Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Raising The Bar


One of the most popular events in the Olympics is the pole vault event. We all watch with amazement and anticipation as the competitor runs full speed down the track with a long pole in his hands. Then the jumper hangs on for dear life as he lowers the pole downwards into a hole that propels him high up in the air, high enough to clear the bar just in front of him. The jumper then has a soft landing on his back ready to jump even higher the next time.

The goal of the jumper is not to be the fastest down the track, or to be the most efficient at hitting the mark with the pole. No, the goal is to jump high enough to clear the bar. Then, do it again, and again, and again each time the bar is raised.

Whether you know it or not there is a bar to be raised or lowered in your organization. The name of this bar is: The Bar of Expectations. Each time you expect more of your staff, volunteers, or yourself you are raising the bar.

But, how far can you raise the bar, and how fast? My experience while working with all types of organizations is that there is a tried and true fact, the smaller the organization the lower the bar of expectations. In other words, the fewer people you have to work with the less you can expect (or demand) out of them.

Lets use for example a small choir. The choir director wants so bad to perform like a five hundred voice choir but knows if she puts too much demand on the choir members they might quit. Leaving holes that might be impossible for the rest of the group to fill. Or she might have a hard time getting members in the first place because her expectations are too high.

Conversely, if we look at a five hundred voice choir we see a director with the same dreams - dreams to perform at peak potential. The difference in this situation is the choir director can start out with high expectations or put rather high demands on her members because she knows that there are many who would love to be a member of her choir.

You might be saying, "How do I raise the bar in my organization?" In my experience I have discovered four techniques that you can do to continually raise the bar, which will challenge your team members to become more effective in their duties and strive for their dreams..

Listen to where each team member is. This is especially important if you acquire a new team member or if you yourself are the new leader on the team. Listening to not only what is said but also what is not can help you determine areas of weakness in your team member's life, leadership skills, or ability. Plan one-on-one conversations where you can listen for areas of insecurity, fear, frustration, passion, past experiences, and confusion. Hearing comes natural to all of us, but listening is learned. The better you learn to listen the more your team member will open up and share where he is and where he wants to go.

Learn to be patient. In most small organizations most people on a leadership team are used to the status quo. Therefore, when you challenge them to grow in new ways you must be patient. If you go too fast they will dig in their feet or put up walls - or both. It is difficult to go slow when you see your team members with such great potential. Potential that is untapped, and perfect for the growth of your organization.

Lead one step at a time. Remember, they are a small cup and you are a gallon of water. If you pour out all your knowledge and experience you will quickly overflow their cup. Therefore, lead one step at a time in areas that you have detected are weak. Some weak areas that I find in most people that are in smaller organizations are:

  • Time Management skills

  • Developing an on-going personal growth plan

  • Teamwork, and how to develop a team

  • Pursuing excellence in everything that they do

  • Learning to think big

List what you expect, inspect what you list. In order for anyone on your team to grow you must hold them accountable. Now, this must be done carefully because if done incorrectly you could be faced with many embarrassing holes in your organization (i.e. the choir). The best way I have found to hold people accountable in a smaller organization is to challenge them with a goal. A goal that is measurable, obtainable, requires action, and has a deadline. By doing this you will see how strong of a leader they are, and how they can perform when a deadline is approaching.

You will be able to increase your demands (or expectations) as the organization grows and as your leaders increase their leadership ability. The larger the organization gets the bigger the goals can be. The greatest part about this is the reward. It is almost like you are a proud father watching your child sing her first solo, or hit the homerun to win the game. When your team members begin accomplish bigger goals in less time you know you are becoming a more effective leader and your expectations can rise. Remember, go slow and you will grow.

Footprints and Monuments is a free monthly leadership and motivational e-newsletter. No names receiving this e-newsletter are sold or distributed to any other source. You are encouraged to forward this monthly article to anyone in your address book. To un-subscribe please reply back with "Un-subscribe" in the subject field.

About The Author

Jeff Earlywine

www.jeffearlywine.com

jeff@jeffearlywine.com


MORE RESOURCES:

Stanford Report

Stanford research shows that working together boosts motivation
Stanford Report
Stanford research shows that working together boosts motivation. Stanford faculty member Gregory Walton found that when people are treated by others as partners working together on a task, their motivation increases – even if they worked on their own.



Chron.com (blog)

Some Rockets have extra motivation in summer workouts
Chron.com (blog)
Though the Toyota Center practice could have been filled with the usual mix of prospects and veterans of recent summer leagues, this off-season those players have been motivated by the knowledge that some will still be playing when the off-season moves ...

and more »


Phys.Org

Research shows that working together boosts motivation
Phys.Org
In five experiments, Carr and Walton found that these "cues of working together" increased "intrinsic motivation" as people work on their own. Intrinsic motivation refers to behaviors people want to do – what they enjoy and find intrinsically rewarding ...
Working together boosts motivationScienceBlog.com (blog)

all 2 news articles »


Morgan State football using snub in MEAC preseason poll as motivation
Baltimore Sun
“It's just motivation. At the end of the day, I've never seen a preseason ranking dictate what a team does during the season. It's all just speculation. All we have to do is come out and prove those guys wrong. At the end of the day, they don't know ...

and more »


Forbes

Detroit's LevelEleven Revs Sales Motivation
Forbes
What do you do as a manager when the conventional means of motivating your sales team—competitions, prizes, inspirational speeches—fall flat? How can you leverage technology to help rally and focus your team around company initiatives, product ...



Late fumble served as motivation for Morgan State's Herb Walker Jr.
Baltimore Sun
By the middle of the fourth quarter of Morgan State's 28-3 win over Bowie State at Hughes Stadium on Saturday, running back Herb Walker Jr. had gained 118 yards, marking the third straight game in which the team had a 100-yard rusher. But with 3:27 ...

and more »


velonews.competitor.com

Monday Motivation: The 4-Minute Mile Jetpack
velonews.competitor.com
We're familiar with wearable jetpacks that make you airborne, but here's an invention that targets groundspeed instead. Students at Arizona State University have designed a jetpack to help soldiers run a 4-minute mile. The project, titled 4MM and ...

and more »


4 Science-Backed Ways To Motivate Yourself To Work Out
Huffington Post
Over time, the motivation becomes intrinsic, as the brain begins to associate sweat and pain with the surge of endorphins -- those feel-good chemicals released in the brain that are responsible for that "I-feel-freaking-amazing" rush you get after a ...

and more »


Motivation for your morning workout routines
Today.com
Get set the night before. Eliminate decision-making by setting out your workout clothes the night before so you're not searching for a pair of socks in the morning. Fill your water bottle and keep it in the fridge. The most motivating tip: Set your ...



Domingo's extension serves as World Cup motivation
ESPNcricinfo.com
"Actually, it will be motivation because it shows confidence in him. I don't think he will relax but it will allow him to be more free-thinking and trust his instincts." Domingo has already been in charge for one major tournament, the World T20 in ...

and more »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.