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7 Tips For Motivating Your Team (Even When The Going Gets Tough)

“ When people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organization and team they work with, and prioritize their work around those top priorities, not only are they many times more productive, they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life.” 

Stephen Covey'

You can spend months defining your team’s core values, articulating your Mission and Vision, and fashioning a flexible, up-to-the-minute strategy — but your whole tower will crumble if your team members don’t feel motivated enough to execute rapidly and consistently.

If their collective attitude boils down to “Who cares?” then you’ve lost the game before you’ve even begun.

If that’s true, then who’s at fault?

Well, you can blame your team if you like. You can even punish them for being unmotivated — a dangerous form of self-sabotage that will most likely force you farther toward failure. Or you can decide to shoulder the responsibility and work to engage your team and rev their motivational engines.

 

7 Tips For Motivating Your Team (Even When The Going Gets Tough)

The Lowdown
“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” So said legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, who had plenty of experience with both commitment and motivation.

The son of a second-generation Italian-American butcher whose business prospered during the Great Depression, Lombardi grew up with daily exposure to the type of commitment required not just to survive but to thrive during hard times. He later earned a football scholarship to Fordham University, where he picked up the skills necessary to excel as a coach at West Point, and later with the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and Washington Redskins.

What can you do to inspire your team to the Lombardi level of commitment? Start by showing them you believe in them; you are going to hold them to a higher standard, because you have confidence they can achieve it.

Try these tips, especially when the going gets tough:

 

1. Make sure everyone understands the big picture
If your team isn’t already familiar with the organization’s main goals, then lay them out in plain language.

Show them where they fit within the organizational structure, and why their work moves everyone toward those goals. Make them feel valued, so they’ll have reason to engage with and “own” their jobs.

2. Give them what they need
If team members lack the right tools or training, they may not feel capable of or confident about doing the tasks you’ve assigned them. Whether they need training, a new computer, a smartphone, or a better printer, make it happen, so they can move forward with confidence.

If they express a need for something to help them be more productive, and you fail to provide or approve it, they soon will stop coming to you with improvement ideas.

3. Plan carefully
Because long-term strategies rarely survive their first brushes with reality, you’ll need to collaborate with your team on how to best achieve them, because they probably know best. Review the plans and get everyone involved in how to proceed.

Give them active, important roles in building those plans, as well as controlling deadlines, scheduling, project management, and scope creep.

4. Establish performance goals
Provide reasonable objectives to shoot for, both as individuals and as a team, but make everyone stretch a little to reach them.

The goals can take the form of quotas, profit margins, commissions, projects completed early and under budget, or whatever else matters to your company or team.

5. Provide tracking metrics
Along the way, show them how they’re doing.

If the team realizes they’re they front-runners in a company-wide sales race, for example, they may work extra hard to stay there; or if they’re in second place, they may redouble their efforts to take first.

Consider it a report card for the team, one that may inspire them to kick it into high gear.

6. Be there for them
Lead from the front, ready to smooth the path and provide anything they need to in order to execute.

During a crunch time or crisis, roll up your sleeves, and work side-by-side with them until everything’s back to normal.

7. Celebrate successes
When something goes right, even something small, make sure your team knows you appreciate their efforts.

Public pats on the back are cheap, and in some cases, just as effective as cash. You can also provide treats for the break room, or take everyone to lunch when things go well.

 Flávio Rodrigues Vieira Flávio Rodrigues Vieira
Analista de negócios / Business Analyst • Mainland 3

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The Chinese billionaire who wants to out-Tesla Tesla

Jia Yueting has all the trappings of a successful Chinese tech entrepreneur with global ambitions.

A self-made billionaire who got his start as the IT guy at his local tax bureau, Jia’s flagship internet-video company now sports a $15 billion market capitalization and a buy rating from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Donning hoodies and t-shirts, he boasts of plans to take on Apple Inc. in smartphones and surpass Tesla Motors Inc. in electric cars. Jia’s Faraday Future has lured staff from Ferrari and BMW, and won the backing of Nevada’s governor to construct a $1 billion auto plant in North Las Vegas — about 400 miles from where Tesla broke ground on a giant battery factory in 2014.

Yet for all of Jia’s accomplishments, the 43-year-old tycoon has failed to win the confidence of one key man. Dan Schwartz, Nevada’s treasurer, says he’s skeptical Jia can secure financing for the car plant, a project that needs government support for power lines, water mains and roads. Schwartz, the former CEO of a private-equity research firm in Hong Kong, wants more transparency on the funding before signing off on state bonds for $120 million of infrastructure improvements.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Challenger in China Plans to Debut $106,000 E-Roadster

The crux of Schwartz’s concern is Jia’s reliance on equity-backed loans, a financing strategy that could leave Nevada taxpayers vulnerable to the whims of China’s volatile stock market. Jia has pledged 87 percent of his holdings in Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. — his flagship firm — for cash that he then plowed back into his companies, regulatory filings show. The stock, which was halted in Shenzhen for the first five months of 2016, has dropped 11 percent since it resumed trading on June 3, a move that heightens Schwartz’s fear that a margin call could prevent Jia from funding the plant.

