The house we live in is on a
half acre lot with lots of trees. It is a beautiful setting, but the
situation does call for a certain amount of work to keep the place
looking nice.

Some time
back I gave my teenage son a job to do out in the yard picking up
sticks. Since the sticks look bad and can do damage to the lawn mower,
this needs to be done every so often before I mow the grass. Frankly,
my son despises picking up sticks. I really don't blame him. I don't
like to do it either. Most of us, when there is a task we have to do
but don't like, will put that job off as long as possible. My son is no
exception. Instead of just getting out there and getting it done, his
tendency is to wait until the last minute, then do it half-heartedly.

But, I
have observed an interesting phenomenon. Even though he hates this job,
there have been a few times when he went out and did it with a lot of
enthusiasm. This tended to be times when he wanted me to do something
for him, or when he, for some reason, particularly wanted to please me.

Isn't it
interesting that a person can actually become enthusiastic about doing
a job that they would normally despise. What if you could learn to do
that for yourself at will, and inspire the people who work under you to
do it, as well?


The Problem of Productivity

the Gallup organization published a book that gave some insight into
this phenomenon. Their research indicated that 75% to 80% of people in
any given organization are performing below their potential. The
fascinating conclusion, though, is breathtaking. If employers could get
their people working to full potential, they would boost customer
loyalty by seventy percent and profits by as much as forty percent.
What would that be worth? It is one thing, though, to know the math, it
is another thing to actually get people working better. But it can be
done if approached the right way.

While many
companies focus almost exclusively on the financial bottom line, that
is not the place where the most benefit can be extracted in creating a
better bottom line. If all of the work in the company is handled by
some mechanical system, maybe a "bottom line/mechanized" focus is an
option. But most organizations depend on people to make the systems
work - and people have their own special set of requirements.

I know
people who are willing to work harder, and for less pay, because their
work situation gives them the kind of personal fulfillment that
motivates them. I am also aware of situations where people quit jobs
that had very high pay and great benefits because, to them, the
pressure was not worth it.

So, what
can a company, or a management team, do to get its people operating in
a way that produces high job satisfaction, high customer loyalty,
greater productivity, and a bigger bottom line? The answer is to know
your people and challenge them in ways that fit them individually. This
may seem like a daunting task but, if the Gallop organization's
conclusions are correct, figuring this out may be the most important
thing your company can emphasize.

This is
actually not that difficult a task. But, it does require that every
level of the organization be staffed with people who are right for the
job. This may not to be so difficult to do if the organization has a
large number of people to draw from. The HR department can usually pick
out the people with the right qualifications to do the company's work.
The difficulty lies more at the management level where individual
managers must have great people and decision making skills, in addition
to the task skills.

This is
often where "The Peter Principle" kicks in. The Peter principle states
that in every hierarchy, each employee tends to rise to his level of
incompetence. The primary reason this happens is that people who are
great at doing their production job get promoted to positions which
require them to have relationship and supervisory skills that they
don't have the training or the personality for. It is not enough for
them to be experts at doing the job, they have to become experts at
helping other people become experts at doing the job. This can be
developed and should become the focus of management placement.

This is
not to say that an organization should have lax requirements. In fact,
if the company expects to compete in the rough and tumble free market
jungle, there must be high standards. The real issue is, "How can you cause your people to be excited about working in that kind of environment?"

Start with a Human Focus

Here is
the bottom line. People will move heaven and earth to accomplish the
thing that fulfills their personal sense of purpose. This personal
sense of purpose is different for each individual, even for those who
have the same job description. That is the reason managers have to
focus at an individual level. The company's bottom line can not be the
focus. Rather, it is what the task means to the worker who is doing it.

Let's look
at an example. Bill, Jack and Ramona all work as financial consultants
for a national company. All have been with the company for about two
years, but their manager, Alex, has noticed that there is a lot of
inconsistency in the work of the three. He knows that all three have
great potential. He has seen it displayed at times.

To try and
be a better manager, Alex has studied different management techniques
and styles. He has tried to motivate his people by dangling incentives
in front of them or sometimes by getting on their case - with varying
results. The various programs that he has studied seem to work
sometimes and sometimes not. What Alex doesn't realize is that the
issues that motivate his three people are all different.

Bill is
recently married. He makes enough to live a comfortable life and is not
nearly as interested in the company's bottom line as Alex is. What Bill
wants is to make enough to take care of his new wife and to have time
to do things with her.

Jack is an
immigrant and must support his wife and three children as well as both
of his parents. He seems to be motivated to work hard no matter what
the situation and would probably work one hundred hours a week if he
could. He does, though, struggle a bit with the language.

Ramona is
a hard worker, but she is a single mom with one child in elementary
school and another in middle school. While she is committed to the
company, she sometimes seems rather distracted.

If Alex is
only looking to management technique to get better productivity, it
will always be hit and miss. Sometimes he will accidentally find
something that strikes a chord with one of his people. But, if he will
make the effort to learn what fulfills each one's purpose, and
facilitate that need, the outcome will be exactly what he is looking

Fulfill the Purpose

individual starts their work on the basis of their own purpose, not the
purpose of the company. The trick, for the manager, is to create a
situation where the purpose of the company and the purpose of the
individual coincide. Once that common ground can be developed, the
worker will work for the company as if working for self.

there is a way to create opportunities for Bill to spend extra time
with his wife while doing certain company projects. Perhaps there is a
way to help Jack with his language so he can do more in less time.
Perhaps there is a way to help Ramona with scheduling so that she can
be more productive during the time her kids are in school. If they knew
that Alex was trying to help them this way, would they be more loyal?
More productive? More satisfied with their job situation? Absolutely!

In fact,
the satisfaction they receive from being more fulfilled will cause them
to work in ways that generates more customer loyalty and higher profits
for the company. Over time, the job satisfaction will turn to job
passion. And as we all know, passion pays!

Dr. Freddy Davis
is the owner of TSM Enterprises and conducts conferences, seminars and
organizational training for executives, managers and sales
professionals. He is the author of the book Supercharged! as well as the "Nutshell" Series of books for strengthening business. Sign up, free, for Freddy's twice-monthly e-letter, Nutshell Notes, at http://www. tsmenterprises. com. You can contact Freddy directly at 888-883-0656 or by e-mail at info@tsmenterprises. com.