Corporate Reward Systems Are Based On Fear

corporate reward

We Need to Rethink the Corporate Reward System

To be fair, it is not only the corporate reward system that needs a rethink. Our whole concept of rewards is based on making others believe they have something to fear or that they lack something. We have not yet reached the point where we truly understand what motivates people because we still believe in treating the symptoms and not the root cause of a symptom. 

Our rewards are set up as either, ‘do this or else you won’t get this’ or ‘do this and you will get this’. Most of us would say that only the first is governed by fear and the other is a rewards, carrot, based incentive. In fact, they are both fear based. The first one is based on fear of punishment and the other fear of lack. Rewards are essentially set up as competitions where the winner takes the reward. Competition in of it self is set up to create division and within many rewards systems you are competing against yourself. Division is the antithesis of cohesion, so what we have been doing all along is pitting everybody against each other, wondering why they don’t work as team. 

It has been shown time and time again that external rewards, such as money, privileged access, perks, etc. only work for a limited time and have to be constantly enhanced. Yet we never ask ourselves how we could do it differently, we keep coming up with the same solutions; throw money at the problem and it will go away, but it doesn’t. This is why we have ended up in the spiral with people just demanding more and more pay, even in the higher earning brackets, where all the comforts have already been achieved. Despite the increased standard of living people still claim they aren’t happy, why is that? Could it be that we are now evolving past attaching value to external things and are starting to pay attention to our intrinsic values? 

We now have a generation of youngsters nicknamed “Millennials” that anyone who isn’t one complains they can’t understand. What is different with this generation, as opposed to the regular griping of the older generation of the younger ones, is that they come into existence with a totally different collective consciousness (not scientifically proven, but shown anecdotally by extrasensory sensitive people and by theories based on old texts and cultures descriptions of our current age). Millennials do not respond the same way to old reward systems, to them it is more important with rewards that helps them evolve. Unfortunately, we have tried to fit this generation into our expectation of them instead of creating fertile ground for them to grow. This has made their upbringing very confusing and thus the higher tendency for this generation to find coping mechanisms in social media or something else. They do try to fit into our corporate rewards systems but they get disparaged quite quickly. I am simplifying the concepts very much here to set up the arguments further down, but, as averages, the concepts test well. 

We are all affected by this new collective energy coming in and we are all starting to lack interest in the external reward systems and looking for what feels authentic to us. Keep a person in an environment they lack passion for making them feel less than worthy and they will burn out, whether that is at work, at home, with a hobby, or some other situation. We now know that the old system giving people rewards that have perceived external values is treating the symptoms and not the root cause. They symptoms being lack of motivation, drive, loyalty, etc. We want to treat the core source of these symptoms. This is where you are going to have to dive deep and really get to understand what is the reason someone gets motivated. Below are some suggestions of areas that would motivate someone from a point of their internal desires:

  • Altruism
  • Learning
  • Self improvement
  • Teaching/coaching
  • Experiences
  • Work vs. life balance
  • Health
  • Well-being

We are starting to understand and value ourselves, giving us access to our authentic selves. Our external environment and our creations will have to reflect that authenticity. Anyone unable or unwilling to recognise and value that is going to fail at motivating anyone with that value system. 

Caring for those you are looking to reward is a first step. I am not referring to empty statements of concern or agreement with their plight, but actually tuning into their energy and truly knowing them and what drives and challenges them. This level of recognition requires a fair amount of courage as you may feel that you are getting invested. Once you have your boundaries set for this new style of relationship you’ll understand you don’t get invested just because you have a deep understanding of someone, unless you decided that is what you want of course. 

Secondly, you build up a reward system that appeals to the individuals based on how you know them. You of course need to find a balance of fairness between individuals, but since one person might not see a value in another one’s reward since they are personalised, this should not be a big obstacle.

You are now working on a deeper level of motivation and will find you are reaching your desired results with people that are more passionate and dedicated because you genuinely cared and provided rewards that were of true value to the individual. You aren’t just putting plasters (band aids) on the problems, you are solving the root cause eradicating the problem all together.

