Category Archives: Motivating Performance

Guiding employees toward better time management in the New Year

With a New Year upon management staffs, many of you might be considering following through with some work-related resolutions. Getting your employees to do the same is no easy task and neither is the ability to stay on target with your resolutions.

Helene Segura, a time management strategist, explained at the beginning of every New Year, the majority of Americans choose time management as one of their New Year’s resolutions. Time management is often accompanied with resolutions such as losing weight, going to the gym, eating healthier and quitting smoking.

“As a business leader, it’s important to not only help your employees achieve improved time management strategies, but to give them as many options to get there as well.”

Helping workers achieve their goals
While you might have your own personal resolutions you want to attend to, numerous workers want to improve their work lives with better time management. As a business leader, it’s important to not only help your employees achieve improved time management strategies, but to give them as many options to get there as well.

In a recent Forbes interview with Dan Ariely, an author on human irrationality and professor of psychology and behavior economics at Duke University, the behavioral expert explained people usually choose time management for a resolution because they’re not any good at it and are obsessed with planning their time better with work and other personal things.

“[The] reality is it’s no wonder we are bad at [time management] because it’s a really, really hard thing to do,” Ariely said in the interview with Forbes. “Not only is it hard to manage multiple things, but you also have dynamic changes throughout the day in which you have some hours where you are more alert and have high cognitive capacity and some hours where you are more tired.”

Management taking action on time management
This is where management has to step up and provide employees with a time management strategy to get their New Year off on the right foot. Workplaces depend on time management strategies because in the end, having employees more effective at work will decrease downtime and money wasted due to inefficiency.

According to Self Growth, time management often fails within a business when everyone is not on the same page. As a manager or leader of a group of workers, it’s imperative to make sure every single person has the same agenda and knows the goals of their team.

When employees create their own agendas and lack serious direction from a business leader, a lot of time is wasted on trying to manage time in the first place. Instead, getting professional support for time management resolutions could get all of your workers on track and moving toward a common goal.

Time management has to be addressed immediately or problems could snowball.Time management has to be addressed immediately or problems could snowball.

Fixing time management problems immediately 
Another big issue with handling time management as a business leader is letting things get out of control to the point where it may not be fixable. According to the wellness blog Everyday Faith and Fitness, sometimes people’s biggest problem is not having enough time in the day to get things done. This can work on a personal level if for example you were trying to make it to the gym twice a week, but couldn’t find the time.

“It’s your responsibility as a coach and leader of the team to get your workers feeling like they aren’t time constrained each day.”

However, on a work-related level, your employees might not be succeeding because their management strategies have turned so sour that they don’t feel like they can get a full-day’s work completed in one day. To nip this in the bud, it’s your responsibility as a coach and leader of the team to get your workers feeling like they aren’t time constrained each day.

Biting off more than you can chew 
Several workers and managers often try to fix time management problems by taking on more than they can handle. To successfully manage your time, try to realize that taking on too much as a leader could put you even further behind.

“If you were a farmer and worked from sunrise to sunset, and farming includes very basic things to do with no real questions, life would be very simple,” Ariely added in the Forbes interview. “But we live in an incredibly wonderful age with lots of things vying for our time, more than we can handle, and on top of that we aren’t limited to sunrise to sunset.”

According to Pep Worldwide, one of the best ways to address time management is to act smarter and to not work harder to achieve better time management. When work is completed more efficiently and without additional work, employees will feel less stressed about how they manage each day. Time management is not an easy task, but with the right help, downtime could turn into a thing of the past.

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Motivation: Sometimes One Sentence Is Enough…

You will be okA few years ago on a Sunday morning I went into the forest for a walk. From the opposite direction, a woman came running up. She was plump, flushed and sweaty. To my “good morning” she puffed “ooh ooh” back and tried to produce what looked like a smile. Her running shoes were shining white and clearly new. She wore an exciting vest in black with fluorescent green stripes along the side, which I found very nice.

About ten minutes later she passed me again. This time her shoulders and her smile were drooping. In an attempt to cheer her up I called “You wear energetic colors!” “Well,” she said, “but the walk is not so energetic…” “You will be okay, I see that you have character,” I responded.

I had forgotten the incident until two months ago.

I went walking in the forest again, and a woman I greeted turned around and started walking beside me. “I should really thank you,” she said.

“For the ‘good morning’?” I replied, surprised.

She laughed: “Because you got me motivated.”

It turns out she was the woman I’d  spoken with a few years ago. She needed to lose weight and decided to go on a diet and exercise. That Sunday morning had been her first day running. Her ex-boyfriend had said scornfully: “You? Sports?” And her family reacted with a giggly “You will never keep this up!”

