Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
Newsletter, June 2009


Welcome to the Clear Thoughts™ newsletter from Uncommon Clarity

In This Issue
  • Free Thoughts - Easy Access
  • Motivation Thoughts - The Fear That Refreshes
  • Book Thoughts - Love My Newsletter?
  • Productivity Thoughts - 10 Tips for Productive Meetings
  • Parting Thoughts - Perspective and Strength

  • Motivation Thoughts - The Fear That Refreshes

    Executives and managers often ask me how to motivate employees, especially in these tough times. They may be considering crazy and gimmicky approaches that others are trying. To shift their thinking, I recommend they consider times when they have lacked motivation. I'll start with an example of my own.

    Running up Red Oak Hill, I find myself turning inward, mentally and physically. My shoulders hunch, chest caves, and feet barely clear the ground as tired thoughts and notions of walking invade.

    Suddenly, I think of the frequently heard coyotes known for stalking the ill, the old, and the wounded. Do I resemble their prey?

    In a blink, I am the young athlete, well, at least comparatively speaking. My shoulders rise, my chin leads, and my knees find a bit of spring. I am no longer the ill, the old, or the wounded! It never fails.

    So you want me to motivate my employees with fear?

    No. That doesn't work. People adjust to fear, otherwise we would all be moving all the time to get away from crime, floods, earthquakes, pollution, wild fires, etc. No, threats don't work. As a matter of fact, sustainable, resourceful motivation can only come from within. However, as a manager, you can enlighten employees so their own self-interest kicks in. It is easy for people to turn inward, think only of themselves and their immediate wants and needs, as I am wont to do running up a steep hill.

    What the coyotes did for me was to break through my self-absorption and make me aware of my surroundings. They made me think about what I needed to do to ensure my own survival.

    Managers can do the same thing:

    • Be sure employees are aware of their surroundings.
    • Be sure they know what they need to do to contribute, survive and succeed.
    Most employees want to do their best to help the company, but the objectives, the specific steps needed to succeed, and the evidence of progress are often lost in the daily chaos. They find themselves running up a steep hill. They turn inward, forget the bigger picture, and think about walking. Worse, they might even turn around and head back down the hill instead. Can you blame them?

    Keep in touch with your employees. Be sure they are aware of the current state of affairs, the priorities, and why it matters. Be sure they understand how they can make a difference. Last, but not least, be sure they can see signs of progress or evidence of their contributions.

    No, you can't motivate others from the outside, but you can tell them about the coyotes and how to differentiate themselves from coyote prey.

    If you would like to discuss motivation further and how to use these ideas in your business, please call 413-527-3737.

    Book Thoughts - Love My Newsletter?
    Clear Thoughts - Pragmatic Gems of Better Business Thinking

    If you love my Clear Thoughts™ newsletter, you will love my book, Clear Thoughts - Pragmatic Gems of Better Business Thinking!

    - All your favorite articles in one convenient volume
    - Quick access to articles you missed
    - Easy sharing with friends and colleagues

    Coming in June!

    Productivity Thoughts - 10 Tips for Productive Meetings

    The most frequently read articles on my website discuss how to make meetings more productive. Here are 10 tips - 5 Dos and 5 Don'ts - to get you thinking about your meetings and how to get more done in less time.

    1. DO know exactly what you need to accomplish. What will be different as a result of this meeting? What decisions will be made? What action plans agreed? What ideas collected? What must participants learn that requires being face-to-face? Effective meetings have clear outcome-based objectives. Most meetings are activity-based at best.
    2. DO invite participants whose presence is needed to shape the outcomes and to whom the outcomes are important.
    3. DO ensure all participants know what preparation is required of them if the meeting is to achieve its objectives.
    4. DO finish on time with clear decisions, specific assignments, list in hand, or confirmation of understanding.
    5. DO squelch diversions firmly, if not humorously, to maintain focus throughout the meeting.

    1. DO NOT assume an agenda guarantees #s 1 - 5. We have all been to bad meetings with an agenda.
    2. DO NOT meet if written communication or a phone call will suffice.
    3. DO NOT meet because it is the 4th Tuesday of the month and you always meet on the 4th Tuesday of the month. See #1.
    4. DO NOT meet so people will feel they were heard and believe they had a say. That is manipulation. See #2.
    5. DO NOT meet as a substitute for self-discipline. Too often meetings are scheduled because no progress will occur without them. There are better accountability mechanisms.

    Parting Thoughts - Perspective and Strength

    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Best regards,

    Ann's Signature

    Ann Latham

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    2009 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.

    Free Thoughts - Easy Access
    Ann Latham

    I've updated my website so you can now more easily find the articles, audio, blog, workshops, speeches, news, and products to help your business. Check it out: uncommonclarity.com.

    Uncommon Clarity helps clients dramatically improve individual and organizational performance. We can help you sharpen your focus and your methods so you achieve your business objectives. But don't take my word for it, read what others have to say.

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