"Put your head down and get to work!"
Wow. That’s not something we really want to hear from anyone. But that’s what I shouted at myself, while riding 5 miles per hour, up a hill, into a 30 mile per hour headwind, only 35 miles into the bike segment of my first Ironman triathlon.
Let me rewind a bit, and hopefully give you a blueprint for the next time you take on a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal).
First, Find Something you Love
Since my success at the 1984 Olympic Games, I have worked very hard to take care of myself, stay in shape, and discover new hobbies. Beyond gymnastics, the only sport I engaged in before the Olympics was surfing. I have never been very good at it, but I love spending time with my sons and daughters in the water. After the Games, I fell in love with cycling, and started competing in various mountain bike races including the Leadville 100 and the 24 Hours of Moab. When my daughter Kathryn started running cross country in high school, I started running with her to keep her motivated (she now runs in college and I can’t keep up with her). I ran a couple of marathons, both with mediocre results.
But about a year ago, my oldest son Tim read Christopher McDougall’s bestselling book, Born to Run, the account of the legendary runners of the Taraumara tribe in Mexico. He found "running religion" and was soon completing many miles per week.
After a few months (although he is in his final year of graduate business school), Tim somehow got the silly idea he wanted to compete in an Ironman triathlon. The race consists of a 2.4 mile open water swim, followed by 112 miles on the bike, and finishing with a 26.2 mile marathon. Although I tried to explain to him the amount of time and effort it would take to train for it, he insisted on doing it…so I decided to join him in the quest (an interesting way to celebrate turning 50).
Next, Don’t Go it Alone!
The first thing I did was contact a friend, James Lawrence, who is currently in the middle of a quest to set the world record for the most Ironman distance races completed in one year (he’s going for 30!). James has a big heart in many ways. Through his quest, he is raising awareness and money for the Quiet Way Foundation, which builds water retention systems (dams) to assist the people of Kenya. James is also a triathlon coach and he set me up with a six month training plan.
I also picked the brains of friends who have completed Ironman races, including financial planning guru Bill Bachrach, fitness executive and life coach Jim McPartland, and even ran into 6 time Ironman World Champion, the world’s fittest man, Mark Allen.
Read the entire article...
View Photos from Peter's IronMan
Peter Vidmar, Olympic Gymnastics Champion, is a speaker on personal achievement, risk taking, and innovation. He is also the author of Risk, Originality, and Virtuosity: The Keys to a Perfect 10.
"I just can't seem to motivate these people."
I often hear that from corporate leaders. I tell them: "Stop trying. You'll never be able to motivate them."
The advice of a quitter?
Not at all, because the next thing I tell them is this: "They're already motivated. Find out what it is that motivates them, and use this knowledge to channel their energy in the direction you want it to go."
Some people are like water in a faucet. It's already motivated to flow, but it doesn't have the opportunity until you open the tap. Your people may be bursting with energy and waiting only for you to provide them the opportunity to use it constructively.
Others are like mountain streams, which flow swiftly but follow their own courses. If you want them to turn your wheel, you have to provide them with a channel. Your organization may be full of people who are moving energetically toward their own goals. Your challenge is to open up inviting channels that will focus their energy on corporate goals.
Remember that people don't do things for your reasons. They act for their own reasons. Your challenge is to provide them with good reasons to do what you want them to do.
Those reasons may involve either gain or pain. When the gain from changing a behavior outweighs the comfort of remaining in a rut, a person will change. When the pain of remaining in a certain behavior outweighs the discomfort of leaving the rut, a person will change.
Pride is a powerful motivator. Everybody is proud of something. When you know what makes your people proud, you can use that insight to channel their motivation.
But remember: You can't change people. You can only change their behaviors. To change their behaviors, you must change their feelings and beliefs.
You may think that what they feel and believe is wrong-headed and preposterous. But to them, perception is reality, and what they perceive seems perfectly reasonable and rational. Understand that and respect their perceptions. Then you'll be in a better position to change them to the reality you perceive.
