The Morale Myth|
by David & Lorrie Goldsmith
Why is it that no matter what you do to boost morale, from parties and picnics to pats on the back, you end up with the same short-lived results? You know, everyone's happy for a couple of weeks, then they default to heel dragging and excuse making again? If you're banging your head against the wall looking for new tactics, the only guarantee is a sore head. Here's why. Traditional tactics address symptoms, not causes of low morale. Look to mechanics rather than people when seeking solutions.
Employees want to feel good about the work they output. Most want to excel and see hope for advancements in position and pay. But when they're always swimming against the current, they lose hope. As a leader, your role is to equip employees with the right tools to do their jobs well. Functional equipment and systems breed success and maintain hope. Sometimes management tries to make everyone happy without really addressing what's causing unhappiness to begin with. The mistake is more common than people realize.
Vermont's Sugarbush ski resort suffered low morale at its ski school a couple of seasons ago. When parents came to sign in their children for daily classes, they could expect to wait at least an hour in long, winding-out-the-door lines. Management directed employees to use the lengthy Disney-Magic-Moment approach to greeting customers: how's your stay and how's your life. Overheating under a bazillion layers of ski clothing, sweat-soaked kids whined and wailed about the uncomfortable wait. Tempers flared. Irritated parents and frantic employees clashed, using words so colorful they'd have burned a sailor's ears. To alleviate congestion, management solicited "group think" from employees. Frazzled, the well-meaning workers spit out ideas like expand the size of the facility and buy faster computers. When in doubt, make a bigger place to house even more angry customers…yeah, right. Good intentions, wrong solutions.
One afternoon, some outside help pointed leadership in the right direction. Solutions emerged when simple questions were asked. By late afternoon, management and staff began restructuring procedures. They didn't leave until 2:00 the next morning. Here were the questions they asked:
So what can you do to get started? Here are some places to look:
Copyright David and Lorrie Goldsmith. All Rights Reserved.
David and Lorrie Goldsmith are managing partners of their own consulting group. Their firm offers consulting and speaking services internationally. David was named by Successful Meetings Magazine as one of the "26 Hottest Speakers in the Industry." Jeff Gitomer say’s "David Goldsmith is unique in that he can see a 30,000 feet view of business and then delivers the hand-to-hand tools for combat."
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