The Three Best Questions to Motivate Your Staff

According to business consultant Jim Collins, people in successful companies motivate themselves! That’s what he discovered when he measured the performance of 1,435 companies over 40 years. He explains how this happens in his book, Good to Great:
Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t.

According to Collins, your business can create self-incentivized staff. But first you have to figure out:
● What are you really passionate about?
● What can you do better than anybody else?
● What drives your economic engine?

The product or service that meets those three measures is where you need to focus. It should inspire everything you do.
Having a clear purpose makes it easier for everybody on your team to plan, prioritize and succeed. It increases and sustains individual and shared motivation. You start winning more business, and new breakthroughs get easier.

For instance: Let’s say you’re part of our PCMSI team. We agree that we are:
● Passionate about helping office managers find affordable best-practice communications solutions;
● Best at listening for and defining unique customer service needs; and
● Depend on building trust to keep and grow contacts and referrals.

Putting those three things together, we realize what drives our business is: Providing customers with tailored answering service solutions. So we make finding ways to do that our priority. Thanks to the Good to Great discovery process, staff members feel empowered to suggest ideas like our “Best Rate Guarantee”. That’s where we bill customers at the lowest rate possible every month based on actual service use. It’s a service still unique in our industry…and a win/win for customers and PCMSI! Those kinds of ideas are made possible by “intrinsic motivation”. That’s what Carnegie Mellon University psychology graduate student, Edward Deci, called it as early as 1969.

Already a Wharton MBA recipient, his experiments showed that the best way for businesses to benefit from employee inspiration was to help them reach for new challenges, gain new skills and grow.

No other external incentives, including cash, proved strong enough to keep Deci’s participants engaged. Intrinsic motivation is the secret success weapon that companies with organized ambitions unleash.

How to Unleash Your Own Big Ideas
If you’re in charge of contracting the right answering service, it’s a fair bet you’re juggling a lot more responsibility. Others look to you for direction, value your insights and feel supported by you. That makes you a natural leader – someone with innate, if not always assigned, authority.

Recognize and use that authority to:
● Bring change where you can: Start with your functional team or a smaller group. Document your progress and process so you can share it when your success gets noticed.
● Involve the right people: Request participation from every person who might influence or be affected by the process. Also, make as many necessary staffing changes as possible before you begin.
● Schedule it: Recognize the need for early-stage external motivation. Get upfront participation commitments.
● Ask the three tough questions: Consider a trusted third party to guide the passion, excellence and economic engine discovery process.
● Prioritize one main thing: Focus your findings on one big goal or idea that ties together and drives all other staff activity.
● Reap the rewards: Celebrate with staff and co-workers as you find new energy, enthusiasm and ideas that bring personal satisfaction and put you ahead of your competition!

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