Tag Archives: motivation

How to Motivate Your Team Members


Greetings Leaders!

I taught an introductory class in Project Management last month and we got into discussion about motivating team members. I mentioned that I take every opportunity I have to recognize people for their work. I was surprised at the reaction of the class. They were evenly split into two camps. Half agreed with me. The other half thought people should be rewarded only when they do something extraordinary and should not be recognized for just doing their job. There are obviously merits to both approaches. What are your thoughts?

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To Enjoy Life – Expect the Unexpected

Greetings Leaders!

I was taking a walk during lunch the other day near downtown Sacramento. As I was walking, I looked up and saw… oranges! Later during my walk along the river, I looked down and saw turtles! Ok, some of you may think I’m losing my mind. But I was having a trying day and was in a sour mood. So, when these little things came along, they just lifted my spirits. I wasn’t expecting to find an orange tree in downtown Sacramento. I wasn’t expecting to see turtles basking in the sun. Then I started to think, why don’t I expect the unexpected in other areas of my life?

As I think about life, many of us expect… the expected. When things are tough, we expect them to get worse. We get in the habit of looking at the ordinary and get used to living in mediocrity. The oranges and the turtles reminded me that life can also throw beautiful things your way, when you least expect it. The thing is, you have to stop what you’re doing, and take a look around you. If I hadn’t looked up, I wouldn’t have seen the oranges. They were there all the time. I even walked by them on a walk the other day, and didn’t even notice them. I’ve also been down the river before, so I probably have walked by turtles basking in the sun before.

The point – if you’re having a bad day, or a bad time. Stop. Look up. Take a walk. Open your eyes. God gives us gifts every day – and we often overlook them.

All the best!
All the time!

Searching for Significance?

Greetings Leaders!

It seems like we all want to feel significant. Sometimes to a fault. We search and search and search, only to come away frustrated. I want to encourage you to continue searching… by doing. While working at IBM, I was selected to attend what turned out to be the best seminar I have ever participated in. It was a small seminar for promising young IBM employees of Asian descent and was hosted by LEAP, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics. Through the years I’ve maintained a relationship with LEAP and they recently asked me to help review some scholarship applications for the Ronald McDonald’s House. I was a bit hesitant at first but I’m glad I accepted because what I found out rejuvenated and energized me.

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To Move Ahead – You Have To Leave Some Things Behind

Greetings Leaders!

This past weekend I had an adventure! I helped my son move from Medford, Oregon to Reno, Nevada as he got a promotion at the Guitar Center. The weekend was hectic as we drove from Sacramento to Medford, packed, drove from Medford to Sacramento, spent the night, drove from Sacramento to Reno, unpacked, then caught a Greyhound back to Sacramento. We braved the snow over the mountains near Mt. Shasta, raced a winter storm to Reno and unloaded in the snow. It was fun.

While we were packing in Medford, we made the decision to leave some things behind.To move and make room for new things, we had to leave some other things behind. This sounded like a great metaphor and reminded me of mental baggage we carry around with us.

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Encouragement for Those Over 40 and Out of Work

Greetings Leaders!

I was reading Joanne Maly’s blog and she had a post with a video of Gregory Hines tap dancing. Well, one thing led to another and I found myself watching the video below, highlighting Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr., that has some great lessons for leaders, those over 40 out of work, and those just entering the workforce.

For Those Over 40 and Out of Work

Don’t despair! Just because you were let go, you still have game. You have experience and talent. What you learned and the skills you developed over the years matter. You just need the chance to use them. In the video, these older gentleman had the skills to dance. They had it regardless of Max’s (Gregory Hines) initial opinion. They had this inside of them, in their souls. Just because you find yourself without a job, doesn’t mean you have no worth, or no skills. Never… ever… forget that.

To use your skills again, you need to do a couple of things.

  1. Stay sharp. These older dancers in the video must have been practicing or exercising regularly.
  2. Get a support group. These gents had each other and it helped them a lot. Don’t go about your layoff alone.
  3. Keep your pride. Challenge the system. Don’t let your age keep you from reentering the work force, or for settling for something less.
  4. Learn new skills. While this didn’t come out in the video, the reality is that the world is changing. Be willing to learn new ways of doing things.

For Those Just Starting Their Career

Gregory Hines learned a valuable lesson. Older people still have what it takes. I was young once and remember entering the workforce with enthusiasm. I also had a nickname while a Naval Flight Officer, which I once laughed about but am not so proud of anymore…. Prima Donna. I was cocky. I thought I knew it all. Now over 50, I realize how little I knew 30 years ago. Here is some advice for younger workers:

  1. Don’t assume those over 40 don’t know how to get things done using today’s technology. Some of them don’t… but some do.
  2. Listen to people who have been in the workforce for awhile. They may have some sage advice that will prevent you from making a serious mistake, or will propel you to stardom. Take advantage of their experience.
  3. Remember, you too will one day be one of the more “experienced” workers.

For Leaders

There are lessons for leaders in this video too. I mentioned this in a few other blogs, but I have noticed that many displaced workers are older than 40/45. This is not a coincidence and I understand why this happens.

