After reading ‘Shine’, ‘Drive’ and an assortment of other books recently, about commissions and motivation for my white paper, I have come to some interesting theories, some of them more general and some on the subject of motivation.
My first observation is that in order to write a book, or have an opinion on employee motivation and commissions you must be part of academia and have never held a professional career in your life(outside of being a writer or teacher). Also, god forbid, you ever ran a company or a sales organization.
Second thought is that some people are in general are ridiculous. They are reluctant to do some work, they need to be coddled constantly and ironically want to be paid like they are the best in breed.
Final general thought provoked by my reading fest is, that you should do your best to find the right kind of people for your company. To do this you need to ask the right mix of questions, work out compensation you should give, and then add some type of voodoo that only the best companies can bottle (which is why they are heralded as the best companies).
So, moving on to the topic of motivation of people as we are all so different probably explains why theories are such a mixed bag. It differs by job role, generation, sex and a few other factors. So are there some common things that motivate us all? I would say yes. Firstly fear motivates everyone to a certain degree, which must be pointed out.
Looking to the positive things, the warm fuzzy stuff. My summary from all this reading, is that we all like to hear we’re doing a good job every once in a while. Not in a condescending way, but a true recognition of worth. Honestly, when is the last time you told someone on your team they are doing well, with some true thought into how they are actually helping the company? As a leader, you should sit and review every once in a while the performance of your team, while sitting in their shoes. That way you can truly empathize with them, and not give shallow praise.
After praise, it is not perhaps so clear cut to find the common factors, but nearly all people do like training and compensation.
Of course, all attempts to motivate rely on knowing that you have the right person for your company and the job. So in advance of any hiring you need to identify what sort of person you need. If you have a complex sale, you’re most likely better off with someone who enjoys training and recognition. Coin operated people in a complex sale will have problems working in a team (bringing down the team).
Looking toward a wider motivating impact of getting the right person I recall my experience running sales organizations. There was nothing was worse for motivation than the egotistical, controlling sales person, who would constantly try to cannibalize a deal, knowing well that they were not a good fit to sell it, and not bringing the right people in. That person demotivates everyone, management included. Being a straight talking guy I say, fire them immediately and watch morale and motivation go up.
What about an immediate pick up? If you’re a quick sale organization, nothing is better than having a bit of fun. Seriously having your sales team sign songs and do frivolous things at the beginning of the day can really work. I say this, because my first sales job in insurance, we would get up and sing “If you’re happy and you know it”. That was incredibly motivational.
More formally, in such an environment ,the most motivation I saw in those first few jobs in sales came from spiff’s. Creative team spiffs were incredibly fun, got everyone together and created a team feeling. This of course was quick sales and not complex.
As a parting shot I encourage you to talk to your people. Simply ask them what will make them perform better – I feel sure this will be time well spent.
- On June 23, 2016