You consistently get the behaviors you consistently expect and reinforce. Look for ways to reward employees for doing the things you want them to do. Conversely, use disincentives to discourage the behavior you don't want to see. You'll find yourself leading an organization of motivated employees with energies focused on the things you want to accomplish.
came to the U.S. as a teenager with no knowledge of English, no contacts, and only $50 in his pocket, yet ended up an extraordinary business entrepreneur. An active business leader, Nido lives daily with challenges that confront businesses. He is President of High Point University and a successful business speaker
Not everyone can remain "up," optimistic, and energetic all the time. We all wax and wane in our moods, outlook, and energy levels. That's normal. People who are "up" most of the time have many methods to their madness. Adopt some of them to keep your motivation high.
1. Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. Hopefully you love what you do -- the interaction with people, the challenges, the rewards, and the growth potential. Make time for what you love.
2. Take Pride in What You Do and It Will Have Meaning. Even if you are starting at the bottom of the corporate ladder, do your job with pride and professionalism. Excellence is its own reward and will be recognized. Taking pride in doing the best job you can -- no matter what the task -- increases your self-esteem, competence, and sense of control over your life and work. Not to mention your promotability.
3. Challenge Yourself with Continuous Self-Improvement. Set realistic goals that are attainable in short periods of time. Break larger goals into smaller increments to give yourself frequent opportunities to experience a sense of accomplishment. Success feeds on success.
4. Reward Yourself for Successes and Failures. Devise ways to reward yourself for your efforts, even when you are not successful. Giving yourself an "E for Effort" will keep you going so that sooner or later you'll be rewarding yourself for a success.
5. Think in Terms of a Career Path, Not Just a Job. Commit yourself to doing the best job you can with your present company, but remember that few jobs last forever. Always keep your future destinations in mind while your eye is on the road immediately before you.
6. Take Absolute Responsibility for Your Life and Career. Realize that you and only you can shape your future. Again, small, positive steps lead to bigger and bigger payoffs.
What tricks have you used to keep yourself motivated? Share your tips in the comments section below.
Dr. Tony Alessandra is a behavioral and communication expert, and author of 17 books including The Platinum Rule, Collaborative Selling and The Art of Managing People. Today he is a leading business motivational speaker on communication, customer loyalty and sales.
One of the questions I hear most often from executives is "How do I motivate my employees to do the things I want them to do?"
The answer is: You don't!
We can't motivate people. They are already motivated. But we can determine what motivates them and use this knowledge to channel their energies toward our company goals.
From my 20 years of helping executives solve their people challenges, I've learned a few basic principles about motivation. Let me share them with you:
ALL PEOPLE ARE MOTIVATED
Some people are like water in a faucet. They have the motivation; all you have to provide is the opportunity. The water is already motivated to flow. But it doesn't have the opportunity until you open the tap.
Others are like mountain streams, which flow swiftly but follow their own channels. People, too, may move energetically, but toward their own goals. We in management should make it worth their while to channel their motivations toward the results management is seeking.
PEOPLE DO THINGS FOR THEIR REASONS;
NOT FOR YOURS OR MINE
We in management have to show employees what's in it for them when they follow behaviors that benefit the company. We can show them by using rewards and recognition, appealing to their sense of pride and achievement.
PEOPLE CHANGE BECAUSE OF PAIN
When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, people will change. For example, Americans didn't start buying smaller, fuel-efficient automobiles until the pain of high gasoline prices became greater than the pain of switching to less roomy and less powerful cars.
THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS IDENTIFICATION
When something becomes personal, it becomes important. When our clients or our employees begin to identify with who we are and what we are, good things begin to happen.
Large corporations have discovered that. Prudential, for example, knows that its customers want to buy security. So it doesn't just sell insurance; it markets peace of mind by inviting all of us to buy " a piece of the rock."
AT&T doesn't tell us to make long-distance calls. It asks us to "reach out and touch someone." In dealing with employees, it isn't enough to appeal to them on the basis of loyalty to the company. They need personal reasons for showing this loyalty. Whether we're instituting a new educational program or undergoing a total restructuring, we can get our employees on board more readily if we show them how the change will affect them for the better.
