Many years ago there was a tv show called “Outer Limits”. One episode of this series struck a chord with me as a kid, and I never forgot it. A group of scientists felt that the world was dividing into factions and that the planet would not survive if it continued in this direction. They decided that if they could provide the earth with a common enemy that they could re-unite the planet. Their solution was to turn one of the scientists, within their group, into an alien (breathing gas, and physically altered to resemble a being from another world). What they wanted was for people to unite and work together as “earthlings”, in opposition to a common enemy. For people of earth to shed their intolerance of each other and have a common goal and purpose.
How do you motivate a group or the individuals within the group? Many employers try different variation of the “carrot” and the “stick” to motivate workers. The “carrot” can be more money, a bigger office, or an office closer to the boss. The “stick” might be the threat that if you don’t measure up then you are out the door. These tactics might work to some extent, but studies have shown that job satisfaction, and pride in one’s work is much more likely to motivate workers. It is amazing how much an acknowledgement for a job well done and positive feedback can motivate someone to want to give you their best.
How do you align a group so that every one is contributing to the good of the group and working towards group goals? The only way to do this is with communication. Management needs to define its short term and long term goals and communicate these to the rest of the company. Having monthly or quarterly meetings to assess what has been done and what needs to be done within the next period can be of immense help. Workers want to feel that they are working towards some end and not just a cog in the wheel with an endless amount of work in sight.
Celebrate your Success
When a goal is reached, whether it’s selling 50,000 widgets, getting recognized as a leader within the industry, or expanding into a new territory, share this “win” with the rest of the company. Thank the company as a whole for a job “well done” and acknoweldge the individuals who might have contributed the most towards achieving this particular goal. Workers want to take pride in themselves, and in their group, so allow them to do that.