Building morale and staying motivated
In this tough economy (at least in the eyes of the media!) how do you keep morale high?
The first thing you have to realize is that attitude is key. It is tough out there, but there is still opportunity all around us. I like the story of the two hikers in the woods who come across the grizzly bear. The bear is about to charge them when one of the hikers bends down to tie his shoes. The other hiker asks him why he is doing that and the hiker replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!” Our economy is like this. Our competition and our customers are facing the same issues. The world is thirsty for positive people with real solutions who really care about others. This is the perfect time to be a difference maker in the lives of your customers; even if they delay purchasing, they will remember the friend on the phone when the time comes to purchase again. This approach is so logical, yet so few people do it that if you do it, you will stand out.
The second thing is to really build an atmosphere of open communication in your office. Everybody already knows sales are down and margins are tight. Brainstorming together on how to decrease overhead without cutting payroll and on how to generate more sales is always a plus. Most people, especially the right people, do not want to find another job. If they know their opinions really count and they feel like everyone is being upfront and honest, they will usually dig in and work harder and maintain a better attitude. Plus, a few strong leaders from the team who stand up and say it’s time for a “can do” attitude and not a “whining” attitude will really help leadership keep the attitude up. Take the oldest excuse in the book, “management never listens to us,” and turn it into the reason people stay longer and work harder.
Third, have regular (once or more a week) team building meetings that are short; have a motivational theme, recognize people going the extra mile, give a status report of your progress, and give people one specific idea or skill they can implement right away to be more effective. Communication, Communication, Communication.