Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Step Ahead: Get 110% Out of Every Employee

How to Get All Your Employees to Work Harder and More Efficiently and Devote 110% of Their Energy to Your Business
By Rich Schefren

As a business owner, it's easy for you to approach each new day with a sense of purpose. (At least, it should be!)

That's because you're building something of value; an asset; something that will become bigger than you are.

But have you ever thought about your employees? When they arrive at work each day, what - other than a paycheck - do they have to look forward to?

Fact #1 - The overwhelming majority of employees do not give their work 100% each day. That's not because they're bad people or lazy... It's simply because they aren't motivated to do their best each and every day.

Fact #2 - By giving your employees a bigger purpose... A better reason to contribute... A compelling reason to give their work everything they've got each day... You give your business a huge advantage over every other business you will ever compete with.

You see, at the end of the day, work and career can and should be much more than receiving money for services rendered. It's about feeling fulfilled; feeling good; knowing that you're making a difference, that what you do matters.

Everyone on this planet - including your employees - wants to feel that she's a part of something bigger than herself. That at the end of the day she did more than simply put in her time. It's much more fun and meaningful to be part of something big.

That's where your Core Myth comes in.

Your Core Myth is a story that defines what your business is all about. It's a story of passion, motivation, and the overcoming of obstacles. It's the narrative of what sets your business apart from all the rest. In other words it shows what makes your business unique and what differentiates it from the rest of your market.

This story takes on the role of a legend in the hearts and minds of your customers and employees. It clarifies the meaning and significance of the work being done inside your business. And it shows how your purpose and promise affects the daily lives of your team members.

Best of all, your Core Myth gives everyone who associates with your business a rallying cry that screams "This Business Is Different!"

It is THE story behind all the beliefs you want to reside in the minds of your team, customers, and marketplace.

Once you've completed your Core Myth, you'll want to expose it to as many people as possible, as frequently as possible, in as many different places as possible.

The first group of people you'll want to indoctrinate with your Core Myth is your business team.

Getting Your Core Myth into the Minds and Hearts of Your Team

This is your chance to turn your business into a big, worthwhile cause that your team can take on. Giving them purpose, meaning, and a greater sense of self... while creating a team that'll go the distance and invest every last ounce of effort they have in seeing your business succeed.

You can achieve this by giving your employees multiple exposures to your Core Myth. It's "spaced-repetition" that will drive the story and the beliefs deeper and deeper into the psyche of your team members.

I'll explain the easiest approach to achieve these multiple exposures in a moment. Keep in mind that your approach will be different for current and future team members.

First, let's cover how best to introduce your Core Myth to your team...

Get Current Team Members on the Same Page

The best way to roll out your Core Myth with your team is to call a meeting. Hand it out and tell everyone you wanted to tell them the story of how your business came into being.

Explain that the Core Myth is important:

* in order for your business to grow and have the impact you know it can have...
* to confirm the importance of the work your business is doing...
* and to recommit to the values and the mission of what your business was originally formed to accomplish.

Arrange for a follow-up meeting a few days later. Ask everyone to have read your Core Myth by then and to come to the meeting with critiques on how it can be improved.

After that meeting, arrange a follow-up meeting for several days after you've completed the revised edition. Tell them to read it again and come to this meeting with a minimum of three ideas for how to share it with your customers.

Remember the goal here is spaced repetition. So the more ways you can have them read and review it, the more powerful it will be.

Now that you've exposed your team to your Core Myth, you need to activate those beliefs.

Activation occurs when you get your team members fully engaged in the Core Myth. This is achieved by having them either create derivative works of the Core Myth, or centering contests on it.

Activation Through Engagement

While the possibilities are endless, for both contests and derivatives, these should get you started...


Derivative works are creations based on your Core Myth. Basically they could be anything. But in order for your business to extract the maximum value, it's best to have the derivative work done in the staff member's area of specialty.

For example...

* Copywriters could write a more compelling version of your Core Myth...
* Graphic designers could create a visual for the cover, add visuals to the story, or turn your entire Core Myth into a comic book...
* SEO specialists could pick the best keywords for the Core Myth and then create and optimize pages to offer it as a download...
* Customer support staff could create clever sound bites to share elements of the Core Myth with customers...
* A/V experts could turn your Core Myth into a video series...
* HTML pros could create special pages and break up the core myth on those pages to best engage site visitors...

The sky is the limit!


1. Write their stories - Have each team member write the story of what led him to your business. Tell him to study your story a few times.
2. Spreading the message - Have each team member submit three unique ideas on how best to get your Core Myth out into the marketplace. Then have the entire team vote on which idea is the best one, award a prize, and then have the entire team execute the winning submission.
3. The best title - Have each team member come up with a title for your Core Myth. Since a book's sales are often determined by its title, have each team member pretend she's a big shot publisher and she needs to come up with a title for your Core Myth that'll spark sales. Then give a prize to the winner.
4. The annual award - Schedule a team meeting. Have everyone review your Core Myth the day before the meeting. Then collectively determine criteria for an annual award for the team member that best exemplifies the spirit of your Core Myth. Then once a year, have everyone cast by secret ballot who they believe should win.
5. The best derivative work - Give each team member the assignment of creating a derivative work based on their skill set and then have the entire team vote on the winner.

The whole purpose of these contests and derivatives is to drive engagement by having your team study your Core Myth carefully enough to thoughtfully apply it in some other capacity.

Indoctrinate New Team Members at the Jump

When your Core Myth is in place, it can serve as powerful tool to get new employees started on the right foot with your company. Remember, it's a primary need of all human beings to want to belong to something bigger than ourselves. So, you can convey that working for your company is a chance to belong, a chance to make a difference, and a chance to really matter.

Here's one "spaced repetition" approach to exposing your new employees to your Core Myth.

Step #1 - Send your Core Myth to all job applicants with a cover letter stating that your business is a special place with a special objective. Ask them to read it - and email back their thoughts.

Step #2 - If they've passed the application process, ask them to read it again before you interview them because you'll want to ask them a few questions about it.

Step #3 - Have new employees read the Core Myth again on their first day. Afterward, have a meeting with them to discuss what they've learned about your business's purpose, promise, and values. Then ask them to take the next two weeks (during the course of their day-to-day activities) to spot any opportunities the business has to better live up to them.

Step #4 - Two weeks later, have a follow-up meeting to discuss any areas of the business that could be tweaked to better align with the Core Myth. End the meeting with another assignment: Ask the employee to come up with at least three ideas over the following two weeks for how the company could get more customers and prospects to know the Core Myth. Arrange another meeting two weeks later.

Step #5 - Two weeks later, meet with the employee again to discuss his ideas. If any of the ideas show potential, execute them. If none of them do, explain why.

After that, plug the new employee into the normal activities you are doing with the rest of your team to keep your Core Myth alive.

Getting Your Employees on Board to Help Your Business Grow

By getting team members to interact with your Core Myth and make parts of it their own, they'll personalize it... And it will have greater meaning for them in their professional and personal lives.

Indoctrinating your employees with your Core Myth will help everyone who works in you form a deep bond with your business. Not only will they believe fully in what your business is doing... They will derive great purpose and fulfillment from their jobs... They'll work harder and more efficiently... And they'll help your business grow into a successful company that you can be immensely proud of.

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