Have You Ever Licked a 9volt Battery?

pexels-photo-67102.jpegHave you ever licked a 9-volt battery? (I’m not suggesting that you do – I’m just asking if you have). When adults do something that makes them feel good – that gets them excited – what are they more apt to do? If you licked a 9-volt battery and you liked that sensation – then more than likely you’d lick it again. I believe the key to motivating someone is to figure out what turns their crank – figure out what they are looking to get out of the deal. People do things for their own reason – not yours.  All you have to do is figure out what’s in it for them and use that to get them to do what you need to get done.

#Worth Remembering – It’s only when a person has their own generator that we can talk about motivation. They need no outside stimulation. – Frederick Herzberg 

What motivates you to do what you do? I believe everyone can be motivated. I’m certain of that. But not everyone is motivated by the same thing – or in the same way. Some people are motivated by money. Some people are motivated by a fancy job title or that premier parking spot. You need to create an environment where people will want to motivate themselves. Trust me – if you have the means to help them get what’s in it for them – then you have their attention. If you don’t – they won’t be motivated enough to try.

#Worth Remembering – Smith’s Motivation Equation: Personal Want + Goal-Directed Behaviour = What’s in for me. People will act in a way that will get them what they want. 

If you can’t find a way to motivate others, you can’t lead. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. Most people are self-serving and will only do something if they are going to get something out of the deal. Even someone who volunteers their time and energy is getting something from it or they wouldn’t keep volunteering. The next time you need to motivate someone to do what needs to be done – try the carrot, what’s in it for them, instead of using the stick approach. Trust me – it works every time. It’s like licking a 9-volt battery.

Copyright (c) 2018. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian’s available for keynote speeches or facilitating workshops on a variety of soft-skills topics.  To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Different Folks Requires Different Strokes

Control Freak 7Yes, I admit it. I was once a control freak! I was an “old school” micro-manager. Trust me – in my 40+ year career as an award-winning entrepreneur and general manager for a major corporation, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. I’m here to confess my number one sin in the hope that first-time supervisors, managers and business leaders will learn what not to do. I also think there’s a lesson here for seasoned veterans who developed their management style in the late 1960’s like I did. Social psychologist Douglas McGregor referred to it as a “Theory X” style of management. Managers who adopted this style believed that workers were inherently lazy and needed to be bullied or brow-beaten into performing their work.  Employees were never to question authority.  “Do as I say – not as I do. When I tell you to jump – the only thing you can ask is how high”. There are still a number of managers and business leaders out there who continue to manage and lead that way. They manage and lead by intimidation. I’m here to tell you the days of the “Bully Boss” are over.

#Worth Remembering …The definition of insanity is doing the same thing – expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein

Times have certainly changed for the better. If I knew then what I know now there is no question I would have managed differently. After reading this article I hope you’ll manage differently too. What you need to decide is – will the management style that got you here – be the same style that will help you be as successful moving forward? I believe we’re not born knowing how to manage or lead others effectively. I believe it’s a learned behaviour. We all start out making certain assumptions, based on our past experiences and perceptions, as to the kind of role we think managers and leaders need to play. But we also know, based on our experiences, that our perceptions may not always be correct and that sometimes we have to change our way of thinking to become better at what we do. Today’s managers and business leaders need to change the way they manage others to stay in step with an ever-changing workforce. Different folks require different stokes. It’s now about inclusion – not exclusion. It’s now about building collaborative teams.

#Worth Remembering … One of the most important things about being a good manager is to rule with a heart. You have to know the business, but you have to know what’s at the heart of a business and that’s people. – Oprah Winfrey

Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book – “Working with Emotional Intelligence”, might have said it best. “We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other”. Emotional intelligence often referred to as soft-skills now plays a more pivotal role in how we manage and lead others. If you can’t connect on an emotional level with the people you work with and interact with – then you stand little chance of being successful. Productivity and profitability is still the name of the game. That will never change. But how we get there has. People like to work with people they like. And the only way to get people to like you is to work with them in a way that they like. It’s no longer about your technical ability. It’s about your ability to connect with others, communicate, educate and delegate in a style that they like. If you can’t do that then you can’t manage or lead. It’s no longer my way or the highway. It’s about our way. You need to learn to manage and lead the 21st Century way. You need to change because they aren’t going to.

Copyright (c) 2018. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft skills topics? To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

 

Why Women Make Better Leaders

 

 

EmpathyWhy women make better leaders can be summed up in just one word – “Empathy”. (The ability to see it from another person’s point of view). Women seem to come by it naturally, while most men have to work at it. Dee Dee Myers – author of “Why Women Should Rule The World” believes that women are more successful at managing small businesses because women can make people accountable for their actions but, they are also there to support them. “Females have the trait, where maybe most males do not”. Mary Matalin, former counsellor to President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney was quoted as saying – “Women around the world are rewriting history at a ferocious pace with or without mans permission”. It’s easy to argue that men haven’t been doing such a good job lately of managing things. That’s not a political statement – I’m just stating the facts. In the words of Bob Dylan – “The times they are a changing”.

