Monday, May 17, 2010

A Motivational 360

I'm coming out of the closet to profess my love for  A risky move for a coach, yet there it is.     

This love affair began back in the 1990's when a peer from my customer service management team sent me a link with the poster you see here.  "Customer Disservice - We're not satisfied until you're not satisfied."  I've been hooked ever since.

My friend knew I was having a tough day with a particularly difficult client.  All the positive energy available to me had drained away, and I'd reached the moment when you know it's either laugh or cry.  I prefer a good laugh.

I like to call this a "Motivational 360" - a humorous twist that takes you 180 degrees in the opposite direction, but because of the timing and the delivery, you actually keep going and end up back at motivated again.  Along the journey, you vent some dark emotion, laugh at yourself, and then go back to business as usual.  

This can be a highly effective tool when used properly.  For example, say you're trying to engage a team of leaders in a dialogue about a difficult subject.  Show a few of these posters, let folks loosen up, and maybe even laugh a little.  Create a safe environment where people can let their hair down.  Then, ask which one of these posters best reflects a real situation going on for them right now.  Once you get a few people talking, it's not long before others join in and you're having meaningful dialogue.

Here are a few do's & don't for using this kind of technique:

DO use this with a skilled coach or facilitator.  Used improperly, and some team members may get stuck wallowing in the 180 degree turn, or Demotivation.

DO use this with a seasoned team who are all well aware of the issue you are trying to improve or resolve.  A more junior team may not be mature or experienced enough to understand the underlying intent of moving the group forward.  As a result, the information could be shared after the meeting in ways that you had not intended.     

DON'T use this with outside vendors or customers.  This is a tool for internal teams where a trusted and confidential dialogue about motivation and change is the goal.

DO be cautious when using humor when you have a diverse cultural group.  What an American finds amusing could easily be viewed as inappropriate or even insulting in another culture.

DON'T just use it and then lose it.  It will only be positively impactful if the dialogue drives meaningful sharing that leads to action steps and eventual change.  If you start it, finish it.

If you appreciate wry humor, I think you'll enjoy a tour of .  Even their FAQ page is entertaining.

Here's to some humor and some motivation in your week.

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