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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Don’t assume you know what is important to the people you manage

coaching salespeopleTake a moment and think about what motivates you to perform more effectively and more efficiently? What makes you WANT to work harder and smarter? What makes you want to give it your all?

If you made a list of all the factors that motivate you, and then asked the people you manage to do the same–do you think the lists would match exactly? I doubt it!

We are all inspired differently, and it would be a mistake to assume that what’s important to us is also what’s important to everybody else—primarily what’s important to the people we manage.

I was reminded of this as I sat down at my desk around “chocolate o’clock” today, ready to enjoy a little mini Dove Chocolate. I love these particular chocolates for two reasons 1. HELLO, they are chocolate. 2. They have a little inspiring message inside the wrapper.

I settled in ready to read some motivating words that would perfectly match me and the mood I was in. I turned the shiny piece of chocolate over and carefully unwrapped the bright foil. It is safe to say I had some high expectations…

The message on the wrapper said, “Sleep under the stars tonight” (Insert long dramatic pause). Sleep under what? Sleep outside? Um, have we met? I don’t camp (another long dramatic pause) EVER. Sleeping under the stars is just not for me. Disappointed in the message I did the only rational thing possible, I unwrapped and ate more chocolate until I found a message I liked. The next one said: “If you fall down 7 times, get up 8”… that’s better. The one after that said, “Sing out loud! Who cares what you sound like?” Definitely getting warmer… and the final, “Shopping makes everything better!” Now we are talking!!

All this chocolate got me thinking about the different ways managers have motivated me to do great work over the years…

  • I’ve had the, “Because I said so!” managers… which had about as much impact as, “Sleep under the stars.”
  • I’m lucky to have also had the, “I’d love for you to be a part of this project because you have specifically expressed interest in our last conversation, and I think it would be an amazing use of your talents and an opportunity for you to grow.” Now THAT really does make me want to sing out loud!!

Management needs to be highly individualized to be effective, and it is about so much more than money.

The most common reason cited by employees as to why they quit their last job was that their boss didn’t care about them, didn’t know what they were doing, and didn’t have their best interest at heart. Bad relationships drive more employees away than do small paychecks.

What motivational messages are your employees unwrapping today? Unless they are highly individualized, it might be time for a new approach.

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Dana Bojcic is a Senior Talent Analyst at The Center for Sales Strategy.

Topics: Talent Sales