When my company sets out to lead corporate teams in developing their human-relations skills, we don't tell them what we're going to do for the company. We talk about what we're going to do for the individual. For example, in the introduction to one of our manuals, we tell supervisors:
We've designed this complete educational system to help YOU master the skills of supervisory management and enjoy the rewards of leadership and career enhancement.
From management's standpoint, the training was designed to increase the effectiveness of the organization. That's what sold the company on the program. But from the employee's standpoint, it was to upgrade the skills of the individual. That's what sold the employees on the program.
THE BEST WAY TO GET PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOU IS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THEM
That means listening to others and not just hearing them. Listening is active; hearing is passive. If you listen to individuals long enough, they'll tell you what their concerns and problems are.
It's very important that executives listen to their staff and associates. We need to take the time to get to know them, not just by name, but also by their interests and aspirations.
We should try not to come across as interrogators, but ask them friendly questions about how they are, what they did over the week-end, and what they're doing on vacation. Then listen. It's amazing what you'll learn.
PRIDE IS A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR
Everybody is proud of something. If we find out what makes our people proud, we can use that insight to channel their motivation. Pride is tied closely to self-esteem. My friend, Robert W. Darvin, has founded several successful companies, including Scandinavian Design, Inc., and has often used our consulting services and invited me to speak to his people. His observations on self-esteem are worth repeating:
There's only one thing that counts in a business: building the self-esteem of your employees. Nothing else matters, because what they feel about themselves is what they give to your customers. If an employee comes to work not liking his job, not feeling good about himself, you can be sure that your customers will go away not liking or feeling good about your company.
YOU CAN'T CHANGE PEOPLE; YOU CAN ONLY
CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIORS
To change behavior, you must change feelings and beliefs. This requires more than training. It requires education. When you train people, you just try to teach them a task; when you educate people you deal with them at a deeper level relative to behavior, feelings and beliefs.
THE EMPLOYEE'S PERCEPTION BECOMES
THE EXECUTIVE'S REALITY
This is a very important point. When we speak to employees, they don't respond to what we say; they respond to what they understand us to say. When employees observe our behavior, they respond to what they perceive us doing, and will try to emulate us.
Suppose you send an employee to a developmental workshop or seminar and she comes back brimming with new ideas and information. But you haven't been exposed to all this stimulating stuff, so your behavior doesn't change. The employee realizes this and concludes that the behavior she observes in you is the behavior you want. This may not be the case at all. You may want the employee to implement all these new ideas, but your employee's perception is the reality you get.
YOU CONSISTENTLY GET THE BEHAVIORS YOU CONSISTENTLY EXPECT AND REINFORCE
We should look for ways to reward employees for doing the things we want them to do. The reward may take the form of financial incentives, prizes, or simply public recognition of a job well done. Reinforcement can be positive or negative, as my Roundtable partner, Ken Blanchard, has taught us all. If employees learn that a certain type of behavior results in lower earnings, less favorable hours or less desirable territories, they'll adjust their behavioral patterns.
WE ALL JUDGE OURSELVES BY OUR MOTIVES; BUT WE JUDGE OTHERS BY THEIR ACTIONS
Put another way, we're inclined to excuse in ourselves behavior that we find unacceptable in others. When our employees are late for work, it's because they're irresponsible and have no interest in their jobs. When we're late for work, it's because we were attending to necessary details that had to be taken care of.
When employees engage in undesirable behavior, we shouldn't try to assess motives or change them. Just deal with the behavior. We can't change the motives of our employees, but through positive or negative reinforcement you can affect their actions.
Follow these principles and you'll find yourself surrounded by motivated employees who are channeling their energies toward your corporate goals -- goals in which they have personal stakes.
What other motivational principles have worked in your organization?
Dr. Nido Qubein is an international speaker and accomplished author
on sales, communication, and leadership. He is president of High Point University which has an enrollment of more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 220 stores in 41 states.
The British knighted Sir Edmund Hillary for going where no one had gone before. Hillary was the New Zealand mountain climber who, along with Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, became the first to climb the highest mountain on earth, Mount Everest, in 1953.
