Several years ago I heard Jeff Immelt from General Electric at a retreat for the Baylor Health Care board retreat. He raised a question I want to respond to in this article: “How do you get people energized every day in a cause you believe in?” Let me make some suggestions.
WHAT GETS MODELED GETS DONE.
Albert Einstein once said, “Setting an example is not the main means of motivating others – it is the only means.” He’s right. The truth of his statement has been confirmed many times.
Several years ago a University of Texas study considered more than one hundred leaders from all sectors of the corporate world to find out what formative experiences or personal traits made them successful leaders. The study discovered only one factor that was present for every single leader and it was this: at normative stages of their development, each spent quality time with other successful leaders. They learned what to do by seeing it modeled in others.
So how can we inspire the kinds of actions now that will ensure the fulfillment of our vision as a church or business? We must demonstrate those actions in our own lives, because >>>> What gets modeled gets done.
WHAT GETS PRAISED GETS DONE.
Ken Blanchard refers to this as P & R – praise and recognition.
In every field with every person at every level of every organization in all places – P & R motivates people. As one man put it, “Man does not live by bread alone. He also needs buttering up.”
Do you remember the biblical story of Job? Job had everything going his way – he had money, influence, family, health, happiness. He had it all. Then, just as quickly, he lost it all. His wealth, his family, his health. And then, his “friends” came to cheer him up! Do you remember? With friends like that, who needs enemies? But in the midst of their somewhat discouraging remarks came one gem. I noticed it the other night as I was reading through Job in the Moffatt translation. According to that translation, in Job 4:4, one of his friends said to him, “Job, your words have helped to keep men on their feet.”
Isn’t that fantastic! Your words have helped keep people on their feet. You have spoken in such a positive, uplifting, encouraging, helpful way that by the very words you spoke, you encouraged people to keep going. The reason that is so fantastic is that we live in a world filled with people who seem to always be trying to knock people off their feet. But leaders who inspire others are those whose words help people keep on their feet.
Because >>>> What gets praised gets done.
WHAT GETS TRAINED GETS DONE.
Motivating others is a more complex activity than just setting examples and patting others on the back. We must also equip everyone to do his or her job through adequate and continuous training.
In his book, 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make, Steven Brown suggested that there are only three basic reasons why a person does not do his or her job:
- The individual does not know what the job is
- The individual does not know how to do the job
- Something or someone interferes with his or her desire to do the job.
Then he concluded: “We have not begun to be responsible to them until we have assumed the responsibility for establishing the basic precedents to successful behavior by making sure they know what the job is and how to do it.”
What gets trained gets done.
WHAT GETS MEASURED GETS DONE
Because of the nature of human nature, a fourth step is necessary. I wish it were not necessary. My own personal leadership style is to
- make sure everyone knows where we are going
- lead the way myself
- hand out lots of “at-a-boys” and “at-a-girls”
- train everyone to do their job and then
- get out of the way
Unfortunately, that leadership style often falls short because of the simple truth expressed in a slogan I saw recently:
PEOPLE DON’T DO WHAT YOU EXPECT; THEY DO WHAT YOU INSPECT.
To motivate the kind of actions now that will insure the realization of our vision for the future, we need to hold our people accountable through a consistent plan of evaluation. Because, WHAT GETS MEASURED GETS DONE!