I’ve worked with many senior leaders and business owners who struggle to drive their business to the next level. They know they need to do things differently but can’t find the focus to think about the next step. It’s even tougher when day to day operations feel so demanding.
The journey to success for a business owner starts with self-motivation and quickly moves to the need to motivate and include your team.
A great place to start generating the energy to get your business to where you want it, is to really understand your driving desire. You can use this knowledge to find your direction, guide your decisions, and connect and engage with the team.
1. Start with Yourself
“What’s your why?”
Why are you in business? What’s your purpose? What do you really want to achieve?
Knowing the answer to these questions is a good place to start. Having a ‘higher purpose’ gives a sense of achievement and motivation that simply stating what you do doesn’t provide.
For example, your business might be providing coffee beans to cafes. Why you do this can be much more inspiring. Your ‘why’ might be ‘to help make the world a more social place, one ethically sourced bean at a time.’
Once you’ve added a ‘purpose’ to your journey, it’s important to underpin and support the progress with strong personal and company values.
In cases where decisions don’t have a clear right or wrong answer (which are more common than not!), values can help guide business leaders to a conclusion that is most likely to achieve goals.
2. Be Consistent
As an executive coach, I work with leaders to explore their values, creating a direction to work from. It’s a confronting and personal process, which can drive huge change and even bigger results. However, without consistency in behaviour, much of this work can fall to the side.
Values need to be lived, they need to be demonstrated every day and used in all decisions or actions that affect the direction of the business. Without consistency, the values and ‘purpose’ of your business won’t be strong enough to help your team when times are tough.
Start with yourself, and behave authentically in line with your values. This will demonstrate to your team how the values come to life, and will build trust. Others will know what they can depend on, motivating them to keep going in the face of challenges.
3. Connect with Others
The basic psychology of motivation is simple. The bigger the reward individuals see for themselves, the more motivated they are to achieve the related outcomes.
The good news is that intrinsic rewards, (rewards we gain internally) are far more compelling than the longer term than extrinsic rewards, (say, big bonuses).
So, connect others to your ‘Why’, and share around the intrinsic reward.
If your team has a clear sense of purpose, and a strong connection to this purpose, you’re almost there. It will be clear why your team should make an effort, and how what they’re doing will make a difference to the journey. Once you’ve ‘launched’ with a team purpose, maintaining motivation relies on providing support, feedback and challenges.
Master this and you’ll see you, your team and your business grow.
This blog is written by Nathalie Gray, who is a business coach at The Icehouse. Nathalie has over 15 years’ experience in coaching business leaders; working with them to maximise their strengths and engage others to reach success through an authentic and confident leadership approach.