Until Hillary came along, the summit of Everest was considered insurmountable, and not just because, at 29,028 feet, it was at the same altitude most people associate with the announcement, "We have reached our cruising height; you are now free to walk around the cabin and lower your seatbacks and tray tables."
For climbers, a lack of oxygen wasn't Everest's biggest problem. That paled to a nasty stretch of ice and rock just below the summit that served as a kind of Everest Roadblock. The ice and rock sits at the top of a thin, forbidding mountain spine that, on a clear day, affords (so they say) fantastic views of Nepal and China. One is five miles to the left, the other five miles to the right. Straight down.
This spiny stretch of ice and rock frightened, and stumped, mountaineers for decades. They didn't know what to do with this "rock step," as Hillary called it in his book Adventure's End. Accomplished climbers would get this far and then, stumped, they'd stop, their goal just around the corner, but still out of reach.
Then along came Hillary. As he recounts in his book:
"We were fast approaching the most formidable obstacle on the ridge-a great rock step. This step had always been visible in aerial photographs, and . . . we had always thought of it as the obstacle on the ridge which could well spell defeat. I looked anxiously up at the rocks. Planted squarely across the ridge in a vertical bluff, they looked extremely difficult, and I knew that our strength and ability to climb steep rock at this altitude would be severely limited . . . Search as I could, I was unable to see an easy route up to the step or, in fact, any route at all. Finally, in desperation I examined the right-hand end of the bluff. Attached to this and overhanging the precipitous East face was a large cornice. This cornice . . . had started to lose its grip on the rock and a long narrow vertical crack had been formed between the rock and the ice. The crack was large enough to take the human frame, and though it offered little security, it was at least a route. I quickly made up my mind-it was worth a try."
And so Hillary went where no man had gone before. He gave something new a try, and once he'd used that "crack" to maneuver himself beyond the great rock step, the top of the world stretched out in front of him as if with open arms.
That portion of the final assault up Everest has been known as the Hillary Step ever since. It serves as a kind of litmus test to gain entrance to the earth's throne. One last awkward, challenging climb to make sure you've paid for the view. It's not easy. Getting to the top of the world-in anything-rarely is. But it is possible. That was Sir Edmund Hillary's gift to the world. He showed it could be done. In the half-century since he maneuvered his way through that rock step, more than seven hundred people have conquered Mount Everest.
Of course, just knowing that something is reachable in no way guarantees its accomplishment. For proof of that, ask the more than five thousand climbers who have tried and come up short on Everest even after Hillary established his Step; or witness the well publicized tragedies of those who came ill-prepared.
The positive experiences of others not only shows us what's possible, but by looking at their performances we can also understand what's necessary to get where they went. Whether we want to pay the price they paid is our own decision. But at the very least we have evidence of what has been done, and more importantly, what can be done.
Peter Vidmar, Olympic Gymnastics Champion, is a speaker on personal achievement, risk taking, and innovation. He is also the author of Risk, Originality, and Virtuosity: The Keys to a Perfect 10.
Motivate Yourself a Little Bit
When it comes to motivating yourself, here are eight words (each start with "T") that you can use for self-empowerment.
Anytime you want to empower and motivate yourself for more achievement, simply ask these eight questions to determine what aspect of empowerment would have the most value for you:
- T -- Target. Are you clear on the target, the goal that you're trying to achieve? If not, make sure you've focused your attention on the specific outcome you desire.
- T -- Tools. Do you have the tools or information needed to do your job well? Do you have what you need to be ready to perform at a high level?
- T -- Training. Have you received enough training or orientation to be able to use these tools and information very well?
- T -- Time. Have you had enough time for the training to take effect, for it to sink in, for you to try and succeed, try and fail, try and adjust and succeed again? Without the proper amount of time, success is not likely.
- T -- Truth. Do you know the truth about how all of this really fits together? What happens when you're finished with your part? What happens before you get involved in the project? What is the truth about how everything fits together and works?
- T -- Tracking. Are you getting the feedback that you need in order to stay on the beam, to be on-project, on-goal? Are you measuring and getting the feedback that tells you when you're on track and when you're off?
