Thursday, August 28, 2003

Motivating Your Team: Dan Antonellis & Joe Torre  

Not to be outdone by his brother Mike (quoted here on persuasion Monday, August 25), Dan Antonellis has posted on his own blog sage advice on using the Joe Torre/Earl Weaver model: Management & Motivation - From the Dugout to the Corner Office.

His argument is one I support whole-heartedly.

Earl Weaver once said, "If you have a team meeting, then lose again, what do you do next?" Ah, the challenge of motivating your people to do their best. It's not an easy task, whether you're a manager of a professional baseball team, a middle manager at a high tech start-up or the head bookshelf manager at the local library. Luckily for us baseball fans, we can learn effective management techniques just by watching our national pastime and our favorite teams and managers.


Everyone is motivated by something - the key to managing is understanding what those motivating factors are for each member of your team. In other words, everyone has a unique set of buttons that need to be pushed to help them do their best work. Taking the time to find out what those buttons are can work wonders for any manager.

Joe Torre delivered an as-told-to book Joe Torre's Ground Rules for Winners a few years back. The most important thing a manager can take away from it is Dan's point: it's not just vital to motivate, but each individual's motivation points are different and that, as a manager, you have to observe and use these motivation points, what I call "currencies".

Most organizations are like sovereign nations...they choose to use a single currency. Maybe it's cash bonuses, maybe it's a printed certificate of accomplishment, public recognition, a trip to Florida for spring training, or a tie. A Japanese company you all know once crowned their annual employee awards at Comdex by staging a sex-slave auction for noteworthy employees (as Dave Barry would say, "I'm not making this up"). But no single award/approach will work for everyone. Organizations need to diversify the currencies they use to motivate individuals...it's a little harder for the organization, but increases productivity.

The point of the motivation effort is to both properly recognize actual accomplishment and to reinforce the behaviors of the group. Dan & Torre both know how to do this: working to understand, and then act on the understanding of motivating individuals in their own currencies.

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