During the past decade, I've given a couple of hundred or so presentations to bankers about staying motivated in their jobs and helping their employees do the same. A gesture by a CEO friend a couple of weeks ago reminded me of an old slide that I need to bring back.
That slide suggests that two simple letters can acknowledge a top performer and often motivate that person even more than money. Those two letters are "cc", as in the cc column on our email.
After I had completed a seminar recently, a young lady walked up. She gave me her business card and with a smile on her face proceeded to point out that I had mentioned a certain airline's credit card that I occasionally use.
She followed, "Have you ever heard of our (ABC) card? I really think it would be a better deal for you." I laughed out loud and congratulated her for being one of the few people of the thousands I have spoken to who ever tried to make me a customer after a speech.
Later, as I was waiting on a red-eye flight home, I received an email from the young lady, asking to be put on my newsletter list. She then referenced the conversation we had earlier that day and provided a link to find more information on the credit card she spoke of. She closed with an offer to assist me and answer any questions I may have.
Sitting there chuckling, I forwarded her email with a brief explanation about the circumstances to my friend who runs their in-store program. I also copied the CEO of the bank. I knew they would get a kick out of the fact that one of their bankers had differentiated herself and their bank so well.
The very next morning, that CEO (of one of the 10 largest banks in the country) was nice enough to copy me on a personal email he sent to that banker. He specifically pointed out what she did and thanked her for the leadership she displayed.
He also "cc'ed" what seemed to be the entire reporting structure from that banker to him, as well as the folks who manage their credit card program.
There are few things that motivate people more than being shown now and then that the "powers that be" (from their direct supervisor on up) notice and appreciate their going the extra mile. It's not about money. It's about a little time and attention.
How much are you giving today?
For the past seven months, I've been kidding with friends around the country that New Orleans Saints fans are on unchartered ground. After a lifetime of disappointment, our team is finally the one that everyone is paying attention to.
And, yes, my older son and I have likely watched every minute of every "special" about the Saints aired since January. We recently watched one on ESPN entitled, "Gruden's Champ Camp".
I like John Gruden and love Sean Payton and Drew Brees. But truth be told, it was a pretty lame show. Right before it ended, however, they showed footage that got my attention and fired me up just a bit.
The footage wasn't from last year's playoff run or even the Super Bowl victory. No, this clip was from a recent run-of-the-mill practice session at the Saint's training facilities.
As the offense ran plays, coach Payton expressed annoyance with how nonchalant they seemed coming out of the huddle. His ire rose after observing another lackadaisical break from the huddle. He started becoming more vociferous and began getting in a few players' ears on the sidelines.
It got to the point that he wasn't even happy with the way the team's "clap" sounded breaking from the huddle. He called out, "I'm going to bring you guys back to the huddle if you don't sound better than that!"
On the next play, he stopped about $45 million worth of salaried employees as they walked toward the line and made them run back and huddle up again. The next "clap" was loud and clear, and the players popped out of the huddle.
At that moment, I realized that if the team doesn't repeat their success of last year, it won't be because they took anything for granted. And while many folks would see such a seemingly trivial thing as how a team huddles in a preseason practice to be no big deal - especially for a team that just won a championship - Payton knows differently.
In ultra-competitive businesses, it's attention to even minute details that more often than not separates one team from another. And leaders who "sweat the small stuff" and instill that mindset in their people tend to have teams that do the "big things" correctly, as well.
Are there areas in your team's daily routine that could be called-out for becoming lackadaisical?
It may be time to call everyone back for a huddle.