 
Yueting Jia during a discussion titled 'Ecosystem Of The Future' as part of the 20th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum at the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Center.
IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES/STOYAN VASSEV/TASS
“You can see where this leads,” Schwartz said in a phone interview. “His Internet company is successful, but that doesn’t generate the billions of dollars he’d need. Where’s he going to get the money?’’

The financing questions surrounding Jia’s foray into the U.S. electric-car market are becoming more common around the world as China Inc. embarks on an unprecedented overseas shopping spree. The nation’s firms, which boosted outbound direct investment by 62 percent in January-May from a year earlier, are branching out even as rising debt levels and weak profits at home cast doubt over their ability to secure stable funding.

Financing Plans

Faraday, whose 1,000-horsepower concept car has drawn comparisons to the Batmobile, says it has the full support of Nevada’s governor and is pushing forward with the city of North Las Vegas on infrastructure planning. The 800-employee carmaker — a separate company from Leshi that’s majority-owned by Jia — has sought to address Schwartz’s concerns, but could “technically” build the plant without the state bonds, Faraday spokeswoman Stacy Morris said in an e-mailed reply to questions.

 
Jia has invested more than $300 million of his own money into Faraday and the firm will announce a round of outside funding within weeks, said Winston Cheng, a former Bank of America Corp. investment banker who now runs corporate finance for Jia’s companies. He said the size of the funding would be “meaningful” and come from Asian investors, while declining to provide more details.

“I don’t understand why he’s trying to kill these high end jobs in the state of California and Nevada,” Cheng said in an interview, referring to Schwartz. “It baffles me.”

Goldman Bullish

City, county and regional government agencies are already working with Faraday on infrastructure for the plant, and the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development has approved funding for worker training, the GOED said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg. Tesla — which is named, like Faraday, after a 19th century pioneer in the field of electricity — declined to comment.

SEE ALSO: Tesla’s Deliveries Miss Due to ‘Extreme’ Production Ramp-up

Leshi, the publicly-traded centerpiece of Jia’s empire, shows few signs of financial distress. Profits increased 20 percent in the first quarter, while its quick ratio, a gauge of the firm’s ability to meet obligations over the coming year, is in line with the median for Chinese companies as a whole, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Leshi’s Altman Z score, a measure of bankruptcy risk, suggests trouble is unlikely.

 
Visitors look at FFZERO1, a Faraday Future's concept car, during Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on April 27, 2016 in Beijing, China.
IMAGE: VCG/VCG VIA GETTY IMAGES
Analysts are bullish on the stock, with 9 of 11 forecasters tracked by Bloomberg giving it the equivalent of a buy rating. Goldman Sachs issued a price target of 70.22 yuan on June 22, or 35 percent above its Monday close. The bank declined a request to interview its Leshi analyst.

Investors are less sanguine, with Leshi shares sinking for six straight days after they resumed trading last month. At 105 times projected earnings for this year, the stock is more than twice as expensive as the median China-listed company. The firm has recorded negative cash flow for the past two quarters, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Shares slipped as much as 0.9 percent on Tuesday, before closing 0.4 percent higher.

Stock Loans

“It’s a matter of time before problems emerge,” said Wang Zheng, the Shanghai-based chief investment officer at Jingxi Investment Management Co., which oversees about $300 million and is avoiding Leshi shares in part because of concerns over its financing strategy. The company’s high valuation reflects the appeal of “concept” stocks among Chinese individual investors, Wang said.

Jia and his family have pledged about $5 billion of Leshi shares as collateral for loans, amounting to a 35 percent stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the company’s first-quarter report. Jia also sold 2.5 billion yuan ($375 million) of Leshi shares in June 2015 and lent the proceeds back to Leshi to "relieve the company’s financing pressure.” He later entered into a contract with an asset management firm to exchange 100 million shares, or about 5.3 percent of the company, for cash that he then lent to Leshi interest-free. Jia pledged to repurchase the stake after Leshi repays the money.

“The company is capital strapped,” said Dai Ming, a money manager at Hengsheng Asset Management Co. in Shanghai.

State Politics

For Schwartz, Jia and Faraday Future need to explain more clearly how they plan to provide stable financing for the Nevada project. Only then would he consider supporting a state debt sale to fund the plant’s infrastructure. He said it’s his role as treasurer to bring the bond before the state’s board of finance, whose chairman is the governor, for approval.

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