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What are some suggestions for motivating a team that is already achieving the company expectations?

Answers

Topic Expert
Deborah Godfrey
Title: Budget Administrator, Business Manager, ..
Company: Seeking Employment
(Budget Administrator, Business Manager, Project/Program Manager, Seeking Employment) |

Commend the team for their hard work and efforts and always encourage the team to strive for higher heights. Then challenge the team to go above the average. Expectations is what is expected of the average loyal team. But going above the average of the expectation takes on more creativity and challange from the team. It requires thinking "outside of the box". For example, let's say the team worked on a project in which they finished on time and stayed within the budget. Pick apart the project and do analysis to come up with "out of the box" ideas for challanges. If you finished within two days of the deadline or $400 under budget, challange the team to improve on these numbers, thereby, creating an increase in the days prior to the deadline and a further increase in the staying under the allotted budget. Then apply the outcome to future projects.

Sheila Saffold
Title: Manager of Accounting
Company: Hospital
(Manager of Accounting, Hospital) |

A high-performing team can be given the "reins" and allowed to run with it. Given them additional freedom to design their own assignments (that benefit the company).

You might even ask people who could be consider "key influencers" what the group would be motivated by.

david waltz
Title: Assistant Treasurer
Company: Integrys Energy Group
(Assistant Treasurer, Integrys Energy Group) |

Ratcheting up the expectations is also an option. It is common to include "stretch goals" in organizations.

The best motivation comes from within, and if the team has it then Sheila's point about allowing them to run is a good one.

Don Mapes
Title: Director of Internal Audit
Company: Venoco, Inc.
(Director of Internal Audit, Venoco, Inc.) |

As someone who is often in the posistion of being the high performer, I have this advice: LEAVE THEM BE!

Too often, I have seen Management dicsuss the "how can we motivate a team that is already exceptional?" In fact, we just find this annoying - and it can destroy the team. You don't need to do anything, they come up with thier own motivation.

Make sure they get the resources they need, and only interfere or "motivate" them if they go off the track of adding value to the company.

mark shafer
Title: Director of Marketing
Company: risk management assocation
(Director of Marketing, risk management assocation) |

i take your point.... to a point. leave them be? i'd prefer we ask them: "now what?". let them have input; don't guess what's best for them (by ignoring them).

Topic Expert
Randy Miller
Title: Partner
Company: CFO Edge
(Partner, CFO Edge) |

I agree with Don. Make sure they have the resources they need and turn them loose. Then monitor their performance to ensure that they stay on track and continue to get the support they need.

If you absolutely feel that you have to "motivate" them, then ask them what they think about their goals and see if they push for a higher level. Other than that congratulate yourself on identifying talent and start working on bringing the other teams up to their level.

Alan Lester
Title: Principal
Company: R. Ellis Advisors
LinkedIn Profile
(Principal, R. Ellis Advisors) |

How difficult were the expectations? And, how much effort from all was required to reach the expectations?

Cyrus Kennedy
Title: CFO
Company: Quest Preservation
(CFO, Quest Preservation) |

If you want to motivate a high performing team to go even higher, short-term incentives seem to work well in my experience. This happens in any sales job, but applies almost anywhere. Make it big, make it exciting, and make it last a finite period of time (in our case we did 3 months) and something that is achievable, yet just a bit of a stretch. The cream will continue to rise to the top. After doing an analysis to see how much the increased performance can improve your bottom line, you will better understand what type of incentives you can offer.

I would also say the idea of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs plays a role - what are the primary needs of your team? Do they want more money, recognition, a fun trip - what really motivates them to continue to perform at a high level?

Steve Player
Title: Program Director
Company: Beyond Budgeting Round Table
(Program Director, Beyond Budgeting Round Table) |

Why is there a presumption that you need to motivate a team that is exceeding the company expectations?

A better use of time would be to examine how company expectations are being set. In our Beyond Budgeting movement, we actively change the target setting process from an internally focused negotiation into a relative targeting process. The question becomes how is the performance of this team relative to (1) its internal peers doing the same function, (2) our competition because that ultimately is where the customer makes his choices which impact the long-term health of the organization. If you get to the top of the league table, you compare yourself to a third level of world class benchmarks.

And be very cautious about applying incentive payments to motivate the team. It often comes with very negative unintended consequences.

mark savitskie
Title: cfo
Company: marketplace homes
(cfo, marketplace homes) |

This is a great string and it leads me to another question. Our CEO is a salesperson by background and nature. His approach is always to create a monetary incentive based on some measureable. It works great to motivate sales people, but I constantly tell him that my finance people meet objectives as a normal part of their daily business life. I know I could contrive some measureables that pay them a bonus for hitting a goal...but in most cases, such as my accounts payable person, paying on time and accurately is something she does 100% of the time...so how can she improve that...by paying faster or less than the amount due? So...the sales, marketing and processing people get bonuses and finance is wondering what they did wrong.

mark shafer
Title: Director of Marketing
Company: risk management assocation
(Director of Marketing, risk management assocation) |

what a great problem to have.

couple of quick thoughts: make sure they receive recognition across your organization-- it'll add motivation to your already high-performing group while fostering a culture of performance meadures of success in other parts of the org. make sure they have a say in "what's next"; having an opportunity to help chart the course seems natural enough for a team that is exceeding your expectations. and while setting compensation targets is obvious, don't discount the power of a note from the guy in the corner office. non monetary recognition is largely overlooked and under-valued by management.

Phil Solk
Title: Managing Partner
Company: Opero Partners
(Managing Partner, Opero Partners) |

More profit can drive more financial rewards. If you think the current goals can be exceeded and will result in more profit, share the wealth.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

Always keep pushing that individual or team for the next best thing or project that will add value to the company and provide them professional growth. High performers want to be on the cutting edge and not be micromanaged or handled with kid gloves.

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