- T -- Touch. The human touch. Are you getting the support and encouragement you need? Are there other people you're in touch with who can help you achieve your goal?
- T -- Trust. Do you trust yourself appropriately for your skill and mastery level? Do the others around you trust you enough to give you the kind of resources you need?
From Jim Cathcart's best selling book, Relationship Selling
Jim Cathcart is an author and leading business speaker on Sales, Intelligent Motivation and Customer Loyalty. As the author of 14 books including the bestsellers The Acorn Principle and Relationship Selling, Jim Cathcart has influenced a generation of sales and service professionals.
Desi Williamson has mastered the art of empowering people. After surviving the mean streets of St. Louis, a successful career in sales and marketing, and a Hall-of-Fame career in professional speaking, Williamson had a serious fall and suffered a broken neck in two places. Along the path from paralysis to recovery, he discovered new perspectives on life. His life's work is dedicated to showing people how they can do more than survive turbulent times - he shows them how to succeed despite their adversities.
In this 5 minute interview with Pat Evans on Minneapolis-St. Paul's news channel Kare-11, Desi describes how to master change in your own life. Learn the 6 empowering questions you should ask yourself and how to conquer the fear that often accompanies change.
Desi Williamson is a motivational speaker and the author of Where There's a Will, There's a Way - Succeeding in the Face of Turbulent Times.
I've never met anyone who said they left a company because they were recognized too much, and, I would guess, neither have you. We crave for others to notice our work, appreciate our accomplishments and recognize our contributions. Leaders make a practice of doing just that.
The most impressive leaders--the Extreme Leaders--go way beyond recognizing and rewarding others. What they have, in fact, is a boundless fascination with and gratitude for the people around them-colleagues and customers alike. They notice others' accomplishments, to be sure, but they also learn their stories, understand their challenges, and absorb their hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Why? Because they love the human drama (and comedy) and are driven by a desire to help, to make a difference, and to hold on to the very things that make us human. Extreme Leaders are awake, attentive, and observant to and about the lives of others while they simultaneously strive to make the business more productive and profitable. And, most important, they understand that a fulfilling life and a thriving business are not mutually exclusive ideas.
Consider Dick, a mid-level vice president at a formidable national bank. He ran the check processing operation in the bank's corporate facility. It was the closest thing a bank has to a manufacturing operation and it had an ethnically diverse, primarily blue-collar employee base. Dick beamed with pride and enthusiasm whenever he would tell story after story of unprecedented productivity increases and skyrocketing employee morale.
Dick rarely used the pronoun, "I," as in, "I've done this; I've accomplished that." He also rarely used the word "we." Instead, he told story after story about individual people and how they'd risen to conquer one enormous challenge after another. And he told many of those stories with the hero standing right there. Some appeared embarrassed by the spotlight, but every one of them, without exception, expressed some variation of a glowing "thank you" before scurrying back to work.
It's not as though Dick didn't have an ego. He could puff out his chest along with the best of them. But he always brought it back to one central theme: his deep gratitude for his employees' spunk, imagination, personalities and drive. Simply put, Dick loved the individuals on his team-even the ones he eventually had to let go.
Several years later, after his promotion to Sr. Vice President (which was essentially deity status at the bank) surviving a merger and moving to another division, Dick was charged with conducting what some euphemistically call a "reduction in force." Over a 12-month period, he culled his division from 1500 people down to 175-mostly through outsourcing. During that same period, however, employee satisfaction percentages went from the mid 70's to the high 80's, raising steadily all throughout the process. That was-to put it mildly-counter-intuitive. And it wasn't because the survivors where happy to still have a job (which they were), but anyone who's ever been through a lay-off will tell you that the event is usually characterized by increased stress, cynicism and even paranoia. That was not the case in Dick's domain.
When asked him how he accounted for the amazing spirit and morale even as people were jetting out the door, he said, "Two things: I kept everyone involved, and I continued to let them know I cared-every day."
And that's really the whole point: he knew their stories because he cared about them, and they knew he cared because he knew their stories; consequently, even through the most difficult of times, his team put their full effort into everything they did.
