificate that says "GOOD JOB ZAK" on it in a cool font.  Gather all the employees together to have a little ceremony where you present the award.

9. Personal stake – Think about the personal stake of others. What do they need? By understanding this you’ll be able to keep people happy and productive.  Every employee has different needs, so make sure to ask personal questions so you can dig deep into the specifics.

10. Concentrate on outcomes – No one likes to work with someone standing over their shoulder. Focus on outcomes — make it clear what you want and cut people loose to get it done on their own.  The employees must all be on the same page.  In the end, stand over their shoulder and motivate them to finish the project, that way, they'll feel like you're in the boat with them.

11. Trust and Respect – Give people the trust and respect they deserve and they’ll respond to requests much more favorably.  And in times when you just need to have something done, lie.

12. Let people be creative – Don’t expect everyone to do things your way. Allowing people to be creative creates a more optimistic environment and can lead to awesome new ideas.  And after a while, they will all start to see that your way is the best, most efficient way of getting things done.

13. Constructive criticism – Often people don’t realize what they’re doing wrong. Let them know. Most people want to improve and will make an effort once they know how to do it.  So, gather everyone up, and discuss, openly, an employees flaws so that others may learn from their mistakes.

14. Make it fun – Work is most enjoyable when it doesn’t feel like work at all. Let people have fun and the positive environment will lead to better results.  Bring in a hackeysack, or a frisbee.  Well, probably not a frisbee, not unless you work in a BIG office, like say Google, or, I don't know, Boeing.

15. Communication – Keep the communication channels open. By being aware of potential problems you can fix them before a serious dispute arises.  The best thing to do is to befriend all of your employees, outside of work.  Find a common interest and do whatever that thing is on a Saturday afternoon.

16. Make it stimulating – Mix it up. Don’t ask people to do the same boring tasks all the time. A stimulating environment creates enthusiasm and the opportunity for “big picture” thinking.  Put up motivational posters.  Preferably posters with disgruntled cats.  These seem to work best.