When you are planning out rewards, you need to very specifically tie each reward to the zig or the zag you are heading toward. I always establish timeframes, often in the form of quarterly goals. When we make our quarterly goals, we sit down
as a team and decide what we want to accomplish. Once we have established the goal, we spend almost as much time discussing what reward we will get when we achieve the goal. Then we make signs and post them all over the office, with the goal written out over a picture of the reward.
One of the signs I used in our office had a picture of people snowmobiling. We titled it, “Plowing our Way to Victory.” Around the picture were listed the goals of getting three new clients and having a financial target of monthly recurring profit. Another goal was to hire one more engineer and to retain another engineering client.
For the business my son and his friends work on, they helped me develop a very specific goal if we hit certain targets. They then posted pictures of the cruise ship we would all board if they met their goals, and also the ports we would visit. Sure enough, each of then achieved their goal, and we went for a one-week cruise.
As you set long-term goals, don’t overlook the need to reward yourself and your team along the way. These in-between rewards are ones I like to keep random. Then, when I see a team member doing a particularly good job at something, I will hand them a pair of movie tickets or a gift card. The other day, we sent one of our contract employees a special “thank you” that he was not expecting. Ever since then, he has gone over and above on the work that he does for us because that little reward meant so much to him. Sometimes, random rewards will actually mean more than guaranteeing a treat when you push the same button over and over.
The work you’re doing is challenging and difficult, and as you hit each zig you take a break from the intensity, celebrate, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Then you can do a little jump and turn your skis in the other direction toward the next goal. We humans do have some things in common with my little salivating dog. When we align our efforts with little treats along the way, our resulting behaviors will lead to the achieving of our goals. The rewards make all of the effort worthwhile.