What you need to remember as a leader, is that older workers have valuable skills that the younger workers don’t. I just read an interesting blog by George Brymer on Linked2Leadership that listed the top 10 things that younger workers are lacking. These are things that the older workers are great at. Remember, you should have a balanced workforce and there are gems out there that although older, may be worth keeping and polishing. Don’t be like the young girl who comes in at the end of the video and dismisses the older crowd because they are old.

All the best!
All the time!

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How To Inspire Your Employees

Greetings Leaders!

In these tough economic times, how do you keep your employees motivated and inspired? My advice would be don’t try gimmicks, but find ways to celebrate real accomplishments, instill hope based on a look to the future and ensure everyone knows that what they are doing is making a difference.

Gimmicks are easily seen by employees as just that… a gimmick. Gimmicks include things like an employee of the week award, chair massages or bring your dog to work day. These things are fine to do, as long as you realize they won’t produce long lasting motivation. If you ask someone what they like about the company they work for they probably won’t list these things first.

People go to work for the following reasons:

  1. A fair wage for a days work
  2. To do something they love
  3. To make a difference

If you want to truly motivate people, take care of these things first.

  1. Pay them a fair wage. Here in California, there is a hamburger chain called In-N-Out Burger. Teens like to work there because they pay above minimum wage. In-N-Out wants to attract quality people, so they pay more up front. No hassles. A fair days wage, for a fair days work.
  2. Hire people who are suited for the job they will be performing. If people are doing something they love or enjoy, they will stay motivated. I once worked with a secretary who hated her job. Needless to say, she wasn’t very good at it.
  3. If people feel good about what they are doing, they will feel even better if they know that the company is making a difference. If you don’t feel like you’re making a difference, then why bother. Even making something like making toilet paper is important. Can you imaging what the world would be like if there were no toilet paper, or if the paper we had was made of cardboard?
  4. To help people love their jobs, treat them with respect and ensure roles, responsibilities and expectations are clear. Help keep conflict to a minimum.

All the best,
All the time,

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    Turning Point – Turn Your Life Around

    Greetings Leaders!

    Today in history – On June 4, 1942 the U.S found itself trying to recover from the events of Pearl Harbor, as it tried to stop the Japanese advance across the Pacific at a little know island called  Midway. At Pearl Harbor, the US Pacific fleet was decimated with the loss of all its battleships and tragically, over 2,800 men and women were lost. For the next 18 months, all the US could do was try to survive.

    The time eventually came when the US Navy had a chance to turn the tide of the war in what would become known as the Battle of Midway. After the battle, the Japanese fleet had lost four aircraft carriers to the US loss of the carrier Yorktown. The tide had been turned in the battle for control of the Pacific Ocean.

    How did this come about and more importantly, what lessons can you apply in turning your life around?

    Remain diligent and alert: If you find yourself in a setback, the worst thing you can do is surrender. You won’t win the battles in your life if you don’t get up. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, pick yourself up and start looking around you. What are you looking for? Opportunities.

    Develop a new plan: After Pearl Harbor, the US Navy had to rethink its strategies. They had lost all of their battleships in the Pacific, and had to conclude that the battleship was no longer the mainstay of the fleet, but that the era of the aircraft carrier was at hand. New tactics had to be developed, in addition to retooling the US industrial machine to produce carriers and aircraft, instead of more battleships. If you’ve suffered a defeat, take a long honest look at your skills and experience. Perhaps you need to retool, by going back to school or learning some new skills. Perhaps you need to change the people you hang out with, or look for opportunities in a different field.

    Whatever the case may be, you must come to the realization that perhaps the horse you’ve ridden so far, isn’t the one that is going to help you win the race.

    Stay informed: The US had an extensive network of intelligence gathering forces that enabled it to break the Japanese military communications codes. This resulted in the US Navy having the upper edge in intelligence. How are you staying informed about the world that is going around you? Get on a reading plan. Leaders are Readers.

    Take calculated risks: No pain – No gain. No guts – No glory Admiral Nimitz took a HUGE gamble by putting up three US carriers against the entire Japanese fleet. If you aren’t willing to take some risks, you might as well just get used to the status quo.

    Enlist the help of other leaders: Admiral Nimitz needed a leader on his team who could get the job done. Nimitz wanted to place his most experienced commander in charge of the operation at Midway, but Admiral “Bull” Halsey came down with shingles and Nimitz replaced him with Admiral Spruance who performed admirably during the battle. Who are the leaders on your team?

    Rely on  little luck: Yes, this is correct. Sometimes in life we have to roll the dice and see what comes up. The US certainly had its share of luck during the Battle of Midway. However, they were only able to take advantage of it because they were there in the first place. I’m not a big advocate of the “name it and claim it” crowd. I also am somewhat skeptical about the consistency of results centered around the Law of Attraction. However, a positive attitude, and letting chance come to your aid, is better than the alternative which is a sour attitude and the belief that life is against you.

    Turn Your Life Around!

    Lead With Honor!


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    Get Back Up – Nick Vujicic (Need I say more…)

    Greetings Leaders,

    Sitting in Starbucks, looking for ideas that you might find helpful or useful. Came across this video of Nick Vujicic. I had the privilege of seeing Nick speak at Bayside Church about 6 months ago. You have to check his story out. I can’t add anything to the video… it speaks for itself.

    He has a website at Life Without Limbs.

    All the best,
    All the time,

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