my favorite *Most Influential People* (according to TIME Magazine)

April 26, 2011

Time Magazine has graced their latest May double edition with a synopsis of the world’s most current influential people.  Knowing how much my clients (and I) are always in need of daily inspiration, I thought I would share with you those who stand out the most for me in the hopes that they do the same for you:

“Economist: Esther Duflo“: (As founder of the MIT Poverty Action Lab, she has broken out of the ivory tower to gather real data and see what really works in alleviating poverty. She found that the highly acclaimed micro financing movement is not all it cracked up to be)

School Reformer:Geoffrey Canada” (Watch the documentary ‘Waiting for Superman’ to learn about Canada’s groundbreaking work with the Harlem Children’s Zone)

Law Enforcer: Maria Bashir”:(Afghanistan’s only female prosecutor general defies the odds and the death threats to battle corruption, crime and domestic abuse. On paper her country has robust laws protecting the rights of their women, however in reality they are ignored. Ms. Bashir is committed to closing this gap)

“Television Pioneer: Oprah Winfrey’: (Under Oprah, the OWN Channel is primed to combat the tabloid programming we’ve become accustomed to with smart, enlightened, informative content)

“Air Force Commander: Major General Margaret Woodward”: (Air Force Mjr General Woodward recently ran the opening 11 days of the war against Libya (a groundbreaking mission for a female commander)

Secretary of State: Hilllary Clinton“: (Ms. Clinton deployed her star power in direct contacts with the public overseas, speaking clearly about human rights and freedom of expression on the Internet)

Spokesman For A Revolution: Wael Ghonim” (This Google executive, instigated the call for a peaceful revolution in his native Egypt through social media channels)

“Newark’s Mayor: Cory Booker” (Booker is dedicated to reforming the schools in Newark, NJ and is living in a tiny inner city flat all the while to prove that he is a servant leader).

The First Lady: Michelle Obama”: (Dubbing herself ‘First Mom”, First Lady Obama is primarily focused on combating childhood obesity and improving the health of America’s Kids through her ‘Let’s Move’ exercise program and initiative to improve the quality of food served in schools.)

“Brazil’s President:Dilma Rouseff“: (President Rouseff has stood up to the former military dictatorship of Brazil and is dedicated to building a democratic alternative for development, social equality and women’s rights.)

“Advocate: Cecile Richards“: (Daughter of Ann Richards, Cecile Richards is leading the charge against a comprehensive and radical attack on women’s health and reproductive freedom as the Director of Planned Parenthood)

“Champion of Students: Michelle Rhee”: (Ms. Rhee is singlehandedly going up against the teacher’s union with her Students First advocacy group in the name of improving the lot of the nation’s students. You have my vote Ms. Rhee).

Check out the rest of “The Time 100” profiles and let me know who sticks out the most for you and why. Thank you!

10 Tips To Motivate Your Employees

April 13, 2011

\”Let\’s Get Ready to Rumble\”

Whether you are a seasoned corporate manager, director or a fresh entrepreneur, one of the largest managerial challenges is how to continually motivate your employees.  Of course, you have outlined their responsibilities, clarified and tracked how their performance will be measured, provided rewards for great behavior and clarified the consequences for poor performance.  But what about the day to day ‘corralling’?

Here are tips for motivating your employees from some of my favorite experts, Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger, authors of ‘For Your Improvement’:

1)      Follow the basic rules of INSPIRING OTHERS: Take an interest in your employees beyond their role with your company. Thank them. Provide autonomy in how they do their work. Surprise them with challenging assignments. Adopt a learning attitude towards mistakes. Celebrate successes.

2)     KNOW & PLAY THE MOTIVATION ODDS:  According to research by Rewick and Lawler, the top motivators at work are 1-Job Challenge; 2- Accomplishing something worthwhile; 3-Learning new things; 4-Personal Development; 5- Autonomy (Incidentally ‘Pay’ is #12).  Provide challenges, paint pictures of why this is worthwhile, set up chances to learn and grow.

3)     USE GOALS TO MOTIVATE:  People try hardest when they have somewhere between ½ and a 2/3  chance of success and some control over how they go about it. People are even more motivated when they participate in setting the goals. So, set just out of reach challenges and tasks that will be ‘first time’ accomplishments for your staff.

4)     To UNDERSTAND WHAT DRIVES YOUR PARTICULAR EMPLOYEES, pay attention to: What do they do first? What do they emphasize in their speech? What do they display emotion around? What values play out for them? Figuring out these drivers to inform ways that you can most effectively appeal to them.

5)     DIAL DOWN YOUR JUDGEMENT.  If your employees feel judged by you they are only going to further ‘check out’ from engagement with you. You don’t have to agree with them, you just have to understand why they are not motivated.

6)     SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE. This way you will show respect for their way of thinking and learn more about what motivates them.

7)     BRING THEM INTO YOUR WORLD. Help them understand your challenges, how you think and why, questions you ask, factors you are interested in. This way they will know how to deal with you more effectively.

8)     MOTIVATING IS PERSONAL. Learn three non-work items about all your employees (their hobbies, their family life, etc). Chances are there is at least one thing you have in common which can bond the relationship and allow you to individualize how you motivate.

9)     TURN A NEGAVITVE INTO A MOTIVATOR.  If a person is touchy about something, they may respond to targeted held. If the person responds by clamming up, they may need your help in getting into the mainstream. If they are un-motivated, look for both personal and work causes.

10)  GET THEM INVOLVED DEEPLY IN THE WORK THEY ARE DOING. Delegate and empower as much as you can. Involve them in their goal setting and determining the work process to get there. Solicit their opinions about decisions you need to make for your business. Have them appraise the work of your unit/department/business. Share the successes. Debrief failures together. Use their full skill set.

What else works for you when motivating your employees?