How to get your employees to work harder, longer and with more passion

Imagine you're going to have surgery tomorrow. 

You have to make a quick decision about which doctor will administer the operation. You narrow your search to two doctors in your area. They are equally qualified, earned the same GPA's and have identical experience. The only difference is one became a doctor due to a passion for people and the other became a doctor because his parents wouldn't accept less. He felt obligated to his profession.  

Alright, time to head back into the operating room. Which Doctor will you choose?

I don't know about you, but I'd bet my appendix on the Doctor who chose their profession over someone forced into the profession. 

The same is true for your employees. When they decide, they are disproportionately more likely to achieve positive results. 

Get your employees to work harder, longer and with more passion in 3 steps: 

1. You set the standard, they set the goal:

Goal setting is not something you can do to your employees. A goal you set for them isn't a goal at all, it's an order. Take a step back and consider how you could bring your people into the goal setting process. 

I recommend letting them set their goal based on the standard you have set. This gives your employee ownership of their work while communicating your expectation. 

Once you have written the standard for your employee (it's important to write them out), share those metrics with them and allow them to set their personal goals along with specific actions they will need to take in order to accomplish that goal. Again, this need to be written down. 

2. Agree on responsibilities (in writing):

Once you have your standards written and they have their goals (and a specific plan) written, come together and edit. Accomplishing goals is a team sport. So, there has to be agreement on who is responsible for each area. Ask, "What do you need from me to ensure you accomplish your goal?" Then ask, "What can I expect from you if your find that you are struggling to achieve your goal?" 

The reason for the last question is to establish how problems flow. It is not your job to babysit, it is your job to run a business. If you have to chase down underperformers, you will render yourself ineffective. 

Set the tone early that the goal is their responsibility and if they are having trouble, they should reach out to you and you will be there to support them. 

Agree on the attainability of their goal, encourage them and help them talk through how they will achieve it.

3. Create ongoing dialogue around the agreement:

Someone once said, You can't expect what you done inspect. Make it a part of your daily routine to follow up with your people. Not through meetings or standardized forms, but through good ole human connection. Make sure you are asking specific questions about their goals. When they give you the wrong answer, don't correct them, ask a follow-up question. 

Follow up is about catching them doing something right and asking questions instead of giving direct orders. 

Take a moment to think about how these three steps apply to your business. Which step would give you the greatest return if you began applying it right away?