This, my friend, is a reward system that has longevity and will foster an environment that the right people are drawn to, making recruitment easier, creating a closer knit group, and a plethora of other benefits that you get for free.

You attract things and experiences that match the vibration you emanate and group energy is no different and it is your responsibility to calibrate that collective energy. 

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

To Fear or Not To Fear – Is That Really In Question?


Unless You Are Staring Death In The Face Right Now, No, It's Not in Question

Fear, what is it really? It is a state of mind that comes from our learned behaviour. You aren’t born with pre-existing fear for anything, you learn to fear things, situations, people, etc. The ultimate fear is death, which is inevitable after being born. Fear was used in less secure times to protect you. This learned behaviour exists in your subconscious, so that when you had a sabre tooth tiger chasing after you, you didn’t have to think, you could just react and get yourself to safety. The same way you don’t think about breathing, pumping blood around your body by contracting your heart, etc. 

What’s happened over the generations since we actually had threats of being mauled by sabre tooth tigers is that we’ve replaced real threats to our lives with perceived ones:

  • Work hard or you don’t make any money (i.e. you can’t feed yourself and you die)
  • Fear God or you will end up in hell after you die.
  • Be attractive or you will end up alone.
  • Don’t speak your truth because then people with think you’re crazy.
  • etc.

These are the ones we are told. You then have the plethora of conclusions we draw as children about traumatic experiences relating to; love, connection, belonging, unity, security, etc. 

The fears we experience as modern evolved humans are far more commonly related to future events as opposed to facing death in the very moment you experience fear. We generate fear based on assumptions about people and situations. Basically we fear an illusion that has not happened and might very well not happen! Crazy, isn’t it? The political climate we are witnessing right now should make this craziness quite obvious to us and we should all be able to act to remove this illusion of fear from our very beings, right? Most of these fears are far enough away from our reality that we have to take someone else’s word for it; fearing minorities, immigration, trade imbalances, etc. This is how politicians manipulate us to follow them, irrespective of party affiliation. We make a conscious decision to buy in to these fears. If the issue that you fear is close to your person, e.g. unpaid bills, family illnesses, divorce, etc, they are harder to see as illusions as they are actual threats to the stability of your life, not a threat to your actual life, just life as you have thus known it. 

The ultimate fear is death. However, do we even have to fear this finality of our very human experience? A friend of mine always says:

“The most dangerous thing you can do in life is to be born.”

Isn’t this the truth, huh? So, why would we even bother fearing the inevitable? It will come one day, so why don’t we make the best of the time we have here? Many must experience some form of dying to realise that there is nothing to fear. Basically, when you are faced with stepping into the unknown from a life that you have known dying behind you, you are experiencing something akin to a near death experience. Your old life that you knew is dead and you are in the void between the moment of death and your future; the present! That is when you realise you have nothing to fear, you’ve survived “death” so nothing life now throws at you will be big enough to overcome. 

Until that moment most of us will avoid taking risks and stepping in the unknown because of fearing what will be on the side of that threshold. We would rather hang out in our mundane existence than take the risk that there is a something better on the other side. Who knows, it could be worse! I would argue that as long as you pursue your passion and follow your heart and gut you will never end up worse than in the place where you are stagnating. If you rid yourself of your fear, that leap of faith will be a foregone conclusion. In that state of fear you build up a negative reality because you are not living an authentic life. The fear will kill your joy of life.

I went through that process of a ‘near death’ that I describe above and realising that as long as I wasn’t dead I was alive and I owed it to myself to make the best of it. Friends have told me I need to keep some elements of fear otherwise I will end up on the street. Oh, ye of little faith. Removing fear from your life opens the floodgates to your intuition and bliss that is your natural state of being. Remember, fear is a learned behaviour and we were not born with it. Intuition we were born with and it gives you guidance in a similar way that fear does in a situation of a threat, but just far more beneficial and accurate. Fear doesn’t care what lies ahead, it is concerned with protecting you right now. Intuition does the same thing, but has a focus on the results of your reaction and thus allows you to act with integrity and authenticity. Hence, removing fear has not put me on the street, it has set me up to leading a rich life benefiting those around me. 

