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Last week I contrasted the jobs in a large company to the more collaborative engagement in a startup business. It’s not necessary to be a startup, of course, it’s just easier because that’s where new ideas can take off and flourish.

I had a chance recently to talk with a lady in another country who works for a company which connects global contract workers with part-time roles in larger companies. If you’ve used a remote Virtual Assistant, that’s what I’m talking about.

Sure, that lets you outsource tasks to get cheaper labor. We’ve been doing that for decades. But in this case, there’s a larger driving purpose behind it.

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Last week I talked about poor Valerie. She’s a solid worker, but isn’t bringing much loyalty or passion to her job. It’s just a job.

Across the street, though, we have a small startup company of 8 people who are now getting traction. It’s a small enough group that they know each other fairly well, so their teamwork is pretty darned good.

And they’re not afraid to embrace new ideas. It’s part of their culture, after all.

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Valerie has a pretty decent job. She’s pretty good at it, having been in the position for four years now.

It’s not inspiring, but hey, it’s a job.

So how much creativity and productivity do we think she’s devoting to her work?

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I’m a member of a local organization of professional coaches. We recently had a very powerful meeting, and one of the attendees described it in a way which really stuck with me:

“An encouragement based community.”

In fact, that does describe how I feel about this group. More importantly, it got me thinking about how we often use “support” but not “encouragement.” In groups, communities, and the workplace.

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We’re all looking for the magic key to managing employees. But despite all the support, the benefits, the encouragement … they never seem to care as much about the business as you do.

That’s natural. They haven’t poured their heart and soul into it for as long as you have. And, if you’re the owner, you may have your entire life savings tied up in this.

But it is possible to tap that energy, that passion, that caring.

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You’ve probably heard the stories by now. An employee just chooses to disappear one day without a trace. No contact at all.

It doesn’t really matter where this phenomenon came from. What matters is what it tells you about your organization. And yes, it really hurts.

There are a few reasons why someone would do this to you:

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Like most people, my values have changed quite slowly during my life. I can identify a few distinct places where values shifted – like when I graduated from college – but it’s not common.

As I’ve aged, I’ve become clearer about what my values are – but it’s more about learning who I am, not becoming a different person.

When you’re looking to hire great people, this is a critical observation.

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A recent Gallup paper concluded: “When your best employees are not engaged, they are as likely to leave your organization as your employees who tend to have performance issues and are unhappy.”

We can all understand how your under-performers will look for opportunities elsewhere. And, honestly, you don’t worry so much about them, right?

Good riddance. They weren’t delivering that much for me anyway.

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You know exactly why employee motivation matters. Productivity. Teamwork. Customer service.

But I run across a whole lot of people who don’t know how to build and nurture that innovation. They think it’s just a magic thing that some people have and some don’t.That’s why I was excited to read Why Managers Must Ask 5 Questions to Empower Employees, one of Gallup’s top 2018 reports. It’s practical and powerful.

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At some point, you reach the end of your knowledge and expertise. You’re feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Especially if you feel you have to be the expert in the room.

The simplest, most powerful way out of this problem is just to … admit it. Tell the others that you’re at the end of what you know and need help.

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