Transform Your Workplace into a WorkFORCE with One Simple, Affordable Secret

It’s not the latest song from the soul of B.B. King, but here’s how the 5:01 blues goes at most small businesses today . . .

4:59, everyone is poised and ready. 5:00, the work day ends. 5:01, your employees rush out the door-nearly tripping over each other-to give their time, and energy to something that REALLY motivates them.

And that’s not your business.

You, however, will not be home until well after dinner and just before the kids are in bed. Only to work some more as you’re watching David Letterman.

Here’s what the Gallup Corporation found after interviewing 10 million employees worldwide: • 55% of all employees are not engaged at all in their work • 16% percent of workers are actively disengaged • Only 29%, less than one-in-three employees, were fully engaged at work

In other words, if you have 30 employees, only 9 of them are really working for you, while 16 of them are cruising on autopilot and 5 of them are actively working against you!

What’s a small business owner to do? You need people to get the job done, but the people you have don’t get the job done! There’s no heart, no intensity, no passion in their work.


There is a secret, a simple affordable secret. that will transform you workplace into a true workFORCE. It is the power of positive praise.

The carrot and the stick have proven to be poor motivators because they do not move people from within. What will motivate people from the inside out, and allow you to stop singing the 5:01 blues, is positive input, encouragement, and genuine appreciation. When provided on a regular basis, work becomes a place people enjoy coming to instead of just putting in their time.

“Because of its power, ridiculously low cost and rarity, praise and recognition is one of the greatest lost opportunities in the business world today,” write Gallup researchers in 12: The Elements of Great Managing.

In other words, a passionate workplace is a positive workplace where praise and recognition is given freely.


1. Make it TRUE.

Don’t’ make things up, people resent that. Find things to praise by changing your focus to catching people doing things RIGHT rather than wrong. Then tell them how much you appreciate it.

2. Make it SPECIFIC.

“Good work!” however well meaning and sincere, will fall on deaf ears. State specifically what it was that made the work good. Specific praise is powerful praise.


Some people love being praised in public, others hate it. Some read every note and card they get, other throw them in the trash. Everyone has a different praise “language.” Find it and use it.

4. Make it CONSISTENT.

More research by the Gallup Corporation uncovered that the best use of praise and recognition in the workplace is once every seven days. Make it one of your top things to do that gets checked off every week.


One of my business coaching clients recently shared with me the story of the greatest day in his professional life. He had crushed his sales number for the year and earned the highest award in his division for sales. At an end of the year banquet, he was brought on stage and cheered by his peers.

When the applause died down, his manager said, “Everyone knows this is a very hard job to do and none of us could do without the support and sacrifice of our spouse.”

This brilliant boss had the sales person’s wife come on the platform and she received a standing ovation. To this day he still chokes up a bit telling the story.

Do you think that salesman had a difficult time being motivated to work for his boss? No way. In fact, after that event he would do anything, ANYTHING, for him.

It doesn’t cost a thing to thank someone or to praise them in front of their peers. It costs only pennies to send a handwritten note and only a few dollars to unexpectedly give someone a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

Yet in every case these actions have an amazing effect on people, transforming your workplace into a true workforce.