Try this exercise. Write a list of all your fears on a piece of paper. Now, cross out all fears that are not associated with an  imminent threat to your life. No, unpaid bills are not imminent threats. Ok, are you left with anything? If you are, then run for your life! Even if you have a terminal illness, you are still alive and have a fighting chance! Remove your fears and focus on what you want in life and fill it with passion, joy and bliss. 

Side note: Fear, like anger, is a very short lived condition that results in an adrenaline shot to your system to overcome the threat you are under. If you’ve seen an antelope, zebra or some other animal being attacked by a predator, they rush into action and run for their lives for only a few minutes until the danger has passed, they then return to grazing like nothing has happened. Animals don’t attach themselves to the fear, they use it to survive and then move on.  So when you experience that really unnecessary fear, just observe it and understand why it appeared and then let it go. Breath and relax and it will pass. 

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

External Approval for Self-Acceptance


If You Don't Accept Yourself, Nobody Else Will Either

On what do we base self-acceptance? Under what circumstances do you say; “You’re doing well. You are making the right choices. You rock!”? 

Unless you are on the path of self healing you are unlikely to utter any such glorifications about yourself. If you do, it is in agreement when someone else directs it towards you. Basically you feel you need permission from someone else or any other external factor to show yourself appreciation, love and kindness. Let’s try something before we go on; Go to a mirror and look yourself in the eyes. Take a few deep breaths and really look into yourself, then, with feeling and purpose say, “I love you!”. Repeat it a few times. How did it feel? Were you able to hold your own gaze? Were you able to show yourself love? It is tough one, isn’t it?

Due to minor and/or major traumas in the earlier parts of our lives we have raised defences in our subconscious that result in negative self talk. We limit ourselves so not to experience the pain of failure. We tell ourselves the stories that prevent us from progressing. Progress we must or else we stagnate and lose our passion and spark for life.  The lack of self-acceptance inevitably creates the search of external acceptance; if others accept me, I don’t have to. 

Illusion time! If you are unable to love and accept yourself, other’s will only accept you when you meet the criteria of what they expect from you. As you can see, in this situation others do not accept you, they accept the image of you they hold, which they created, not you. The only way for you to fully accepted by others is to achieve self-acceptance. Only when you accept and love yourself unconditionally will others see you for who your truly are and you will attract those that appreciate that version of yourself and they will love and acknowledge you for who you truly are. 

There is no other more important process for us to live successful rich lives than to practice unconditional self-acceptance. I read a book earlier this year called “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” by Kamal Ravikant, and it was profound in it’s simplicity. It is a book I use in my coaching due to the very simple yet powerful messaging. The key here is that when you shift your attitude to self-acceptance and to loving yourself, you eradicate any ill opinion from the outside because to you there is no question, you are loved by the one person who really matters; you! Don’t worry, this is not going to turn you in to a narcissist, unless you already are one, in which case you already love yourself, but for all the wrong reasons. Your propensity for kindness, goodwill, love, etc. increases with your ability to love yourself, it is the ultimate perpetual motion. 

Now that you are full of lust for life, passion and bliss you will engage in your work/creation without effort as you are no longer seeking the approval of everybody else. You are creating for the purpose of you own progress and evolution, not for any extrinsic values that are fleeting at best. It is your soul that is now being nurtured. 

Go love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Healthy Key Performance Indicators – It’s Not About the Money

Key Performance Indicators

Happy, Passionate and Committed Staff Feed Your Bottom Line

Who primarily benefits from traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)? It is the beneficiaries, i.e. shareholders, of the business that reap the monetary rewards from the toll or the operational staff. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with stakeholders getting return on their investments, it would be wrong if they didn’t. However, traditionally we have looked at KPI’s as tools directly linked to the bottom line; how can we increase the revenues? visit more clients! We need to visit 20% more clients to increase our turnover by 15%, you recognise it I am sure. However, we are neglecting the human factor when we set these goals. We have the same attitude to our staff as we do with the environment; it is a never ending resource, if one is used up, another will come along.

