Managing and Motivating Top Performers
October 24, 2023
Welcome back to Business Unfiltered with Mercer and Jeff Sauer today's topic is Managing and Motivating Top Performers
0:00: Mercer and Jeff Sauer define top performers as individuals who bring in significant results with less stress, providing an exponential return on investment. Both Mercer and Jeff have experience as top performers and have seen how managing and motivating them can go well or poorly, depending on the approach. Mercer felt restricted by new CEO's strategy, leading to departure from company. Mercer previously enjoyed autonomy and flexibility as top performer, but new strategy limited creativity and freedom. He realized company couldn't accommodate unique approach, leading to decision to leave.
5:22: Top performers and player grading in organizations. Jeff defines top performers as those who create their own standards and need input on the system to thrive. Sauer believes that top performers are often stifled in traditional corporate environments and may struggle to adapt to the real world outside of these structures. Jeff argues that A, B, C, D, E, and F players exist in organizations, with A players making roles significantly better and F players not belonging in the organization.
8:46: Motivating and managing top performers in the workplace. Jeff discusses motivating and managing top performers, highlighting the importance of understanding individual strengths and weaknesses to maximize their potential. Sauer shares his approach to managing a team member who excels in strategic work but struggles with tactical tasks, emphasizing the need to delegate tasks and focus on their strengths. Mercer values giving top performers control over their destiny, allowing them to have a say in their own management and development. Mercer recognizes the importance of two-way communication, where team members feel comfortable raising concerns or requesting more responsibilities.
12:50: Managing employees and motivation. Mercer: "What's motivating them? Where do they want to be in 5 years? How can we help them achieve their goals?" Jeff: "Managing is about clearing obstacles so they can be at their best. Not always about asking what they want, but getting what the company needs from them." Jeff shares his approach to developing and retaining top talent within his organization. He prioritizes hiring already formed individuals over investing in raw talent, as it's more cost-effective for the company.
17:09: Motivating employees and personal growth. Jeff emphasizes the importance of understanding an individual's internal motivations to unlock their full potential and drive growth for the company. He believes that simply offering monetary incentives or job security is not enough to motivate top performers, and instead seeks to connect their daily work to their internal power source for better results. Mercer reflects on his mentality as a manager, recognizing the importance of setting high standards and surprising individuals with personalized guidance. He prioritizes helping individuals achieve their personal goals, using their resources and expertise to co-plan and manage their progress.
22:21: Motivating employees through personalized approach. Jeff and Mercer discuss the importance of understanding an employee's personal motivations to improve their management style and increase productivity. Mercer emphasizes the value of asking employees what they want to achieve and how they can help them get there, while also considering privacy and scalability concerns. Jeff motivates his team by casting a vision for the company's future and providing meaningful educational training and resources. Sauer also focuses on individual motivation by understanding what motivates each team member and putting it in place. As the company grows, Sauer recognizes the importance of teaching management how to motivate and lead their teams effectively.
27:38: Managing top performers in business. Mercer: Top performers need to be invested in, not just given a new title and training budget. Jeff: Leading a team of 10-20 people requires visionary leadership and motivating the leaders who will do the leading. Jeff and Mercer discuss their management philosophies and share insights on visionary leadership.
Topics Covered In This Episode
- Defining Top Performers: Mercer and Jeff Sauer delve into what makes an individual a top performer - individuals who yield significant results with minimum stress, generating exponential ROI.
- Employee Grading: Jeff introduces the concept of grading employees from A to F, asserting that 'A players' are the ones who redefine roles for the better, while 'F players' may not fit in an organization.
- Tailoring Management Approaches: Emphasizing the importance of tapping into individual strengths and areas of growth, Sauer discusses the power of two-way communication, giving top-performing employees control, and helping them focus on their core competencies.
- Unlocking True Motivation: Both speakers stress the importance of going beyond monetary incentives, tapping into internal motivations. This involves understanding long-term goals of employees, connecting daily tasks to a larger purpose, and setting high standards alongside personalized guidance.
- Personalized Motivation Strategies: Sauer champions the value of understanding personal motivations at an individual level, coupling this with envisioning the company's future and offering impactful educational resources.
- Investing in Visionary Leadership: Concluding, both hosts emphasize the essence of visionary leadership, especially when leading a sizable team. The sentiment that top performers need genuine investment, not just a new title, stands clear.