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Fire them or fire them up

Don’t over analyze – happy and passionate workers generate multiples more impact.

Please don’t confuse this as my OK to push your employees around. This is a call to “get off your butt manager and motivate your people.” Maybe a better title is “Fire them, fire them up or get fired,” but I didn’t think it would get you to read it. So, it’s a bit of a bait and switch.

Lee Barken wrote a great article called Employment: Save  your job in a tough economy. I loved the “start focusing on kissing down.” Here’s a clip of it:

“At the June 11, 2009 Corporate Directors Forum event, “Leading in Times of Fear,” former San Diego Fire Chief Jeff Bowman confronted this issue directly and honestly. Having served as San Diego’s top fire fighter, Bowman knows a thing or two about leadership. His message was simple: Stop worrying about kissing up, and start focusing on kissing down.”

If you manage people, especially marketers in this environment it’s easy to see a sort of malaise abound. Many people have seen good colleagues leave and the work climate can be a bit depressing.  But, this is no time to lose the passion.  It’s now more important than ever for managers to get the blood going again. As a manager, no matter how your manager treats you, you need to get people fired up because people that are fired up will work harder and smarter – for YOU! Like the article I mentioned above, it’s time to “kiss down” so productivity goes way up.

“We have mundane tasks that need to be done.. those don’t inspire people.” Tasks don’t inspire people, people inspire people.  A challenge can be its own reward. How about saying “I know doing this sucks, but it’s been done the same way for a long time and I think you can find ways to be more innovative and get better results. If you can do that, it will mean a lot to the organization…”

Teams Tuff It Out and Get Closer

Over the past few weeks, my company (Equilar) was putting on our first ever client conferences in New York City and Silicon Valley. No one had ever actually run an event on my team (except for me) and we were already down one headcount.  I used this as an opportunity to motivate my most junior (and incredibly energetic and talented) employee.  Before the event, I conveyed to her what an opportunity this was and everyone, including the CEO knew how challenging the event would be. If she could help pull it off with poise, it would be a fantastic learning experience and career development opportunity. At one point a few of us, including the CEO, were collating event programs until 1am the day of the symposium. You do what you have to do to deliver! While doing back to back events nearly killed us, it created a fantastic bond and spirit across sales, marketing and the products teams.