Richard Branson famously said that he puts employee first because if you take care of your employees they take care of your clients. To do this you need to create a business that embodies the focus on the employees and that there is a real trust and understanding that the focus and care is genuine. Measuring their value against monetary success doesn’t achieve that. Let’s have a look at how this focus will change how you view your KPI’s

Entrepreneurs don’t need KPI’s normally, at least not when they are starting out, they are driven by passion and determination. Is it possible to have a company full of employees that operate with that same passion and determination as an entrepreneur in the start up phase does? For us who experienced the .com Boom in the 90’s know that it is possible as these companies were full of creative people with a passion and drive to build something from scratch. I know there are a fair few out there that wish they could experience that again, and I think we can.

Of course there are counter arguments:

  • Businesses need money to thrive
  • There are many that want the jobs, but not that many that want to invest.
  • Money motivates people
  • If we don’t control the input we can’t control the outcome
  • It’s too risky
  • If you coddle staff they will just keep demanding more.

Changes and risks go hand in hand, but if we don’t make changes we are bound to fail as we stagnate and the world moves past us leaving us to wither. My earlier point is that the passion and creative energies alone allow you to reach your goals, which will result in monetary rewards (do what you love and the money will follow). Money only motivates people until they have used up all the stored energy they have. If you don’t have a balance between satisfying the interests of your key constituencies you will lose one or several. So, yes, coddling staff could mean that you get taken advantage of, which is why you need to transform the business before embarking on any change.

So for us to move towards a place where we implement healthy Key Performance Indicators we need to first take the business through a process of fundamental change. We will need to move staff and managers away from the traditional business practices and to do that we have to shake up the foundations. Core changes in attitudes, beliefs and expectations will take place.

The process of discovering and healing your business’ energy imbalances has no formula, it is a unique process for every individual and every group. However, some important elements that will be part of every case are:

  • Providing tools for how to deal with fear and anxiety
  • Waking the individual up to their value and responsibility
  • Make each person realise their energetic impact on the collective energy
  • Education of how to direct energy towards positive thoughts, words, deeds and actions
  • Improving empathy and engagement in the business, its values and community
  • Changing individuals attitude and approach to interacting with colleagues, managers, clients, suppliers, etc.

When you embark on the process of profound change in your business there will be periods of pain and resistance. It is only natural as you are moving away from what is familiar to something that is not yet known, it is imagined, but not known. Constant reinforcement of the goals with the process is important to alleviate the challenges.

Of course there is far more to the process of change than what I described above, but, for this exercise, you only need to understand that it is needed and what we seek to achieve with change. If you try to implement wellness and mindfulness based KPI’s without change, you will fail miserably. Staff and managers have to have an innate sense and knowledge how the new KPI’s will benefit the WHOLE business before implementation.

In your new business that has a balanced collective energy with individuals that respect themselves and others and with a new commitment to the business you are ready to set new goals and success indicators. Below is a simple formula for tying in your KPI’s top to bottom and back again:

  1. Define success for your overall business without using numbers. The definition will be closely related to your USP (unique selling proposition) and your Mission Statement.
  2. Break down that success statement for each area/business unit. Don’t forget to define success for management as a group as well.
  3. Set ‘soft’ Key Performance Indicators against each groups success statement. By ‘soft’ KPI’s I mean make them human focused. For example, in customer service you might previously have had a KPI relating to how many calls a rep should handle each day. Now you might want to change that to ‘ratio of positive client outcomes against number of calls’. You have changed your KPI focus from efficiency to client satisfaction. 
  4. Bring all the KPI’s together at the top level and compare them against each other and against the overall success definition of the business, do they correspond and relate to each other? Do they feed the same idea of success? If not, tweak them and bring them down on a group level again to ensure they match the group success definition. Fine tune this back and forth until  it fits perfectly.
  5. Finally set success definitions for the business as it relates to its people and the community. You may want to be on the forefront of wellness and reducing sick days in the business, you may want to help reduce pollution and wast in your area, etc. Set KPI’s against these goals.
  6. Set up plans at every level to achieve the KPI’s, allocate resources towards those plans and follow through with accountability and rewards at the goal line.

