They call me in. They have the best systems in the world.  “We can’t get our people to use them,” they say.

It’s a common problem. Every business faces the challenge of how to squeeze performance out of their employees. They go to seminars, read books & articles, invest in systems (some of them, the best in the world) yet, it eludes them. The simplest secret of all – and it works every time. Sure, there will be “slide back”, always is; this is humans we’re talking about, and “slide back” or behavioural relapse as it’s also known, is just part of the program on Planet Earth. (How to deal with “slide back” is a topic of its own – the MyndMethod was built for exactly that).

Some “slide back” is good, of course, because it lets you pause, take a step back, inhale deeply as you re-evaluate your direction instead of driving head down full force ahead like a power forward on a breakaway about to be blindsided by a heavy hit. Get your head up, and keep your eyes open if you want to keep the speed and momentum going, but if at some point, you feel the power draining away, and feel yourself slowing down, it’s time to take a good look at what’s going on.

Business owners who face this slowing down process will quickly seek answers because it impacts the bottom line if it goes unaddressed. It can be scary, especially for a small business with not a lot of resources in the tank to last for long if things aren’t moving at a reasonable pace. Sales & retention have to be there, or else it doesn’t matter how much you cut expenses, you’re gonna run outta dough. You need cash flow. To get that, you need your employees working at top speed, producing, getting the job done, turning action into profits at a good pace. Well, top speed might be out of the question, especially if they have access to their cell phones, but you get the drift; they have to get the job done or the business doesn’t make any money, and you’re not in it to lose. Volunteering is fun but it doesn’t pay the bills.

So, they call in the consultants. Only to be told what they should have known all along.

Back to the point. How do you “get” your employees to really care about what they’re doing at work, to go above and beyond to get the job done, and come up with solutions that will drive the business forward? Yep. It always comes back to “them” doesn’t it? Who else can we blame? They’re lazy, don’t care, unmotivated, sneaky and just plain cheeky with their bad attitudes and poor performance. Always looking for a way out of work, they are, calling in sick, boycotting the work, gossiping and slacking off, but they always want more pay! They just don’t appreciate a good paying, secure job when they have one. Well, they won’t have one for long, if they don’t get their game in gear. But there it is. I said it. The word that changes everything. For them. For you. And it makes more impact than the best systems in the world because it taps in to the most creative resource you have at your fingertips. For free. Well almost for free, you’re paying for it anyway so you may as well tap in to it.

And what is that word? The one that changes everything?

Appreciate. Employees who feel unappreciated will drop their performance faster than you can say “bankruptcy”, and if lack of appreciation has been going on for a long time, it’s an uphill battle with complex challenges and emotional setbacks that work like roadblocks to great performance. When bosses face these challenges, they will typically resort to fear as the only motivator they have left. It’s a short term fix that won’t yield momentum for long, but If you haven’t completely broken down your relationships at work and you still have some semblance of decency and respect with your employees, it’s worth the time to sit down with them. Listen. Care. They have ideas that will rock your business back to the super highway of success.