The Hunger for More.
In one of my recent leadership roles, I had the opportunity to direct a group of talented salespeople in marketing home window replacements. This diverse workforce came from all different walks of life: single parents providing for their children, college students working to make ends meet, people with multiple jobs, and many other life responsibilities. As a team, they were determined, enthusiastic and remarkably successful.
However, as with most successful teams, there was a small group of individuals whose results frequently eclipsed their peers. They were my top-performers. A clique of competitive salespeople who reveled in their accomplishments. This group of Spartans arrived at the office every day with one motive… WIN! They possessed that intangible characteristic that I like to call “The Hunger for More”. Average results didn't satisfy them. They always wanted more. More opportunities. More promotions. More money. Their appetite for success was insatiable.
Nevertheless, while this attribute is an absolute blessing for any team, it also highlights one of the biggest challenges that many leaders struggle with: How do you get your average and low performers to produce proportionately to your top performers?
In the early years of my career, I spent countless hours on my drives to and from the office conjuring up creative ways to motivate and improve the results of my average and low performers. I’d try this contest, that prize, this theme, that outing. And while most of them provided immediate results via highly productive spurts, I found that they didn’t always sustain the high production that I needed day-in and day-out.
Over time, I realized what I needed to do was create and establish a culture of winning by organically inducing “The Hunger for More” in my people.
While every team is different, here are some of the principles I often use to foster and intensify “The Hunger for More” in each of my teams:
Condemn mediocrity - The idea that one is simply mediocre is enough to motivate, if even briefly, any individual. I often warn people that no one ever progresses or advances in life by putting forth an average effort. When used tactfully and strategically, the implementation of this ideology will effectively set a high expectation for the lowest of performers, while maintaining a positive morale overall.
Promote progress - As a leader, many times it becomes a core responsibility to remind your people that they aren’t at work just because they have to be. It’s imperative for us to help our team members realize that they are there to progress in their personal and professional lives. What do they want to achieve? How can they use their current job as a platform to achieve their dreams? You have to promote the idea of progress, constantly.
Illustrate - People are visual. Talking about results and goals will never be as effective as showing visual proof of performance. Make it a habit to visually display results to your team during your team meetings.
So have you established a culture of winning? Does your team hunger for more? Or are they content with being average?
I don’t know about yours, but my team is starving.
- Luis Jimenez, Managing Partner, Lincoln Barretta Consulting Group LLC