How to Increase Productivity – Without spending a Dime

blog030915As an Eagle Scout from way – way back in the 70’s, I recall working at a Boy Scout summer camp as part of its leadership team. We had thousands of scouts coming through our gates every week and after the first month, we realized we had to be on top of our game in motivating productivity in every scout to not only help them achieve their goals, but have an amazing experience at the same time.

Why should you care what happened to me in the 70’s… and how does it apply to your business in 2015? As leaders, we motivated thousands of teens and young adults without spending a dime. Boy Scouts remember, not-for-profit.

Here are a few concepts that worked well, even among rambunctious boys. As you read them, think about how they might apply in your organization.

Boredom is a tool of the devil. A group of scouts confided in me that when Big John was running the Start of the Day meeting that he was boring. I feigned incredulity and said, “Monotone, monosyllabic Big John? What are you talking about?” And then I told them they were right, and that they should elect one person from their troop to lead the meetings each day over the next 5 days. The only rule; keep it to under 15 minutes. And what do you know, 4 out the 5 days it was pretty fun stuff. Try it with your team; see what other kinds of potential leaders you have and watch the smile that comes over them they step into your shoes. Don’t let routine equal boring.

Our camp had a large lake and my groups swim time slot was 10:00am to 11:00am in a packed day of numerous events. Well, 10:00am as it turns out can be a cold swim, even on summer days. With so many scouts, the swim slots were pretty much set in stone, but we learned of a group that hated doing the ropes course at 4:00pm because the sun was killing their eyes, sucking all the fun out of it. We traded time slots and then just did the ropes course backwards so the sun was at our backs. Flexibility and Creativity, look around for opportunities to engage some flex and creative powers with your team.

A little info can go a long way. Right before an all-day horseback riding trip and campfire, I learned that one of our First Class scouts would be celebrating a birthday on the trip. Early that morning, I went to the kitchen and met with the chef to create a surprise. Later that night, around the campfire, everyone burst into the prearranged “Happy Birthday” song while I lit the candle on a cupcake that I had carefully protected from being crushed the entire trip. Needless to say, Mike was blown away that anyone even knew it was his birthday much less have cake in the middle of the wilderness. Learn your employee’s anniversaries, birthdays and other special dates. Personal Milestones, celebrate them whenever you can.

At the end of each week of camp, we asked that all scouts help us “police the area.” In other words, pick up all the trash that 10,000 scouts had inadvertently left laying around, along with a sock, canteen, scout pins, Frisbees, manuals and more. No one really wants to do this job, especially right before catching a bus back home. So I offered a few incentives. Trading scout pins is a big deal at these camps and leaders typically have one or two that everyone covets. So I offered my best pin up to whomever brought me the most items in 10 minutes. 2nd prize was a large bag of candy for the ride home. Incentives, even simple ones that really cost no money, can go a long, long way in motivating productivity.

To learn more about how you can Motivate Productivity without spending a dime,check out A Better Leader’s newest leadership training course. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for our free webinar this week to learn more about A Better Leader. As the Scouts always say, “Be Prepared!”

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Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.