If you have succeeded in the programme with changing your business and implementing ‘soft’ KPI’s, you will be doubly rewarded through your bottom line as well as a staff that is happy and healthy and as committed and passionate about the success of your business as you are. 

Don’t be afraid to talk about monetary performance and success/failure, but always use it against the back drop of your new Key Performance Inidicators and your success definitions.

Go out there, be happy, passionate, committed and make some money while you’re at it.

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Corporate Altruism – Benefits to Both Karma and the Bottom Line

Corporate Altruism

Evolve Your Company to a New Level

Corporate Altruism has an immeasurable positive impact on the business organism. It has nothing to do with a company giving money to charity, that has very little effect on the business, apart from helping the charity and getting some brownie points. No, what I am referring to is hands-on direct involvement by staff and managers. 

It has been scientifically proven that there are numerous benefits to an individual when getting directly involved with altruistic work. In the Mental Health Foundation’s report from Mental Health Awareness Week 2012 we find many beautiful case studies and stories about what helping others does for a person (click here for a link to the report). There are also several sources backing up the benefit claims below:

  • It makes you feel good!
  • You feel connected.
  • You feel worthy and valued.
  • You view your own life from a less judgemental point of view.
  • It lowers your stress levels.
  • It helps clear negative energy and feelings.

As we know scaling anything up to a group level, where the group might not be in harmony, is not the easiest. However, it is completely doable. Below are some considerations to take into account before proclaiming your plan and foray into corporate altruism to your company. Make sure these are planned out and incorporated in the messaging to your staff. You need to make sure you get everybody on board from the get go. I have personally seen where numerous attempts to get an office involved has fallen flat on its face every time due to sloppy communications.

  • Pick the projects through democratic means.
  • Plan something on a regular basis without making it the company business.
  • Set aside one work day per occasion to engage in corporate altruism (not a day when staff is off).
  • Assign the person who has a particular passion for each chosen project as the project leader to organise the involvement.
  • Assign wall space for telling the story of the company’s altruistic activities.
  • Create an internal and external/social media communication plan.
  • Stay with the programme and do not let it fall by the wayside. 

Putting your eggs in several baskets

Not everybody is going to be all-in with every chosen charitable project, so you need to make sure the focus changes often, if not on every occasion. In order for each member of the company to commit fully to each project, everybody needs to know the causes they are passionate about will be chose as well. The crux is that you will have people who really don’t feel anything for any charity. You need to identify those people and just casually and privately challenge them to think of injustices they see in the world. It could be homelessness, terminal or debilitating illnesses, abuses, research into fringe subjects, etc. The main idea is to make them think in terms of who they would feel passionate about being helped and if they would like to be that person. Be careful to stay away from political and heavily religious actions as they can cause friction and have an adverse effect to your desired goals. Also, if someone does not want to participate in a particular project on religious, political or any other grounds of personal convictions, don’t force them, but allow them participate in an appropriate substitute. 

Benefits to the group dynamics

Once you get your group to actively involved in the altruistic projects you can watch with pure joy how the individual as well as the group energy grows. In addition to the benefits on an individual level previously listed you will realise the benefits on a group level:

  • Improved cohesiveness
  • Group connectivity
  • Collaboration
  • Group empathy
  • Enhanced collective creativity and intuition 

These projects become, in effect, team building exercises where you do not have to put an effort into create the tasks, they are simply part of the experience. The individuals will evolve, but so will your group. 

The  benefits to the bottom line of the business should be rather obvious  at this point. However, it should also be obvious that the return on the investment is immeasurable. You not only get to experience a group dynamic that is more vibrant and alive, giving your company improved quality and productivity. Below are some further benefits:

  • Fewer sick days.
  • Improved mental well being.
  • Increased commitment and loyalty.
  • Improved customer service.
  • Less conflict.
  • Appreciation of the present moment.

Creating the self perpetuating evolution

To ensure the sustainability of the benefits there has to be repetition, memories and encouragement. You need to drive the continuation of these programmes and projects on a regular basis. Make sure you take charge to integrating the programme into the DNA of your company, through broad buy-in at every level. Put the achievements in front of your staff on the walls, in newsletters, in social media, etc. Making each individual proud of their participation and achievement and reinforcing all the positive impacts it has had on them will help rewire the neurological pathways to create lasting and positive change. 

