Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Moving Their Cheese

At work, I've been tasked with getting the help of our executive assistants to help me build our database. The idea is that each time their executive goes to an outside meeting and collects a business card - they ask for the card, fill out a form, and it goes into the database to build our mailing lists.

I really only have 1 ("M") of the 10 assistants helping me at this point, and I sort of started a little game with her - when she was the first person to turn in a form - I googled crowns, and sent her a picture of a crown... and called her "Princess of the Day." It was a HUGE hit with her, and ever since she gets upset if I don't send her a crown for every form that she fills out. I've had to slow down a bit because I'm running out of good crown pictures these days.

"M" has printed all of the pictures that I've given her and has a display of them in her cubicle... it's funny, but it's working - at least for her!

So I opened this up to the entire group of 10 of them... and got some real crowns... so if they turn in the highest number of forms for the week - they get to keep the crown for the next week. Right now - this same lady is the only one with any hope of getting it, but she LOVES it.

Another one of the assistants, "C", told me that the sad thing is that M is the only one that cares... which is sad to me... but not for the same reason that "C" thinks it is sad. I think its especially sad because "C" is in my own department and doesn't care a lick about doing something that she just might get in trouble for if our boss finds out that she's not doing it. I talked to a co-worker of mine about it and she thinks it's just that she's jealous of "M" getting the attention... but who knows.

It is just funny to me that grown adults can have this much fun joking around over a dollar store plastic crown!

So - what do you think would motivate the other 9 people to get in there and help me? What moves your cheese? (Does anyone out there know about that book?) I'd say that work doesn't move my cheese, but I do have the interest in doing the best I can at whatever task I'm given... so I try to make it fun and I take pride in getting it done well. I'm not sure that everyone from my generation feels the same way... clearly - given the response to a new task.


  1. Recognition is a motivator for everyone! Some people won't care about recognition in the form of a crown, but they might like a hand-written post-it thank you or something else like that. Maybe if you even sent an email at the end of the week "Hey C--thanks for the 4 entries you made this week! You're doing great!"

    I don't know, but for me personally, all recognition counts!

  2. I hate to say it, but it's the truth - money talks and so does food. Sometimes you've just got to straight up bribe 'em with the best! I offered to bring in cookies for one of my crews if they would turn in their paperwork in a more timely manner. So far, they have and I didn't even have to give them the cookies! Just the idea of it psyched them up! Maybe a small amt gift card or something homemade at the end of the week would be a nice treat they might enjoy. If you have the authority, you might even offer to give an extended lunch break or leave early incentive.


Thank you so much for your comments. I really enjoy getting feedback on my writing!