Use tiny videos to inspire, cheer and improve performance or productivity

I’ve written a lot about how emotions affect productivity and performance. I think most of us know intuitively that people who are upset or unhappy don’t perform as well as they do when feeling up to par. It follows that anything you can do to help them feel better will help them to behave better.

One of the things I’ve done on a personal basis is send little, inexpensive gifts, print greeting cards, emails and e-cards (including video e-cards) to friends, colleagues and family who need a bit of cheering up. And, I’ve often recommended that my readers do the same with friends, family, co-workers, employees, etc.

Recently, I decided that if the little “cheer-me-up” or inspirational or funny videos I”ve been making and sending along to friends were so helpful, it might be a good thing to put some on YouTube and let others use them in their own emails. Or let people use them in their own websites, if the material is relevant.

Here’s one that I just made yesterday. You can get it from YouTube and use it personally for people you know, you can embed it in your site if you like, or you could use it as an idea for making your own.

You can get it from YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bYGTekbMAE.

But don’t wait for me to make more. Make some yourself. Start spreading around some fun and cheer with tiny — 30 seconds to a minute duration — cheering, uplifting, inspirational or funny videos.

(Why so short? Because folks who are feeling low don’t have the patience and attention for long messages.)

If you don’t have the time or know-how to make your own, you can search YouTube for more short videos that others have already uploaded. Videos they allow you to embed, download or email. The main idea is simply that you want to send something short that makes your recipient smile. Something encouraging, stimulating or hopeful.

Performance Management Issues: Motivation By Incentives

herding catsSometimes I get a little tired of listening to the latest management consultant fads. One that annoys me considerably is the idea that motivating behavior by incentives is somehow grubby and meant only for lower level workers. That more sophisticated employees need to have more trust, freedom, flexibility and recognition. That motivating them is much more complicated.

Oh bosh. First of all, trust, freedom, flexibility and recognition are incentives. And they’re given to employees who’ve shown they deserve them. And they’re not necessarily the highest level employees. Sometimes they’re the janitors.

Motivation by incentive (reward) — is the most common form of motivation in history. No matter how many motivation theories we try to wrap our brains around, the fact remains that rewards get people to do things. And always have.

The right rewards at the right times even get people to do things they’d prefer not to do.

You’ve probably read about how complicated motivation can be. About how rewards stop working after a certain point. And that’s true. Every individual has an “enough” line. A point where no practical reward is enough to get him to do what you want him to do.

But for most practical purposes, for most tasks, for most people, you will do quite well in finding incentives that get folks to do what you want. Or to get yourself to do what you want, need or should.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is often cited as a reason that the old carrot and stick system doesn’t work once someone achieves a certain level of development. We’re often told that incentives are good when we’re focused on basic needs at the bottom of the hierarchy but that motivation becomes more complicated as lower needs are satisfied. Supposedly we won’t work for the same incentives, but require more freedom of choice in tasks for self-actualization.

That is a misunderstanding of Maslow’s very helpful instrument. We don’t stop having to satisfy our basic needs — ever. And even when we are working hard to survive, we still want to be moral beings leading lives of meaning and purpose. For adults, all the needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are in play, to different degrees, all the time.

That means that no matter how sophisticated you are, no matter how much money you have, no matter how many friends, family members or supporters you have, no matter how creative and accomplished you are — you still have plenty of needs to be met and you still respond to incentives and disincentives. (Rewards and punishments.)

So, while — as the latest tribe of management consultants tell you — money isn’t the only incentive that people need to work well, it’s still right up there at the top level. As are recognition, freedom, flexibility and creativity.

Also remember, when employees are failing in their work performance, there are numberless possible outside causes. Like family relationships or personal health.

Continue to think in terms of incentives. Continue to call them incentives or rewards. You don’t have to learn motivational psychology. All the old stuff still works. And when any particular incentive isn’t working for an employee you want to keep, you might just want to actually ask what’s going on. Maybe it’s something you can help with by giving different rewards. Maybe it’s something you can’t help with because it has nothing to do with you or his work.

Investigate, discuss, determine the problem. Just like you do with other management problems. And then, if it’s something in your power to deal with, create the proper incentive.

Motivation, creating iOS and Android Apps, and creating better content

Time for a serious update on articles published on the static part of the site:

(In reverse order by date of publication):

1. “The Motivational Manager’s Toolbox — Motivational Listening.” This is a first article in my new series for managers and small business owners who have employees. It’s called the Motivational Manager’s Toolbox. I describe what Carl Rogers and others call “active listening” as “motivational listening.” I think that many folks don’t understand the value and power of active listening in management until they get the idea that using it is one of the most motivational practices in the manager’s toolbox.

2. “Creating Products — Make iOS and Android Apps With Drag-and-Drops Ease.” How many people want to create apps for iPhone, iPad and Android phones/tablets? Without having to program? Without having to hire a programmer? Perhaps you’d like to make some iOS or web games? Here are two free products that will help you do that with a visual interface and a lot of drag-and-drop components. There’s still plenty of learning you’ll have to do. But there are a lot of free tutorials.

3. “First You Have To Feel Good — A Key To Performance Motivation.” Too many people think that motivation is about the reward you’ll get after you do what they want you to do. And it’s true that reward is part of motivation. But there’s a lot more. Motivation is about feeling. You have to feel up to getting started and you have to feel good enough to get through to the end of the task. Sure, you know that you have to feel physically well enough. But you also have to feel good enough emotionally.

4. “Productivity Top 10 Websites.” Like the title says, my 10 favorite websites/blogs related to productivity and performance.

5. “Create Better Content — Keep It Short.” Here’s a principle I flagrantly violate almost every day. Make your content easy and quick to scan. Don’t do as I do and write 700-1000 word articles. I know better. I just can’t seem to stop.

O.K., I’ll stop now before this post gets too long.