Finding Motivation in a Craft Beer Glass

In a previous blog entry, I highlighted the top 8 ways to motivate people. I’m going to shine the spotlight today on one of those key areas: public recognition. Most people have an opinion about this type of motivation—they either love it or hate it. Any leaders that leave it out of the motivation mix are missing out on the results. This type of motivation sure worked on me.

I started my career working for an alcohol distributor, mostly selling wine and microbrews. Not a bad gig for somebody coming right out of college (at least that’s what my friends thought). But instead of drinking wine and talking hops, I felt more like an indentured servant—grinding out sales presentations with demanding grocery store managers and spending more of my time putting bottles on shelves than opening them.

It was demanding work, and I learned a ton about sales. But the new knowledge and experience wasn’t what pulled me through the long hours of the workday. I needed something more to motivate me every month to hit my Saint Arnold’s Brewery sales goal.

Here’s a picture of that “something more.” It’s a little bit embarrassing.

Saint Arnold

Yes, that’s what you think it is. A Saint Arnold beer glass perfect for a Pilsner. About every month, the owner from Saint Arnolds would stand up in front of the sales force and thank everyone for selling his beer. Everyone that hit their quota the month before would stand up and walk to the front of the room to collect their glass.
Pretty simple, right? It was all about PUBLIC RECOGNITION.
The beer glass didn’t matter. In fact, if the glass had been given out privately, it would not have motivated me at all. Did you catch that? Private motivation doesn’t work on everyone. People usually gravitate toward either private or public recognition. If you are a business leader, you better motivate in both manners if you want ultimate results for your team.
What are you currently doing to motivate your sales team, staff, or simply “your people” with public motivation? Even if you have a small team, this is vital to figure out. Here are a few ideas I’ve taken from other leaders in the small business community.

1) Hold monthly or quarterly team lunches, preferably outside of your office. Create an award or small item (like a beer mug) to be given out every month. It could be for sales, customer service, or any type of activity you want to encourage within your company.
2) Leverage social media to brag about your people online. What did they achieve? Did they recently get a promotion? It’s similar to the companies that used to put achievements in the paper.
3) Join an outside networking group that gives a better forum for public recognition. Your team can be recognized with their peers in a business group. For example, I won an award from an area Chamber of Commerce. I stood up in front of hundreds of people to walk down and receive my award. It made me smile.
4) If you can combine private recognition with public recognition, that’s great too. For example, if you give your employee an incredible bouquet of flowers for a job well done, those flowers are given privately, usually with a note. They become very “public” because they stay on her desk all day for everyone to see.

As you venture into the art of public motivation, have fun with it! I will continue to share different ways to motivate your team in future blogs.
In the meantime, serve others by living a life of truth, empowerment, and the pursuit of freedom!
Jared Polak