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"Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe." —Oprah Winfrey
In my sales and marketing classes, I often ask the participants, "What percentage of human decision making is rational and what percentage is emotional?"
Most people answer "80/20" or "90/10." I then complete the exercise by pointing out that people are 100 percent emotional. Human beings, including yourself, decide emotionally and then justify logically. We make emotional decisions instantaneously, sometimes with a single glance or a single piece of information, and then we often spend several hours or months underpinning our emotional decision with logical justifications.
I then ask, "What is the basic emotional drive behind all human action and behavior?"
After a few random answers such as "money," or "fear of loss," "desire for gain," or even "love," everyone finally agrees that the most powerful single motivator is the "desire to be happy."
Aristotle talked about this in his work Nichomachean Ethics. He said that behind every human motive there is a further motive until you finally arrive at the basic motive for everything, and that is to be happy.
The reason that people buy things is that they feel that they will be happier after buying the item than they were before. People buy in anticipation of how they think they will feel as the result of the buying decision. The goal of the salesperson or marketer is to sell "hope." It is the hope of greater happiness rather than lesser happiness that causes every human action, including buying decisions.
The most important question in business is: "If the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer, what is the most important goal you must achieve with each customer if you want the person to buy and buy again?"
And the answer is simple: Make the customer happy that he did business with you. Make the customer happier doing business with you, from the beginning of the buying experience through to the customer service experience afterward, than he would be if he had bought from someone else. Happiness is the key.
The logical extension of this line of questioning for managers is: "How do you get the best out of each person who reports to you?"
How do you get people to willingly contribute their highest levels of physical, emotional, and mental energies to you, and to do their jobs in the very best way possible? How do you get people to be committed, loyal, and dedicated to you and the company? How do you get people to work together harmoniously and continually seek ways to do their jobs better and faster, and at lower cost?
And the answer is, Make them feel happy. Organize the work, from the first step in the hiring process through to the final step in the retirement ceremony, so that people are happy with you, their work, their coworkers, as well as in their interactions with your customers, suppliers, and vendors, and in everything they do that has an effect on your company.
Throughout the centuries, wise men, researchers, and scientists of all kinds have sought a "unified field theory," a single umbrellalike principle that explains all other principles. Einstein's formulation of the general theory of relativity (E mc2) was the breakthrough theory that superseded Newtonian physics at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it is still being applied and expanded upon today as others continue the search for the unified field theory of physics.
In the area of management and motivation, "make them feel happy" is the unified field theory, the principle that explains all other principles.
Practicing Golden Rule Management
Fortunately, "make them feel happy" is both simple and easy to do. All that is necessary is for you to practice the Golden Rule in all of your actions: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It has been said that there are many ideas for improving human relations that have been discovered over the centuries, but nothing has yet been discovered that is superior to this simple principle. In fact, it is the underlying principle or rule of most of the world's great religions.
The challenge has nothing to do with not knowing what to do to make people feel happy at their work. Everyone knows exactly what to do. The problem is that we either forget to do those things that make people happy, neglect to do them because we are distracted by other things, refuse to do them because we don't understand their importance, or, worst of all, do things that actually make people unhappy and then justify our behavior with self-righteous excuses and rationalizations.
The starting point is learning why and how people think and act the way they do. Then you will understand how to get your people fully engaged in their jobs and how to get the most important results that your business depends upon for success in an increasingly competitive marketplace. You will also learn how your own personality has developed to this day, how to create a peak performance workplace, how to practice "motivational management," and how to get the very most and best out of yourself in everything you do.
A Crash Course in Happiness
Because you are reading this book, you are probably overwhelmed with having too much to do in too little time. Many readers of business books seldom get past the first chapter. For that reason, I am going to give you a "crash course" in this first chapter in making people happy so that they perform at their best.
Here are twenty-five ideas, not necessarily in order, that you can apply to create a peak performance work environment and to ensure that each person makes a maximum contribution to your company. In the pages ahead, I will expand on these ideas and go into some of them in greater depth. But here is where you can start, right now:
1. Smile. When you see someone for the first time each day, smile at that person. Look people square in the face, pause, and smile, making it clear that you are happy to see them. It takes just 13 muscles to smile and 112 muscles to frown. So it is much easier to smile at people when you see them each day. And it makes them happy.
2. Ask people questions. Talk to them; ask them questions about how they are feeling today and how everything is going. When you express a genuine interest in other people, it makes them feel valuable, respected, and important. They'll feel good inside and want to please you by doing a good job.
3. Listen to them. Listen attentively when people talk to you. When you listen to people closely, without interruption, it makes them feel valuable and important. It raises their self-esteem. Being intensely listened to by the boss actually releases endorphins in people's brains, which causes them to feel happier and better about themselves. When you listen, nod, smile, and watch the person's face intently. Show that you are treating the person as though what she is saying is of great interest and importance to you. Active listening only takes a few moments each day, but it has a powerful, positive effect on how other people do their jobs.
4. Be polite. Always be polite, courteous, and respectful when you talk with your staff members. Treat them as if they are talented, intelligent, and accomplished. Lean forward and face them directly, as if there is nothing else in the world that you would rather do than interact with them at this moment.
5. Say "thank you." For everything they do, small or large, thank people. Thank them for being at the meeting on time, for completing an assignment, for giving you a piece of information, and for any other thing that they do that is part of their job. When you express appreciation toward other people, thanking them for something they have done or said, you make them feel more valuable and important. Because your words have a powerful impact on their thoughts, feelings, and behavior, when you thank people, you make them feel happier about themselves and their work.
