You’ve all heard of Jack “Papa Jack” Welch—the infamous CEO of GE who increased the value of the company by 4000% between 1981 and 2001. In order to accomplish such a remarkable turnaround, Papa Jack had to completely re-think the management strategy at GE and find cost-effective methods to motivate his entire staff toward becoming #1 in the industry. He is now the Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, and recently went public about his four favorite motivational tools with this blog post he co-authored with Suzy Welch – Four Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Your Employees, And Dinner With You Isn’t One of Them.
“When an individual or a team does something notable, make a big deal of it. Announce it publicly, talk about it at every opportunity. Hand out awards. Plaques gather dust. Checks can be cashed. And employees know the difference in their bones.”
“Celebrating victories along the way is an amazingly effective way to keep people engaged on the whole journey. And we’re not talking about celebrating just the big wins. We mean marking milestones such as an important order or a new way to increase productivity… They’re really just another form of recognition, but with more fun involved. Like rolling out a surprise keg one afternoon, tickets to a ball game, or sending a couple of high performers and their families to Disney World. Whatever turns their crank.”
3) A Clear Mission
“To move forward, a team has to understand and buy into where it’s going. It needs a collective sense of purpose. And that’s exactly what a great mission gives you, a bold, inspirational creed. A mission allows bosses to say: ‘There’s the hill, let’s take it together.’ Now, that’s motivation.”
4) Balancing Achievement and Challenge
“Yes, many great leaders have it, but for the less seasoned, it’s hard to get just right… People are motivated when they feel as if they are at the top of the mountain and as if they are still climbing it. Simply put, bosses who create jobs with just the right push-and-pull have a real competitive advantage.”
Papa Jack concluded with a parable on the power of money, which he sees more as a way of keeping score with coworkers, not a true motivator: “…very few good people will stay in a job just for the payback. They also need to feel that they matter and that what they do for eight hours a day or more means something.” Preach on, Papa Jack. Preach on.