I recently read this article by Fred Bauer    

So how do they teach Shamu to jump out of the water to the delight of the fans? If you have read Whale Done, by Ken Blanchard et al, you’d know that you can’t use a choker collar or negative reinforcement to get a killer whale to do anything. Is that kind of like your TEAM members? The ones that can’t get in at the beginning of the day and leave at the stroke of 5 p.m.?

One of my clients had the same experience. No matter how many different office staff he hired, no matter how many sales people he hired, the same thing happened. They came, they underachieved, and either he fired them or they quit. It quickly became apparent that there was one common denominator, my client. As I observed him, it became apparent that he only interacted with the staff when they did something wrong. The staff dreaded my client. When he was out of town on a trip, things seemed to get done. When he was in the office, there seemed to be constant strife. It seemed that every coaching call started with a complaint about this employee or that employee. Many of the things that concerned my client had nothing to do with the mission of the company. They were petty things.

I started asking my client “so what?” As he heard me constantly asking him “so what?” he got the idea that he was focused on the wrong thing. When he wanted to fire someone I asked him what the cost was, and what was the return on this investment. Slowly it appears that the environment is changing. We are now focused on figuring out what the staff is doing well. Our focus now is on finding the staff doing something well. In addition we ignore the “bad” behavior. If people come in late (a pet peeve of my client) we ignore it. When they come in on time we thank them for being there to give us the best opportunity to have a productive day.

Like whales, people respond to the reinforcement that they get. If they know that the boss will pay attention when they step out of line, they’ll step out of line to get attention. Now I can hear you thinking, that’s fine for children, but this is my business, I shouldn’t have to be the parent at work. As the business owner you have as much responsibility to lead your team as you do to lead your family. The use of positive reinforcement at home, in school, and in business, will make you happier with the results that you get in each environment.

Likes attract. In nature positive energy gravitates to positive energy. If you create positive energy in your business it will be more difficult for your team members to be negative. If you greet team members with a positive message when they start their day it will create positive energy in the office. This will make the workplace both more pleasant and more productive. The next time you get ready to “lower the boom” on someone, ask yourself why? What is the real impact of your negative energy? What will you get back? If you choose to fire them, isn’t that a reflection on your ability to hire the right people?

For more pointers on how to improve the effectiveness of your TEAM, contact Time Retrievers. They have experience in helping you:

  • Hire the right people
  • Motivate people
  • Create a TEAM environment where Together Everyone Achieves More.

Have a great week,