Leading Your Business From A Hospital Bed

I have a client that has recently had a string of bad luck with his health. He has went home with a fever and temperature of over 106 degrees!!! They just can’t seem to find out what is wrong. As I spoke to him in his hospital room I asked him this question, “Is there anything that I can do for you? His answer was simple but profound, “Jeff, just make sure we take care of our customers.”


This simple response comes down to one thing really – his staff. Granted, there is not much he can do right now to change things but what should he be doing all along to make sure his customers are taken care of?


I began to really consider what all business owners could do today in the event they end up in a hospital bed tomorrow? Then it occurred to me – motivation of the staff. Yep, it is so simple; like most great ideas are. But how do you motivate your staff so they give top-notch customer service, care for the business and keep making a profit if you have to be out or away for a while?


Studies have showed that the greatest way to motivate your staff is by showing appreciation (money is way down on the list). The following are six tips to giving sincere appreciation that will motivate your team to soar to higher levels and achieve more:


1.Be Specific – In order to get the same behavior or action again you need to let the employee know exactly what action(s) you are appreciating.


2.Be Timely – Make sure you show appreciation as soon as possible to the action you appreciate. The further the distant in time between the appreciation and the action the less impact it will have to motivate the employee. Always find time to show appreciation, even if you need to drop something else.

3.Be Consistent – being fair with everyone and allow everyone to play on the same “appreciation playing field.”


    • – First, clearly state the rules for appreciation so that everyone understands how it is earned.
      – Second, be consistent when showing appreciation. If one employee does a favorable action and you show appreciation and another employee does the same or similar action and you don’t show appreciation you have just sewn the seeds of bad morale and feelings of favoritism.
      – Third, always be on the lookout for “finding something good” your employees do well. Once you achieve this mindset you will always find the good and increase morale and productivity within your team and organization.
      – Fourth, be pure in your appreciation. If you show appreciation, don’t muddle it with other communication. In other words, don’t show appreciation for one action and then start discussing a potential corrective measure for another action. This sends mixed signals that say to the receiver of this communication, “I don’t want any appreciation because there is always something bad attached to it.” Keep it pure!


4.Be Public, if possible – Appreciation is not something you hide. It works best when done publicly. Show your appreciation in a public way – in meetings, in front of team members, and management. The funny thing is that once you get in the habit of doing this many of your team members will increase the activity they need to take to also earn this public appreciation. In short, people love it!


5.Be Relational – When people are asked the question, “Why do you come to work everyday?,” they usually respond “to get paid” as their first answer. Then as they think about it further it always comes down to “I feel like I make a difference” as the main answer.


6.A critique or written evaluation – You can show appreciation to a person by evaluating his or her on-the-job performance. Also, in a much less formal way, you can show appreciation by simply sending them a hand-written note saying how much you appreciated a particular duty they performed. A good way to do this is to watch for the little things, for instance when they put forth extra effort to make something a success, send a note thanking them for their work, effort, and commitment to excellence.


Hopefully your absence from your business will be a nice long vacation, but regardless of why you may be away the above six ideas will help you create a well appreciated team that will take care of your customers while you are gone.

Jeff Earlywine is a business consultant, corporate trainer and international speaker. He has worked with 300 different organizations over 30 years. His driving, disciplined approach to raising standards of excellence has earned him the nickname “The Bar Raiser!”

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