Happy March! March 16th is our 5 year birthday! Thank you all so much for your continued support and advocacy of our work. The last 4 years have been a journey of ups and downs, but this month I want to talk about how to get through the downs and focus on staying energetic, motivated and excited about your business. It can be difficult when things are slow and down, but it is often what separates the companies that succeed from those that don’t. I am writing about this because I have occasionally hit those tired or burned out moments. When I reflected on when those have hit me the hardest, it has been when things are slow. Yet, thanks to you and others, they have always picked back up. I smile saying this because I immediately get that roller coaster visual and interestingly enough, it is when you go down that you scream the loudest.
Therefore, in stepping back and contemplating what keeps me motivated, I found some basic but powerful common themes. Here they go:
- Remind myself to be an example: When I remind myself that my staff is watching and they would and could emulate my actions, I quickly want to snap out of it. It is very similar to parenting. When I know I am being watched by my children, I behave in a way I want them to behave. If you want them to work hard and become committed in what they do, show them your dedication and demonstrate how hard you work every day just like them. If you want your employees to be motivated and always enthusiastic, you should behave the same way. Your employees look up to you, and the best way to guide everyone forward and upward is to lead by example.
- Get involved: When things are slow, it is imperative that you ask for thoughts. Employees like to be involved with the path of the company. When you ask them for their suggestions and insights regarding new policies or decisions, it can get them excited. Seeing their enthusiasm for the company is contagious and reminds me of why I am doing what I am doing. By simply showing that you value and respect what they have to say, they will instantly or eventually feel valued and appreciated. And, hearing their ideas can feed into your enthusiasm as well.
- Keep the lines of communication open: Sometimes when you feel unmotivated, the tendency is to seclude yourself so that others cannot see your actions since you are an example (see point 1!). I find that if I force myself to talk to staff and share concerns or ideas, it can lead to better ideas. Everyone knows when things are slower, and avoiding talking about it is about as effective as avoiding the white elephant in the room. Open communication puts minds at ease, and oftentimes talking about it yourself will put things in perspective.
- Celebrate the good: Employees need recognition of good performance, ideas or deeds. Celebrate all of the positive things that are happening. Chances are even if things are slow, there are still great things happening. Staying optimistic and showing gratitude are surefire ways I know I can keep myself motivated and on track.
- Be efficient: When things are slower, it is a perfect time to step back and look at your technology, your processes and the way your conduct your business and be more efficient. I am not talking about cutting staff or costs but rather investing in the tools, equipment and materials needed to make life easier.
Again, Happy March. I hope the year is off to a great start and that you and your team stay motivated through 2013! As always, we are here to help with your part-time, full-time, contract or temporary hiring needs whenever needed!