“Sharing the Sandbox” — How to Motivate Your Employees

Running a business is not just challenging, stressful and exhausting. It's a tremendous vehicle for creativity -- solving problems, creating new products or services, finding better ways to do things. Your business is a creative "sandbox" for you to play in.

Creativity isn't just for artists. In the business world, creativity needs both sides of the brain: the right side, for the ideas, and the left side for the discipline, patience and orientation to detail needed to implement the idea.

You've probably already discovered that you can't build your business all by yourself. What's worked for you ? I've seen owners stress themselves by keeping the creativity -- and the credit -- for themselves. This becomes increasingly difficult to do as a company grows.

I once owned a growing company -- The Well-Bred Loaf, Inc. -- a baked-goods manufacturer that grew from two people baking in a tiny apartment to a 120-person company producing $10 million worth of cookies, brownies, blondies and cakes per year in a 40,000 square foot factory. Growth. Excitement. Creativity.

How did I do that? Not all by myself, certainly.  I had a business partner to share the workload.  I hired people who at the time had experience I lacked, and welcomed their ideas and input.  In fact, what I found was this:

The best people to help you succeed are those people who are motivated by being a part of "making it happen."

And how do you, as an owner, help get them involved in making it happen ?

You don't need to ponder, "How do I motivate my employees."  By sharing the sandbox -- listening to the ideas these "key" people provide, incorporating their recommendations (when appropriate) into company decisions, and letting them share in the fun, in the satisfaction of knowing that they helped the company succeed.  They will motivate themselves.