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Growth Management Personal Development

How Leaders Can Tap Into Team’s Internal Motivations

You may have heard the phrase, “Logic makes you think; emotion makes you act.”  As I often do, I thought about the truth of this certain statement in the context of improving leadership skills.

You may be protesting at your computer: But there’s no place for emotion in business! Oh contraire, mon ami!

Hey executive leaders, a big part of what you do is influencing people to perform and produce; to get the job done with and through others. Since you can’t actually motivate people on your own – all people are already motivated for their own reasons – what you can do is tap into their internal motivations. How do you do that?

Imagine your main goal is for your team to work safely and have zero accidents or injuries. You can lecture, preach, and admonish them to work safely until your face turns an unhealthy shade of blue. Or you could tap into their internal motivations. For example, if you’re talking to a family man you could remind him of why he wants to work safely – namely so he can get back home to his family, new baby, etc.

As with anything that produces great results, tapping into emotions and internal motivations of your team members will take a tad more effort on your part. Isn’t that why they pay you the medium-sized bucks? You will have to get to know them and figure out what is important to each individual. If getting to know your team members sounds painful and boring, try a few of these “Southern” questions to ask to keep conversation light and airy. Just by this practice alone you will subsequently increase employee engagement!

As an executive leader, what is your goal? Do you want your tribe to just think about doing something, or do you want them to take action? If taking action, changes in behavior, increased performance and productivity are your goals, I suggest you tap into your team members’ emotions.


  • How do you influence people to perform and produce?
  • What technique works for you in getting employees to take action?
  • Please leave a comment below and share your insights with the community.


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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems


Growth Management Operations Personal Development

Are You Falling Victim to the Customer Service Gap?

The concept of the customer service gap may sound familiar as I have written about it before. The first version referred to the gap between you and your competitors. You want the gap to be wide. It means you are putting yourself further ahead of your competition and picking up market share.

The second version of the gap focused on narrowing the distance between you and your customers. The closer you are to your customers, and the more you are meeting their needs, the narrower the gap is between you and your customer. This also puts your competition further away from your customers.

Now comes the third version of the gap, which is the difference between how good a company thinks their service is versus what their customers actually believe they receive.

A number of years ago, I read an interesting report from Bain and Company that found 80% of companies say they deliver superior customer service, yet only 8% of customers agree. That is a surprising, almost staggering, statistic. Is there that big of a disconnect? Is the gap really this big?

There are other studies that have similar findings, although not quite as severe as the numbers from Bain and Company. Even if that number was cut in half, it would still be a problem. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be a gap. In a truly customer-focused organization, you might even see the gap reversed. In other words, the customer perceives the service they receive from a company is even better than that company’s leadership believes it to be. Maybe that’s because that company won’t settle for anything other than the best, and is always striving to deliver a superior level of service, never settling for mediocrity, never resting on their laurels.

So, what can you do to avoid or eliminate this gap? Here are just a few ideas:

1. Survey your customers. This one is obvious. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. You can use several different survey questions and techniques but just consider this one suggestion. Keep the surveys short. You stand a greater chance of the survey being returned if they are short and take less than a minute or two to fill out.

2. Ask the customer directly, at the time they are finishing their interaction with you. This is a form of an “exit interview.” Again, keep it short and you’ll get more customers willing to respond.

3. Have leadership mystery shop your company. Don’t hire mystery shoppers, but have the executives actually pick up the phone and call their own companies. Find out how easy it is to get to the right person, how long they are required to hold while waiting for customer service, and more. In other words, have them play a simple version of “Undercover Boss.”

So, don’t fall victim to the customer service gap. What you hope your customers will perceive as good customer service, and how they perceive it, are two different things. Narrow the gap so that what you want your customers to experience is in fact what they experience.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go twww.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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