Praise can be as powerful as a raise.

“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free and worth a fortune.” – Sam Walton

As the year winds down and we (hopefully) put the worst of the recession behind us, it’s a perfect time to gather your team and thank them. After all, while you count on them to pull together and help build your small business in good times and bad, they look to you for motivation, inspiration, appreciation and guidance.

Management theorist and bestselling author Jim Champy says a key to building a business is engaging everyone in the endeavour:

“The inspiration for a company starts at the top, but good leadership drives that inspiration deep into the company by engaging people broadly in decision-making.”

Terry Barber, known within the nonprofit community as the Chief Inspiration Officer, offers seven principles for inspiring your employees; among them:

clip_image002 Terry Barber

· Authenticity: Share with the people in your organization where you are weak. Verbally express just how much you need them.

· Connect with others’ dreams: Use these difficult times to uncover the latent dreams and ambitions of your key talent. Tell them you are more committed than ever to helping them get to where they want to go.

· Inspire with great stories: The emphasis here is looking for and telling stories that have a lesson…What can you glean from the story of one who has gone from rags to riches or better yet, from riches to rags?

· Help people to live on purpose: Help people write down a vision statement for their life first and then for their job.

· Create a culture of inspiration: Become teachers committed to excellence and character development. Chasing numbers and making decisions by looking only at the bottom line causes us to be reactive and impulsive.

Barber concludes: “A company with a high inspiration factor attracts and keeps good talent and its employees forge long-term profitable relationships with customers.”

More inspiration talk from Barber here.

How do you motivate your team? What’s your message to them for the new year?

By Adam

December 28, 2009