6. Keep people informed. Keep them fully informed about the company, the business, and especially anything that is going on that may have an impact on their work or their security in their job. The most satisfied employees in every organization report that they feel that they are insiders, that they are "in the know," and that they are aware of everything that is going on around them that affects them or their work in any way.
It helps to practice an open-door policy. Tell people that there are "no secrets" and that if anyone ever has any questions about anything that is going on inside or outside the business, they are free to ask and their questions will be answered.
7. Encourage improvement. Encourage people to come up with ideas to do their jobs better or to improve the company in any way possible. The Japanese rebuilt their economy after World War II with the kaizen system, which stands for "continuous betterment." They encouraged every person, at every level, to look for small and large improvements that they could make in their "line of sight."
You should do the same. When someone comes up with an idea, no matter what you might think of it initially, encourage the person to try it out on a small scale to see if it works. The more ideas you encourage, the more ideas you are going to get. And when people are encouraged to use their creativity to do their job better, they feel much happier about themselves and the company.
8. Treat your employees like volunteers. Treat them as if they were working for free. Imagine that each member of your staff is a talented, accomplished person who could work anywhere she wants but has chosen to work for you because she likes you and the company.
In nonprofit organizations, where almost everyone is a volunteer, each person who comes to help out in organizational activities is treated with tremendous respect because the managers want those people to come back and help out in the future. When you treat your staff as if they were unpaid volunteers, donating their time to help you and the business because they like you and enjoy what they are doing, you will treat them better. This will cause them to feel much happier about coming to work and doing their jobs.
9. Imagine your employees as million-dollar customers. Think about how your personality changes when you hear the voice of one of your important customers on the phone. You instantly become warm, friendly, charming, attentive, and respective. You are on your very best behavior. No matter what the customer says, you remain thoughtful, patient, friendly, and agreeable.
Now, imagine that each of your employees is in a position to influence a million-dollar purchase of your products or services in some way. When you treat each of your staff members the same way you would treat one of your most valuable customers, it has an enormous positive effect on them and makes them feel very good about themselves and about working for you.
10. Pay people well. Reward them fairly and pay them well for the contribution they make. Although money itself is not a major motivator, being paid less than a person is actually worth is a major demotivator.
The fact is that all good people are free, since good people contribute more value to the company than they cost in salaries and benefits. Companies can only grow to the degree to which they can attract and keep excellent people whose work continually increases the bottom line.
When you consider that longer-term employees have built up an enormous stock of intellectual capital about your company, the job they do and how to do it well, and the various people that they work with both inside and outside the company, you become aware of how difficult and expensive it is to replace good people.
When in doubt, pay people more rather than less. Offer to increase their pay instead of waiting for them to come to you and ask for a raise. Tell them how much you value their work and their contribution and back it up financially. This way you'll make people feel valuable and important, and more loyal to you and the business.
11. Compliment people. Take time to admire their possessions, appearance, and qualities or traits. Everyone likes a compliment. You can compliment someone on an article of clothing, a new purse or briefcase, or even a haircut or change in hairstyle. In addition, you can compliment people on their qualities or traits. "You are very persistent," or "You always do an excellent job."
People invest a lot of time and emotion in their personal appearance, their homes, their cars, their accomplishments, and their behaviors. When you take a minute to notice and comment positively on any one of these areas, you make people feel valuable and special and happier about themselves and what they are doing.
12. Assure harmony. You want your people working with other positive, competent people. One of your most important jobs as the leader is to make sure that everyone is working in a positive climate of harmony and happiness.
One negative or difficult person can poison the entire work environment. Your job is to make sure that people are happy when they work with their coworkers, and to take whatever steps are necessary to encourage negative, difficult people to go and work somewhere else.
13. Praise them regularly. Give your employees praise and approval for every accomplishment, both large and small. One of the definitions of self-esteem is the degree to which a person feels "praiseworthy."
Whenever you praise other people for anything, you immediately raise their self-esteem and make them feel more valuable and important. When people feel good about themselves because of your praise, they become internally motivated to repeat the behavior or performance that earned your praise in the first place. As a result, they do more and more important things, and get better and better at them each time.
The rules for praise are simple: First, praise immediately. Praise people right after they have done something worthwhile or completed a task. The faster the praise, the greater its impact.
Second, praise specifically. Mention the exact job or accomplishment that the person has completed and talk about the specific measure or task that has been done so well. The more specific your praise, the easier it is for people to repeat that behavior in the future.
Third, praise publicly whenever possible. Whenever you praise a person in front of one or more other people, the power of the praise in influencing her behavior is multiplied by the number of people who hear the praise.
All good managers continually seek out opportunities and places to praise people in front of others for their accomplishments. This is something only the manager can do, and when done consistently and well, it makes people feel terrific about themselves and about working for you.
14. Don't criticize. Refuse to criticize, condemn, or complain about anyone or anything within earshot of your staff. Negativity of any kind, no matter how justified, demoralizes people and makes them feel insecure and unhappy.
If you have a problem, keep it to yourself. If you have a difficult situation, you can explain to others what has happened objectively and unemotionally. Then, ask if anyone has any ideas on steps or actions that you could take to solve the problem or resolve the difficulty.
There is nothing wrong with having problems, difficulties, obstacles, setbacks, and adversity in the world of work. They happen every single day. The only real question is how you respond to these challenges. Resolve that no matter what happens, you will focus on the future and on the solution. You will concentrate on what can be done now, rather than what has happened in the past. You will keep yourself, and everyone else, thinking about creative ways to overcome obstacles and achieve goals.
Excerpted from FULL ENGAGEMENT! by Brian Tracy Copyright © 2011 by Brian Tracy. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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