A lesson in tough love

I just heard from a friend of mine who lives in NYC that he has resigned from his GM role because the owner of the business said, “I don’t want happy people, I want factory workers”. My friend was completely disheartened – he thought business owners were enlightened – and understood that happy people equals happy profits

I guess I question if this entrepreneur is reading or learning anything. One thing that Verne Harnish is noted as saying is “The entrepreneur that learns the most wins” – as the leader of an organisation we simply cannot stay stagnant – or operate in the past.

In the last few weeks I have read three more books that have further inspired me to stay completely committed to the team.

Learning from Dan Pink in his book Drive: that motivation comes from peoples’ experience of autonomy, mastery and sense of purpose – that carrot and stick incentives are a thing of the past.

People have a choice.

From Keith McFarland in the Breakthrough Company I reconfirmed my belief that a leader is there to serve his or her employees – to take roadblocks out of the way, that they are the custodians of something much bigger than themselves.

It is so not about us.

In The Power of Nice by Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, (which I found sad), these New York women are trying to expound the virtues of common courtesy. Unfortunately they say “Being nice to people and will get you returns”. The idea of doing something nice – not for the sake of being generous, but because it will pay you back. I find this tragic, because ultimately it is still based on greed and betterment.

Generosity is the reward in itself… when we do things or say things without any agenda, other than wanting to make a difference to another human being, we recevie it back twofold.

Naomi Simson is considered one of Australia’s ‘Best Bosses’. She is an employee engagement advocate and practices what she preaches in her own business. RedBalloon has been named as one of only six Hewitt Best Employers in Australia and New Zealand for 2009 and awarded an engagement scorecard of over 90% two years in a row – the average in Australian businesses is 55%. RedBalloon has also been nominated by BRW as being in the top 10 Best Places to Work in Australia behind the likes of Google. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker inspiring people on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blogand is a published author – and has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded – RedBalloon.com.au.


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