I enjoy putting together contests and incentives that motivate people. When I was Director of Retail at Bose most of them were well received, and people loved the themes and activities.
Well, except once. I ran a themed contest that I thought was pretty good, but it fell flat on its face. It had zero impact on the business. Nada. Nothing.
I started poking around to see what went wrong. The feedback was pretty unanimous. The store's staff found the contest kind of boring and the prizes were insufficient, especially as compared to the previous contest, which had been a home run.
I remember meeting with my boss and complaining how unappreciative the store employees were. Maybe the contest wasn't as exciting as the previous one, but it was still better than nothing. I mean, come on people! It’s free stuff to do your job.
What he told me next has stuck with me ever since. He explained that every time I did something new and different for the staff, I created a new level of expectation. Maybe I didn't like it, but he said it is human nature that we reset our expectations based on our life experiences.
He used this example.
Say you're used to staying in a Motel 6. It's okay, but not great. But once you start staying in a Marriott Courtyard, the Motel 6 is no longer okay. It's a step down. The Marriott Courtyard is perfectly fine – until you stay at the Ritz. Now the Courtyard is no longer as nice as it was before because you have new and higher expectations. You will probably stay at the Courtyard again, but it's definitely not the Ritz.
He went on to say that as a leader I had to keep executing at a higher level in order to meet and (we hope) exceed the staff's new level of expectations. That if I was asking more of the staff, I had to first ask more of myself. I had to be better.
Even if I couldn't always increase the level of prizes, I could make the incentives and contests more engaging and fun than the previous one. If I wanted higher results, I had to create an even better employee experience.
Think about this as some of you are running a Valentine’s Day contest, or working on an incentive for a spring launch. Many of your employees have been through those before. Your role as a leader is to make everything you launch for your staff even better than before.
Here’s the bottom line. Your staff will always have new levels of expectations, and if you're going to be successful you have to rise above them to inspire and motivate them accordingly. It’s not that they aren’t appreciative. It just means you’ve done your job so well they now expect more. You just need to do it again.
So let me ask, what will you do to make your next initiative or incentive even more successful? If you want higher results than last year, YOU have to execute even better than before.
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About Doug Fleener
Doug Fleener, a proven business and customer service experience expert and speaker/consultant, helps companies achieve performance that exceeds customer and employee expectations resulting in more sales, profits, and customers.
Learn more about our services at Sixth Star Consulting, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you achieve higher levels of performance and results. Learn about Doug's keynotes and workshops at DougFleener.com.