Perhaps this is not what we want to hear, especially so early into 2011 but according to some personal coaches this is exactly what we need to hear to motivate ourselves to do even better than in 2010.  At a time when many of us are writing personal appraisals for members of our teams, perhaps it’s useful to consider how high we should set the bar of success, to ensure that everyone becomes a winner?

And here lies the dilemma.  We live in a society of winners and losers.  According to Vince Lombardi, the famous one time coach of the Green Bay Packers (this year’s Super Bowl winners) “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”  For Vince winning was everything, his style rallied around such one liners as: ‘If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm’.  Now this might work on the football field, but I do not believe it can be taken too seriously into the work place.

Each and every one of us lacks enthusiasm every now and then, so the question is how can we set personal targets that will encourage our teams (and even ourselves) to be stretched far enough to find personal satisfaction in learning new things and growth, while at the same time not de-motivating us so much that we simply give up at the first hurdle?  

The secret lies not so much in the target itself but the visualization of it.  Once our appraisal forms are filed away for another year, our targets are soon forgotten, and here lies the danger.

My advice for this year is to ask each of your team members to visualize what success in life means to them. (It can be out riding their horse or, being on holiday with the children; perhaps it is owning a mobile home to travel across Europe in).  Whatever it is, encourage them to put a photograph that symbolizes it on their desk.  And next to it, a small plasticized list of the objectives they have set for themselves for this year.  The list is not so much to remind them but to remind everyone that they work with, because rest assured, whether or not they achieve their objectives will most likely be down to the encouragement and support they get from you and their team mates.  There is no personal objective in the world that can be achieved in isolation.

As Vince Lombardi once said “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual”. And this is one I can fully confer with.

Have a good week,