Oh, and someone more challenged in this life than you and everyone of the people in your company will benefit on a whole other level by what you do. Is that perhaps a reason enough to make the investment?

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What’s the “Return On Investment”? – If You Don’t Know You’re Not Ready

return on investment

Turn Traditional Valuation Methods on Its Head

When Bill Gates and Warren Buffet pledged their life savings to charity, do you think they sat down with the heads of the various charities and said, “What is the return on my investment”? Of course your business is not a charity, but the parallel I am drawing here is that they knew exactly what the return on their investment was to be; a better world. They would of course question the head of the charity on how they envisioned creating a better world and then assess if it aligned with their own vision.

When you invest in getting an office environment that is creative, vibrant and alive, you may not be able to say, “We expect an annualised return of 25% of this investment”, but you will be able to say that your staff and your managers will have the drive and passion to create success. The definition of success is very much in the intention that you set when you have an office that is fully aligned with their purpose.

When James Clerk Maxwell theorised in the 1870’s about radio waves he did not theorise about the return on his investment, he was in the pursuit of knowledge and advancement of humanity. When you look at the dysfunctionality of your business I am sure you focus on the bottom line and wondering how you may save your business. However, your passion is not money and thus you cannot align yourself with it. It may be the result that wealth has that you aspire to, or the lack of it that you are trying to avoid. When you focus on money in your business you are pushing your valuable energy in the direction of either materialistic values (external) or fear (negative emotion of lack), neither of which is going to get you what you want. You need to focus on what your true passion is; the creating! As per the example above, Mr. Maxwell focused on his passion and the monetary values were secondary, or a byproduct. The paradox is; the more you focus on the money aspect of your business, the more you will struggle to attract the success that brings you wealth. 

 I am sure you have heard the wisdom “Find your passion and the money will follow”. According to the “Law of Attraction” we attract what we are, so if you are passionate about what you do, you attract positive outcomes because passion carries a positive vibration. If you, however, are focused on negative values attached to the money aspect of your business you will attract more challenging scenarios. If you are only one sole operator, you can pretty easily work on yourself to align your mindset to your true desires in order too raise your vibrations. What happens when you have an office full of people that bring their own vibrations and experience to the collective energy? You now have to get all these individual energies to align with the passion to drive the success of your business.

The graph at the top of the article is a model I developed to show how to approach any group of people that need to work towards a common goal. As you can see, you are investing in the influences (the satellites in the model) driving people’s vibrations up or down. Improve the influences and each persons’ vibrations increase, thus creating an upwards vibrational movement of the collective energy of the group. When you improve these aspects within a business, each staff member will increase their own passion and drive for the business. You gain more efficient and loyal staff members who are only to happy to work towards the same goals you have. In some cases the staff member will realise that it is not what they have a passion for and leave, which is equally beneficial since an energy that was not making a positive contribution to the collective energy is now not contributing towards the vibration going down. It is critically important for us to instil in each person that they are only responsible for maintaining their own vibrations (actions, thoughts and words) at the highest levels. Instilling this mindset will allow each person to look within and stop focusing on their external environment. Once you take the external pressure away from a person they can focus on the present releasing the past and  without judgement embrace whatever the future might hold. A lot of people do not pay attention to these values until you point it out to them and show them the results it has on them. We need to give each person the tools to work on themselves to fulfil their end of the bargain. You are investing in tools.

When you have gone through the process and your staff is trained you will the the transformation take place before your eyes. You cannot measure it yet, but when new business comes through the door and you produce better services/products and you are, as a team, reaching new creative heights, you will also notice the change on the bottom line. 

Ask not what “Monetary Return On Investment” you will get, ask “How will this raise our staff’s individual EQ (Emotional Quotient)?”. NB. with EQ comes awareness of ones own (and other’s) vibrations and thus the ability to raise the same. 

Go out and make this a better world for all of us by being the best you can be.