Five Steps to a Passionate Team

August 19, 2014

by Dan Richards

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Few things are more important than keeping your team motivated and staying motivated yourself.

I was reminded of this last week when a successful advisor – let’s call him Bob – described challenges he has with his staff: “My two assistants are great with clients. I get all kinds of compliments,” he said. “My issue is that they lack any fire in the belly. I’ve offered a bonus if we hit targets in new clients and referrals. Three years ago, I even paid for them to join me for a weekend to hear speakers sharing their secrets to success, among them Donald Trump. But nothing seems to get them to show much in the way of initiative or demonstrate any passion for growing the business.”

Bob is right to stress the importance of passion among his team. Here’s what the CEO of Accellion, a rapidly growing maker of software for mobile file sharing, had to say on this topic: “The best indicator I’ve seen is how passionate someone is. When people are passionate enough, they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the momentum going. When people are focused too much on whether something is just a good career move, they can easily get distracted by other things.”

“What the mind can conceive and believe …”

Some advisors look to motivational books and tapes to maintain their passion. Advice on self-improvement dates back to the Greeks and Romans. However, the self-improvement industry didn’t really take off until the early part of the last century.

Some of the best known self- help and motivational books and training programs go back to the 1930s, including Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Hill contributed perhaps the best-known summary of the thinking behind the self-motivation approach: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

These were followed in the 1950s by  Norman Vincent Peale  and in the 1960s by  Og Mandino, Maxwell Maltz and W. Clement Stone. The past three decades have seen the emergence of popular names like Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, T. Harv Eker and Rhoda Byrne, author of The Secret.

For most advisors, the difficulty with these books, CDs and seminars is that they seldom have a lasting effect on motivation. Like the weight-loss industry, none of these programs have subjected themselves to rigorous measurement of outcomes, preferring to sell via hype and an emotional appeal to people’s hopes and dreams.

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