Recently, I had a conversation with a business owner who is in the trades. He is always concerned about how to motivate his workers to produce more. He overheard me talking to a friend about a television program I watched about a hair salon in California. The program featured the dilemma of the man and wife owners who had a declining business and had no idea how to fix it. Paul Mitchell (of the products by his name) came in as a consultant. He worked with them to analyze the problems and set out a plan to correct them.
They began with the mission statement of the company and then arranged to hold a meeting with everyone. (Something new for them.) I watched the faces and body language of the salon's employees. At first, they clearly were disengaged, unhappy and unmotivated. Some comments indicated that not all was going well between the young women.
The improvements began with the rewriting of the mission statement. That step set the course. Simultaneously, several other ideas were implemented: redoing the entry waiting area to be more friendly and welcoming—adding candy, shiny apples and lemon water. Then they worked together to make the product display more inviting so customers could touch them and they did other things to upgrade the salon.
The biggest change came at the next company meeting. The owner was openly tearful in saying how much the business meant to him and how much he appreciated every single person's contribution—something he had neglected to say before. The program shifted to fast forward to show the active things they did. From that point on the employees were involved instead of being bored stiff as they had been before. They began to feel a part of things and took counsel and suggestions to heart.
Within a few days things were on the upswing due to helping the receptionist put some heart into her telphone and greeting skills and implementing many suggestions Paul and his team offered. The turning point really came when the owner let his people know they were such an important part of potential success. I was struck by the power of openly and sincerely recognizing individuals.
The business owner I mentioned at first, someone I know well, listened to all this. When I asked him if he found it easy to recognize his workers he said that if he did that too often they would want more money. "So, do they deserve it?" He smiled, "Well, come to think about it, a pack of beer would do it for one of my guys."
Defensively, he said he does tell them, "Good job..." once in a while. "Them?" you say? I am asking about individual commendation; is that hard for you to give?" The answer seemed obvious; he would find that difficult.
After almost twenty years using handwriting analysis in doing personnel evaluations I am convinced that lack of recognition sours more employees about their job than almost anything else. The evidence of the need for appreciation screams off the page and the unmistakeable evidence that a person has not received it does too. Seems to me if some employees aren't doing a job well enough to deserve some they shouldn't be part of the company.
In the whirl of the day few managers take the time to notice and commend. When I analyze their handwriting they are surprised to hear that about themselves. They are often quick, efficient and productive people but people skills can be weak. Maybe they mistakenly think money is the only way to motivate and they aren't about to offer that.
Do they miss that many other things motivate people: an idea person wants to be heard, a frazzled worker may need the reward of a little time off, a person who loves responsibility craves more things to do as a way of answering a need within, an employee who has the gift of developing others may want to mentor, a resourceful person wants to get to use that gift. Great managers pay attention and get to know their people. The clues as to what motivates a person are identifiable in handwriting and I can be of help in finding them. I am available for hire!
More to come about recognizing people. May it start at home! Stay tuned...