Motivation is the way to have a winning team.

Have you walked into a business lately and seen framed posters on the walls that show high-impact photos of eagles soaring or jet demonstration teams zooming in tight formation or a big lion on the plains of Africa? Underneath the eye-catching photos are expressions and words of wisdom about excellence and winning and doing your best.

I see them more often these days; they get my attention and they are inspiring posters. I am sure the people in the business who see them everyday think uplifting thoughts from the messages.

I am sure you also have seen the drab office walls of many service and repair business shops. Maybe they have a few old wrinkled policy letters on them, or messages from the boss about what you should not do. Nothing motivating about that. In fact, the drab walls probably have the opposite effect - to depress the team rather than lift their spirits. We need to counteract those messages. What the surroundings look like do make a difference, along with the messages conveyed to the team.

It's our job as owners and managers of the business to keep the team motivated. Expecting them to keep performing at top levels day in and day out without support and motivation is like expecting your car or truck to keep running without fuel or oil. People need a boost, a new thought or idea, something refreshing, frequently. With it, they will continue to perform. And the good news is that it doesn't cost much, so the return on your investment is astronomical. Plus, there are many ways to implement your motivational nudges.

Let me give you some specific examples of the positive types of motivation that are really necessary these days to keep your team doing their best. (Notice I refer to them as the team, and they are a team, rather than just the employees or help or techs.) Going back to the posters I found effective, I suggest you check out Successories(r) on the Web (

The poster on excellence is a favorite: "Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities." We want our team to think like that. Maybe we can't always express the thought as well, but the goal of inspiring the people who come to work every day remains the same.

These expressions with a dramatic photo can't help but impact technicians and office people as they work toward the success of the whole organization.

More Motivation

There are so many ways to keep the team motivated. I don't want to limit your creativity, but I would like to give you more specific examples. One very simple idea is to have enlarged digital pictures of the technicians (smiling) on the wall.

A smile puts everyone in good spirits. Placing the photos near the dispatchers may keep them from thinking negatively of a technician regarding some oversight or from losing their patience on a day with a frustrating schedule. For a minimal cost, placing photos on the wall will return much in the way of positive attitudes. I label such a wall at Maio the "Wall of Fame."

These people are deserving of fame; they are the ones who made the business a success - or the ones who can make your business a bigger success. For a few moments every day they see themselves in the spotlight - a little fame - and it contributes to starting their day on a positive note, regardless of what else they have to think about or have on their minds. It will help a person forget traffic, weather and any other daily irritation.

Letters from satisfied customers can help, too. Showing people you will recognize them for the times they have excelled, spent extra effort, or just done a good job reminds them they are working in the right place and their efforts are appreciated. That expression of appreciation, which is something that everyone needs, will make the difference some day; could be they will not quit to go work elsewhere, or make them feel better when they are spending more time and effort on a job than they anticipated.

In Person

Going beyond pictures, posters, letters and commendations, personal messages can contribute significantly to a team's motivation and effectiveness. Rarely is an investment made for live training and motivation sessions without a noticeable return in increased productivity. There are many great speakers and motivators. Look for events that offer specific tips and relevant ideas.

Thousands of service and repair business team members have attended the Maio "Roadmap To Success" training program. And I have noticed the differences in their attitudes after completing the training; they are more positive and eager to implement new ideas. They are more excited about their jobs. All because they have been given a fresh look at how to do what they do, and how to not only do it better, but enjoy it at the same time.

You see and interact with the team almost daily. Take advantage of this time to offer positive comments to the team. Share their victories with the team members. Commend them publicly for their innovation and favorable interaction with customers. Though they may get to see a live motivational training program only a few times a year, they can see and hear from you every week - or every day.


Certainly highly motivated, happy, positive employees are more likely to make a greater contribution to your business - greater retention of employees, better work habits, reduced absenteeism, etc. However, a highly motivated team produces some additional benefits. They solve one of the biggest challenges I have been facing for many years: How do you avoid missed opportunities?

Once a technician and truck are on the job at the customer's home, most of the costs of acquiring the business are met. You already paid for the time and truck operating costs, so any additional business generated at this point is very profitable. Your costs are down; the customer is predisposed to do business with you; the work can be completed on the spot; and many of the technician's challenges (explaining pricing, gaining customer confidence) are eliminated. So this is the time to seek additional legitimate business. Everything is in your favor. The payoff is big.

Getting your technicians to seek and close these profitable jobs is one of the major payoffs for keeping the team motivated. A confident, skilled and trained technician will both know how to look for these jobs and want to look for the jobs. A pressured, run-of-the-mill technician may want to just get finished with the current job and get on to the next. Your business cannot afford to leave money on the table.

Your team's confidence and comfort in working with the customer will allow them to make simple inquiries about other household systems and ask how they are functioning. Spending only a few minutes on every call, they will be able to increase the average invoice of your company dramatically.

There is a good reason why these types of visible efforts for motivation are used by successful businesses. They know they work. Look at your walls again. What do you see?