It’s great to see that more and more women are taking up a seat at the boardroom table and leading Fortune 500 Companies. Women are outpacing men in starting their own small businesses. According to research conducted by The Centre for Women’s Business – 1 in 5 of all firms generating 1 million dollars or more in sales is owned by women. The Seventh Annual Business Report, commisioned by American Express, finds that the number of businesses owned by women has more than doubled in 20 years, as has their revenue. Women are starting an average of 849 new businesses per day, up 3% from 2016. There are 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than 1.7 trillion in revenue. Facts and figures published by Statistics Canada on Canadian Women Entrepreneurs tell a similar story. Of all the small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada – 47% are entirely or partly owned by women. The average net profit of female-owned businesses has increased from 52% of male-owned businesses to 89%. Based on these numbers I think it’s safe to say the glass ceiling has been shattered.

Putting gender aside, what does it really take to be a successful owner or manage a small business?

Successful small business owners and managers:

  • Understand themselves and how their attitude affects others.
  • Understand how their reaction to any given situation affects the outcome.
  • Have a positive attitude about themselves – which causes others to have confidence in them.
  • Understand that every situation is different, so they know they must behave and respond differently.
  • Realize that they need their people more than their people need them. They would look pretty silly trying to run things by themselves. There’s strength in numbers.
  • Know they don’t have to have all the answers, all of the time. If they surround themselves with capable people, someone on their team will.
  • Must lead by example. That sounds easy to do but it means never compromising your principles and honouring what you hold to be true – honesty, integrity and always doing what is right.

I could go on and on – but I think you get the point. Women deserve far more credit then they have been given. It’s time that ALL men realize a women’s place is far more than being barefoot and pregnant. If you’re looking to develop 21st Century leadership skills, start with empathy. Learn to count to 10 or 20 if need be, before you react. See things from the other person’s point of view. Trust me – you’ll be glad you did and so will the people who work with you.

Copyright (c) 2017. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Are you looking for a professional speaker or seminar leader who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics? Give Brian a call. He will customize a program that is right for you, your people and your organization. To find out more visit https://briansmithpld.com

Do You Have What It Takes?

entrepreneurshipAre you thinking of taking the big plunge and going into business for yourself? Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? I was recently contacted by a first year business student who had to go out and interview three entrepreneurs as part of a class assignment. He had to ask them three questions. If you are looking to go into business for yourself I thought you might be interested in my answers. I have had the good fortune of being self-employed since 1998. Starting and running your own small business is not for the faint of heart. Matter of fact – in a recent Industry Canada study conducted by Eileen Fisher, Schulich School of Business, York University and Rebecca Reuber, Rothman School of Management, University of Toronto, concluded that thirty percent of all new small businesses won’t survive longer than two years, and only half make it to year five. Some of the reasons for those failures are out of your control, but most are because of the bad decisions you will make. Lack of management or financial skills are in the top five.

Here are my answers to his three questions. I hope it will give you some valuable insight into what it will take to be a successful entrepreneur.

1 – What made you decide to own your own small business? I had managed other people’s businesses for a number of years, with the idea that I wanted to own and operate my own small business some day. Being my own boss appealed to me. It proved to be a great training ground for me. I got to learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The best part was I got to make those mistakes on someone else’s dime. I recommend that to anyone looking to start their own small business. Work for someone else until you’ve learned enough to start your own.

2 – What are five key characteristics that you feel are important to have to be a successful entrepreneur? I believe there are a number of key characteristics you need to be successful. Some you will do well, others you will need to learn. Here are my top five. I’ve listed them here in no particular order.

  • Time Management: Be able to manage your time well. Learn to prioritize what needs to be done so that you do the most important things first. Sometimes that will mean doing things you don’t like to do. We tend to spend our time on things that we enjoy doing or that we are good at. Be disciplined enough to complete your “A” item before you work on your “B” or “C”.
  • Open Mindedness: You only know what you know – you don’t know what you don’t know – and it’s what you don’t know that could hurt you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – and be smart enough to take it. That’s how we learn.
  • Empathetic: Be able to see things from another person’s point of view. People make mistakes. The important thing is how you react to them.
  • Communicate: You must be able to communicate in a way that others will understand. If you can’t communicate both by the written word and verbally, then you stand little chance of being understood.
  • Goal Setting: Being successful is a planned event. Put a plan together to accomplish your goals. Great plans start with the end in mind. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then put a plan together to get there. However, you need to be flexible enough to change or adjust your plan, if it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal.

3 –  If you could start your business over again, what one thing would you do differently? That’s a tough question because struggles are part of the learning process. If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t learning anything new. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from the mistakes you make. The one thing I would do over again is to be more disciplined in managing the money side of the business. That old saying “it takes money to make money” is true. But you have to make the money before you spend the money. I would put together a realistic budget and then stick to it. Projections are just that – projections. They are a best guess. However, projections don’t pay the bills or more importantly, they don’t pay you.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is a former Professor at Algonquin College’s School of Business, Top 100 Leadership Expert, Author and Speaker. To find out more about Brian and what you can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com