The Keys to Highly Motivated Team Members for Championship Performance in 2019

It’s not as hard as most business leaders make it to motivate employees.

It comes down to a few simple strategies to create the conditions in your work environment that condition employees’ motivation.

About 10-years ago I wrote a short guide called The Employee Motivation Equation which is still absolutely valid (free download available at

That equation is still part of Your Championship Company Game Plan.

There is significant research by Gallup and others showing the rate of employee engagement in the United States at 33%, meaning two-thirds of employees at U.S. companies are just going through the motions collecting a paycheck.

My clients would tell me those non-engaged employees are “doing just enough not to get fired.”

This is an even bigger problem in today’s economy with the unemployment rate at record lows, the U.S. is at “full employment,” meaning it will hard and expensive to replace current employees.

Add to that the challenge of finding competent employees with the specialty skills you make it exponentially difficult to find replacements while hoping those mediocre team members with the skills you need don’t look elsewhere.

In operating a small business as opposed to large corporation you have a much easier opportunity to create, and more importantly, sustain a work environment of highly engaged employees.

But, it will take an effort.

In the Executive Summary of Gallup’s 2017 “State of the American Workplace” report Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton wrote encouraged readers to “switch from a culture of employee satisfaction to a “coaching culture.”

One of the key reasons for that recommendation is that survey results showed that only 21% of employees responded that they were managed in a way that motivated them to do outstanding work.

Un-engaged and underperforming employees with less than positive, “can-do” attitudes are not the fault of the employee but the work environment that has conditioned them into approaching their jobs in this manner.

To have engaged employees you have to have an engaging work environment.

It’s important for small companies to understand that an engaging work environment doesn’t mean you have to have the bells, whistles, foos-ball and ping pong tables with cappuccino machines you might see in a Silicon Valley tech firm.

An engaging workplace is more about how people are communicated with and treated than anything else. If more people felt the way they were managed in a way that motivated them at work the engagement scores would rise significantly.

To do this, most small business leaders need to transform the type of conversations they’re having with their team members. As Gallup CEO Clifton suggested, it’s time shift to a “coaching culture. “

For organizations that want to create championship performance a coaching culture is what is needed and it can be similar to coaching culture in professional sports.

In organizations that develop, implement, and sustain a coaching culture five workplace characteristics manifest that will motivate team members in a way that develops in championship performance. The five characteristics are:

  • Purpose
  • Autonomy
  • Achievement
  • Respect
  • Camaraderie

Purpose: In having the right type of coaching conversations you will learn what’s most important to the team member and you can develop an overall organization purpose that aligns with it, and vice-versa. Purpose is the driving force for all motivation (the derivative root of the word motivation is motive and a motive is a reason/purpose for doing something.)

Autonomy: Human beings are autonomous creatures and the more control team members have over what, when, how, and with whom they work, will provide greater motivation and job enjoyment. With regular coaching conversations you develop higher levels of trust with your team members, gradually allowing you to provide them with greater levels of autonomy on the job.

Achievement: The right coaching conversations should be focused on specific, measurable goals to be achieved by the team member, and be tied to a conversation on how they connect to achieving overall company goals. Team member achievements will also provide you with greater certainty when assessing for performance raises and bonuses. Focusing on achievement will build the self-esteem and self-worth of your team members and move them away from the entitlement mindset that has been conditioned managing them the old fashioned way.

Respect: Regular coaching conversations put the team member on a peer level with their leaders in terms of each seeing the other as a valuable contributor in a unique role to help achieve the overall company’s vision, mission, purpose, and goals. Over time, the trust that is built with these conversations allowing for greater autonomy will build into mutual respect as team members are communicated with as human beings, not just cogs in a wheel.

Camaraderie: When coaching conversations are instituted consistently across all team members, everyone feels they are treated fairly and equitably in a system of accountability. They will trust the system and will no longer feel as if certain people are treated special, thus breaking down resistance to collaboration as resentments of past indiscretions will go away and teamwork thrives.

The key to creating this type of “championship company culture” is getting the coaching conversation right, and few organizations do.

Too many organizations are stuck in the old annual performance review process that never worked to fulfill its purpose, which is to improve individual and organizational performance.

If you tend to have “ground hog” performance conversations, which are the same type of conversation time after time from which you do not see individual performance improvement, it’s time for a change.

It’s time to move towards a coaching culture to begin your journey to a championship company with engaged, motivated team members.

‘til next time,





P.S. – The Brand New Your Championship Company Community Facebook Group is now 165 new members strong. Filled with like-minded business owners like you, discussing issues like the one above.  Are you ready to join us? Go here to learn more and request to join.

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