Can you say the same about your team? The good news is that Dick's "story-learner" ability wasn't genetically encoded in his DNA. He learned how to do it by making a practice of fascination and gratitude and so can you by following these steps:
Write down the names of one or two key people internal to your business (colleagues, employees, staff, managers, partners, associates, etc.) and one or two key external people (customers, vendors, suppliers, etc.)
List everything you know about each person-beyond the "function" he or she serves. Assess how much you know or don't know about each as a human being.
Ask each person to tell you one important story or event from his or her life. Or look for an opportunity to find out more during your next conversation. Ask each to share with you his or her number one business challenge.
Ask if there's some way you can be of service-something you can do to help with each person's challenge. Even if that person declines your offer, he or she will always appreciate your asking.
Pick one or two more people and do it again.
Repeat until you run out of people-for the rest of your life, in other words.
For some, this practice may be awkward-even difficult-at first. Like anything else, however, being a "story learner" becomes easier with practice. And the payoff you'll receive in your employees' morale, engagement and productivity will be well worth the price of any initial discomfort you may have to invest.
"True leadership is not about calling yourself ‘leader'; rather, it's about taking up the cause to change things for the better. It is an extreme act rooted in love and motivated by a desire to create a better world-whether it's the world of your company, team, neighborhood or family." - Steve Farber
Steve Farber is the best-selling author of one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, Greater Than Yourself. As an accomplished senior-level leadership speaker and a frequent guest on news-talk shows around the country, Steve Farber has gained a reputation as a "leadership guru" in his own right.
What does Labor Day mean to America? Speaker, humorist and poet, Art Holst, shares his thoughts...
The life of a human being, taken in total, is far more than just having things. There is a spiritual side of life that is at least as important as the material side. However, the spiritual or emotional side of life is made better because of the material side, or "things." I believe there is a simple formula for all material progress and it is as follows:
MMW = RM + MP x T
MMW means "man's material welfare." RM stands for "raw materials." MP stands for "man power" and T stands for "tools."
Labor Day is the holiday when we as Americans honor the "MP" manpower part of the equation. It began as an idea in New York City in 1882 as a "day off for working citizens". On June 28, 1894, the United States Congress made Labor Day a National Holiday. There were parades, fireworks and speeches by prominent people. We celebrate it more now with picnics, boating, barbecues, swimming and travel. It's like a salute to the end of Summer, and a last opportunity for travel before school begins. It also signals a beginning for the college and NFL football season, which of course is one of my favorite times of the year. In spite of all of that, the reason for Labor Day in the first place is still valid and should not be overlooked in the midst of all the end of Summer fun.
Raw Materials have no value until we add value to them by mining, processing, shaping, forming, painting, and in a variety of other ways. So Raw Materials are fundamental to production. The multiplying factor in our equation is the "T, the Tools, which are provided by investment capital and without them we would still be doing most everything by hand. This is still true in many parts of the world. Investors, stockholders, or single small business owners are needed to provide the capital which, in turn, furnishes the tools. But nothing happens until all three parts of the equation come together. Labor has no tools without capital and tools mean nothing without a skilled man or woman to use them in shaping a brighter material future for America.
So, on September 7th, we recognize and celebrate that vital part of the equation for all material progress, the men and women with the skill to use the tools to create an even brighter future for our country.
Into each car, or computer,
Each piece, and part and whole
Go the tools and skillful labor
That gives the work a soul.
HAPPY LABOR DAY!
- Art Holst
Art Holst is a motivational speaker and legend in the speaking industry. His broad background provides the foundation for his messages spiced with inspiration, humor, and poetry. To learn more about Art go to http://www.speakersoffice.com/art_holst.asp or www.artholst.com.
There's no doubt about it, we are living through some very challenging times. But Desi Williamson says fear not, there are plenty of things you can do to end up on top. The motivational speaker and author of Where There's a Will, There's a Way, was recently interviewed by KARE 11 news in Minneaplois/ St. Paul. Desi offers ways to better understand your challenging circumstances and transform your situation by relying on your own personal resources within.
Watch the interview with Desi Williamson: End up on top during the challenging times (click on "Watch Video" on the right of the screen)
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