hospitality technology made simple by kevin sturm Consulting

get networked!

"Your network is your net worth."

This is a quote from Tim Sanders book Love is the Killer App. I've been working on actively building my network's hard!

When you see it in a book, and talk to people about it, it seems easy. But what I'm realizing as I go through this process is Tim means more than just getting connected with all the people you know. I've been working on building my network with people I trust, share passions with, and feel that I can help me and that I can help. And that's the hard part, because the helping them has to come before the helping me.

I'm selfish. There, I'm said it. I want to know what's in it for me.

When adding people into my network, the best way to have them become a part of my network is by first giving of myself in some way...and that takes work. I'm already busy with work, with family, with fixing up the house, and living life in it's hard. But I'm also finding that it's worth it, because it really does generate a return. Recently the people in my network have been sharing new ideas with me, and giving back.

One of the recent examples of this was feedback that was posted on my LinkedIn profile (I was working on my profile this week because of entry on Guy Kawasaki's blog about giving your LinkedIn profile an extreme makeover). As I was making over my profile, I asked two people that I respect to provide a recommendation. Not only did they do it within the same day, but it was a glowing recommendation that I may actually not deserve.

Here are both of them:

Karl and Ken are two people I respect highly, and value their opinion and insight. So these are both recommendations that I am really grateful for.

Yo, Get Networked!

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understanding motivation

I've recently had the topic of motivation on the brain, and figured I'd share my ramblings with the world.

In my corporate tenure I've had the opportunity to work for four different vice presidents, three different CEO's, and held jobs in finance, operations, development, and sales & marketing. I have seen a few different leadership styles (some highly successful and some that were down right worthless), contributed to numerous management meetings on employee motivation, attended seminars on individual and team motivation, and had endless discussions about how the changes in a company can positively and negatively affected employee motivation.

I've held senior management positions where I had 30+ employees and held senior staff positions where I've had no direct employees. Based on these experiences, motivational successes, and motivational failures I've come to what I believe are 5 key points to understanding motivation in the work place. This list is not comprehensive, and should really just be taken as my opinion...insightful as it may be.

have a singular goal
This could be easily misinterpreted as a mission, which is not what I mean in this case. Missions can and do change, and in my experience employees often don't know how to affect the company's mission. A mentor of mine, and at the time CEO, had initiated what he referred to as a Code of Conduct to provide a singular company goal.

  • help each other be right - not wrong
  • look for ways to make new ideas work - not for reasons they won't
  • speak positively about each other and about our organization - at every opportunity
  • seek that which is best for the customer - it is also best for us
  • do everything with enthusiasm - it is truly contagious!

This list of five things created a singular goal that all employees were expected to live by, and were charged with holding each other accountable for. It won't say it made the work place perfect, but we all believed we worked for a great company with bright and motivated people. Regardless of the mission or vision of the company at the time, these five things were constant.

(As a side note, for the six years I worked for this CEO there was only one year that we did not exceed our company revenue objectives.)

know your team
Different people are motivated by different things. Too often a manager will adopt a single motivation tactic as part of their management style, and be unwilling to adapt that style based on an individual team member need. I've also found this style is generally how the manager is best motivated, which is the sure sign of a inexperienced (and usually ineffective) manager. You need to understand each team member and know them personally. To be clear I'm not advocating having a personal relationship with them, but to know about them. What is their spouses name, what are their hobbies, do they have kids, what makes them excited about life outside of work. Being in tune to who a person is helps you relate to how someone thinks and responds, and directly leads to becoming a better motivator.

be nice and compliment
I had a project manager that used to work for me that continually heard me say, "It's easier to attract bees with honey than vinegar." He was a good PM (arguably the most effective I had at the time), but regularly berated people for their incompetence and then refused to ever have them on a project again. To be fare, he praised the people he felt did well, but his negative comments always weighed heavier than his positive ones. A well known motivational tactic is seven positive comments must be made to balance every negative comment. This person had so outweighed his negative comments that co-workers just began to refuse to work with him.

At the point he decided to leave the company, he outlined it was because he felt everyone around him was incompetent at their job. If you think everyone around you is incompetent it is probably time to step back assess why you feel that way by looking at your own interactions with others.

listen (i need to be better at this)
Generally you can understand what motivates someone by just listening, and often you can motivate them by just listening. Epictetus said, "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."

Many a manager (including and often me) have failed to motivate someone because they too quickly came to a conclusion and response before listening. If you "think" you are a good listener, I will challenge you to take a self monitored test. Count how many times per day you know how you are going to respond to a question or comment before the other person has finished speaking. If you are regularly engaged in conversation every day, and do it more than five times you need to work on being a better listener. I probably do this 20 times per day.

be an evangelist
Nothing kills motivation like a leader without motivation. According to wikipedia an evangelist is "an individual that takes up a cause and convinces others to it." Obviously the best example of that, and in the derivation of the word being evangelical, is Jesus Christ.

As a subset definition of what an evangelist is one could also then argue that an important part of understanding motivation is the character traits of the evangelist. Maybe that topic will go rolling around in my head in the near future, and I'll do an entry on the character traits of a leader.

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