Tag Archives: Motivation

Why Some People Are Almost Always Successful.

Last night I could not sleep, so I decided to watch the pilot episode of the original Star Trek series.

Star Trek

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I was surprised by what I witnessed:

  • Kirk was not the Captain. Captain Pike was in charge and the only recognizable character was Mr. Spock–no Bones, Scotty, or Sulu.
  • The special effects were awful (e.g. rocks on the planet surface looked like paper mache from the set of a middle school play).
  • It was fairly risqué for the time (this was 45 years ago).

The pilot was almost comically bad. Mercifully, it was not included in the original TV series. If it had been, I would not have been inclined to watch further. However, over the next four decades, they improved every dimension–plot, acting, and special effects.

If A Thing Is Worth Doing…

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badlyIt has been said that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. There is wisdom in this. You should put forth your best effort. But another perspective is just as important.

In, What’s Wrong with the World, G. K. Chesterton said, that “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” That’s right–badly.

You don’t have to be an expert or the best in your field in order attempt to do a thing. In fact, you have to do it badly before you are good enough to do it well (e.g. love letters, parenting, your calling).

MBA CHARLESTON SOUTHERN UNIVERSITYWhen I was in high school, I asked my track coach how to run faster. Coach Soranno looked me in the eye and said, “run faster.” He was right. The more you do it, the more capacity you develop. It is like lifting weights and the same principle operates in other areas of life.

talent is overrated

As the research shows in books like Geoff Colvin’s  Talent is Overrated and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, world-class performers in any field practice more than others. We would like to believe that greatness is due to a particular innate genius, but practice is really the key to success.

What Do You Want To Do?

Do you want to write books? Start blogging. Do you want to teach? How about volunteering to teach a Sunday school class. Want to beat the markets? Practice trading with a free virtual stock fund. Whatever it is, start.

Don’t worry about doing it badly. Over time, you will improve. Remember, it is not where you start, it is where you finish. Take the first step now.

-Darin Gerdes, Ph.D.

December 30, 2012

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Star TrekNote: If you are interested, you can watch the Star Trek pilot on Amazon for $1.99 (Free with a 1 month trial of Amazon Prime) or you can watch it on Netflix (Free month trial).

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Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University

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Filed under Books, Effectiveness, Gift Card, Leadership, Motivation, Success

How to Boost Morale Without Spending a Fortune

In these tight economic times, would you like to know how to boost morale, increase motivation, and decrease turnover without breaking the bank?

How To Lead in Tough Times

When the economy is down and business is tough, a manager’s first tendency is to seek new ways to be efficient. Efficiency is good, but pushed too far, the human cost can outweigh the financial benefits of efficiency.

Life_vest

Perhaps you should stop trying to run a tight ship and start thinking about the welfare of the crew members.

It turns out that your people are less enamored with your business acumen (e.g. that you can move them around on a spread sheet to squeeze out another couple of bucks) than they are with your concern for them.  When they know that you will look after their best interest, you will have their loyalty.

Motivation as the Key to Efficiency

Hug Your PeopleJack Mitchell wrote a wonderful book for leaders who reject the idea that efficiency is all that counts in management. In Hug Your People: The Proven Way to Hire, Inspire, and Recognize Your Employees and Achieve Remarkable Results  he suggests the following:

Treat your Employees like Associates: No, seriously–treat your people like colleagues that deserve respect (because they do). And, don’t just talk about it. Let your actions speak for you.

Get to Know Them Professionally and Personally: Your associates will gladly support leaders who care. They will be cautious with cold-hearted managers who would kick them to the curb to save a buck.

Have Fun with Your People: You can enjoy working with your associates, and if you do, they are more likely to be more motivated.

Have Expectations and Standards, Not Rules and Regulations: Rules are stifling, but expectations breathe life without crippling motivation. Bad managers love to enforce rules. In contrast, good leaders let expectations manage people.

Know the Difference Between Employees “Working For” You vs. “Working With” You: The former is hierarchical. The latter is collegial. In the former, you check up on them to make sure they are doing their work. In the latter, you check in to see how you can help.  

Discourage Reliance on Yourself: Good leaders want their people to grow and succeed without them. They encourage decision-making because they want followers to grow. Good leaders are pleased when their people succeed (with or without them).

Would You Want To Work for Jack Mitchell?

Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern University

Who wouldn’t want to for a manager that truly cared about his people? Wouldn’t your manager get the best out of you if he treated you this way? But these are not techniques to trick employees to be motivated for the sake of efficiency. They are heart attitudes and they must run as deep as familial affection or patriotic ardor. You cannot fake concern for your people.

Mitchell summed up the core of his philosophy as follows:

Relationships are personalized–this means that people engage one another as real people rather than as job responsibilities. They get to know Ralph not as a shoe buyer but as someone who likes to go Kayaking and has eight-year-old twin girls. Michael’s not accounts receivables, but a marathoner who loves mango pudding.

When you care about your crew, you will not have to worry about running a tight ship. Take care of Ralph and Michael, and they will take care of you.

-Darin Gerdes, Ph.D.

December 3, 2012

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Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University

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What is Leadership? – Part I [Video of short lecture – 5 Minutes]

This is part one of a two-part introduction to my discussion of the nature of leadership in my MBA Classes at Charleston Southern University.

In this video, I provide an overview of the core elements of leadership according to the academic literature.

Then I briefly discuss:

  • Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern UniversityVision,
  • Influence
  • motivation

Want More? Watch Part II of What Is Leadership? Part II will be the best 10 minutes you spend today, or your money back (actually, that is not much of a claim since it is free, but I stand behind my content).

invisible-employeeThe Wayne Gretsky story comes from Adrian Gostick’s book, The Invisible Employee.   At the time of this writing,  used copies are selling on Amazon for as little as a penny.

His other books are linked below on the Amazon page. I would recommend that you read everything Gostick writes.

 

Darin Gerdes

December 1, 2012

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Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University

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Filed under Effectiveness, Efficiency, Influence, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Organizational Behavior, Video in Post, Vision

The Secret of Getting People to Follow You.

Too often, young leaders start with the wrong perspective on leadership.

It is not bad to want to lead, but typically they think that leadership is all about “being a leader.” This view encourages self-aggrandizing behaviors, playing politics, and efforts to get people to follow you. Ultimately, it leads to frustration when these ill-fated techniques do not work.

When we want to know how to get people to follow us, we have begun by asking the wrong question.

Leadership is not about you. It is about the people you lead.

The Motivation to Lead

It took me a long time to understand this point (Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership notwithstanding) . The difference is motivation.

Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern UniversityThe correct motivation is the key to success in leadership. If you really believe in that leadership is all about you, will act one way. But if you believe that leadership is about success of your followers, then you will act an entirely different way. Let me illustrate.

Parallels between Social Media and Leadership

Social media is a wonderful metaphor for successful leadership. Think about how social media works. It is not command-and-control. There is no boss telling you what you must read or write.

In social media, the would-be leader must make his mark not with control, but by influence. That influence is magnified when it is focused on the needs of others.

Loud “buy my product” overtures fall flat. They are ignored (or blocked). In contrast, the best social media marketers simply give away a lot of valuable material. They attract a crowd because they look to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4). People follow them because they add value.

Are you adding value to others?

What is the secret of getting people to follow you? Stop trying to be a “leader.” Sincerely add value to others and before long you will have a following.

Darin Gerdes

November 28, 2012

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Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University

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Filed under Effectiveness, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Organizational Behavior, Social Media, Success, Trust