“At the moment you passed me I believed them. ‘They’re right,’ I thought, ‘I can do nothing to persevere.’ But that one sentence ‘I see that you have character’, that did something for me. I kept running, I went to a dietician and I kept going. I now weigh 23 pounds less, and I’m training for the 20K of Brussels. That phrase has become my personal encouragement. If I have a difficult time, I tell myself ‘I know that I have character.’”

“Well done and I wish you good luck,” I said, surprised.

Since that day I met her a few more times. She always sends me a radiant smile. I’m her biggest fan.

Author: Carla De Boodt, Internal Cohen Brown Leadership and Sales & Service Specialist of bpost, Belgium
Reactions to Brenda Schäfer , Results Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.


The Power of Positive Reinforcement! (What makes people smile?)

– How often do I get a compliment? –

– How often do I give a compliment? –

These two questions came to my mind after visiting one of the Regional Managers of a client.

I observed his sales meeting, and I asked him if he wanted to have my feedback. The first thing he said to me was, “Yes, please. Tell me what I did wrong.” I didn’t react to that, and I started the way I always do, by giving him a compliment based on what I had observed.

The expression on his face went from a serious, waiting-to-hear-what-went-wrong expression to a very big smile. When I asked him why he was smiling, he said, “I didn’t expect to get a compliment. I don’t get many compliments.”

Positive reinforcement is a key motivator and costs nothing to implement. But even more important, with positive reinforcement you show you care!

What makes positive reinforcement more effective? REDR:


Elaborate with



Base your compliments on facts.

Back to the questions I started with, here is my honest answer:

– How often do I get a compliment? –

– Never often enough –

– How often do I give a compliment? –

– Not yet enough, but more and more, because I care! –

What about you?

Brenda Schäfer is a Results Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

What Floats Your Boat? Finding the Key to What Motivates Members of Your Team

Think about what motivates you for a second. Now imagine that your motivation level is a balloon car. You get lifted by various external and internal forces (balloons), and you get pulled down by others (sandbags). As a boss you need to find out what lifts up or drags down your people. This up and down movement is a constant, dynamic interaction and rarely, if ever, a static situation.

Here are some Motivators to work with:

Dreams and goals

This is a very large and powerful balloon. It is a key to determining what will make a person perform at the highest level. Typically, we don’t ask our employees about their dreams and goals, but the truth is, you not only need to understand them, you need to drill down to get specifics. It is important to understand your team members’ goals and how they link to your business.

Recognition and reward

Although interpersonal recognition may be one of the most effective balloons, it is still the most under-utilised motivator. Determine what type of recognition best motivates your team members – is it letters? verbally thanking them? gift cards? etc. Do they appreciate public recognition or private?

Belief and hope

Belief reflects an individual’s internal feelings and attitudes about the capability to implement or execute a given process. Hope is the external manifestation of belief. Together, belief and hope create commitment. They are critical for every coach because they make work life significantly more satisfying and fulfilling.

Respected participation and taking ownership

Generally, the more people are involved in the decision-making process and the more they feel their voices have been heard and their opinions matter, the more motivated they will be. This involvement will motivate your team members to exceed expectations.

And remember, all performers—middle managers, senior personnel, and high performers—need to be motivated! It’s your job to find the best way.

Your thoughts?

Claudia Irmer is a Results Consultant for Cohen Brown Management (Europe) Ltd.

Are You Sure You Don’t De-Motivate Your Team?

The other day my physiotherapist was talking about the professional football players he’s treating. He was totally shocked by the fact that these young men, at the beginning of a promising career, seem to lack the motivation to give their best and go the extra mile.

My initial reaction was to be indignant…how dare they? They earn a six-figure income (or more), they live every boy’s dream, and they still don’t give their best for the sake of their team and the club?

This conversation stuck with me and after giving it some thought I realised that we often know what motivates our teams, but we don’t always know what sinks the ship.

Here are my Top De-Motivators and how to avoid them:

  1. Lack of clarity and capability
    Make sure your team is clear about your expectations. Always give a rationale for specific tasks and/or behaviours. Help your team members build skills to increase their capability.
  2. Not enough inspiration
    Be a role model – walk the talk! You set high expectations and at the same time you need to encourage your team to accomplish their dream within their capability. Deal with fears honestly and establish trust with your team.
  3. Too much lip service; not enough “walking the talk”
    Bring a personal level of passion into the business environment – be sincere, credible, and persuasive in your encouragement of team members. And it doesn’t hurt to get your hands dirty.
  4. Lack of appropriate attitude
    Always put on your “game face” and mentally prepare yourself and your team members for the “game”. And remember, you should always act as you must, not as you feel!

So don’t let your team’s ship sink!

Your thoughts?

Claudia Irmer is a Results Consultant for Cohen Brown Management (Europe) Ltd.