This post is based on a #FlipMyFunnel podcast. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.
A few weeks ago, we did an episode about forcing functions. The LinkedIn messages, emails, and comments just keep rolling in, so we had to revisit this topic and dive into forcing functions just a little deeper.
We shared secrets on what it takes to continually motivate your team with the right amount of challenge, tempered by celebrating milestones along the way.
I even pulled out some lessons from NFL player Reggie Rivers and shared what he’s learned about comparing your business environment to an athletic event.
Don’t miss this second take on forcing function, and how it creates the team mentality that delivers results.
(If you missed the first episode on forcing functions you can find it here.)
This was a power-packed episode, so let’s dive into the three ways you as a leader can motivate yourself and your team:
Rolling Thunder: Schedule revolving deadlines around activities that move the market.
An important part of forcing functions is creating deadlines. (Quick recap from the earlier episode: Deadlines keep the team focused on what’s most significant right now.)
Rolling thunder doubles down on this concept. It’s all about scheduling repeated deadlines on a revolving basis. Specifically, you want scheduled events that regularly renew your team’s energy and focus toward what will move your market.
First and foremost, you must consider: How do I keep a “rolling thunder” of activities that will get my market to react?
You can scale this concept from an individual level to a company-wide initiative.
For example, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff uses rolling thunder to categorically schedule a market-moving goal every month that interests his entire industry.
He literally has a calendar, and each month focuses on one majorly impactful item — in January they’ll announce a new partnership, in February they shout out to their biggest new client, in March they have a conference, etc. This is how Marc Benioff focuses team efforts on continuous, rolling deadlines that create market awareness.
But your “market” could also be your employees: Rolling thunder doesn’t have to be externally focused.
So, another way to deploy rolling thunder is via a weekly all-hands meeting. People work differently and think differently when they see a deadline, especially when they know it’s recurring.
Big rocks: Stop the boredom, find a challenge
These are the 10x bets that can mean hockey stick performance, big partnerships, integrations, or maybe even one huge customer success story.
Here’s the issue: To-do lists become normal. Developing content can become passé. If you’re going through the motions, checking off the boxes, and following tasks rather than leading with vision, you don’t have a big rock. And, unless you have one big rock that you are personally moving, a present problem, a challenge, a solution, something you’re tackling, boredom is quick to sink in.
Get a big rock. Fast.
Create a big rock if you can’t seem to find one: Find a customer you are determined to see successful, come alongside them, and then develop a case study.
The interesting fact is, when you do have a big rock, your day-to-day activities actually become more enjoyable, because all the small things no longer have small value.
Small wins: “We don’t just cheer for touchdowns.” — NFL Play Reggie Rivers
I had a chance to hear Reggie Rivers speak at a conference once. Well, actually, we were both giving a talk. (For the record, if you’re speaking at the same event as a star NFL running back, don’t be the speaker who talks directly after them.)
Reggie Rivers said something that still hasn’t left my thoughts: On a team, you cheer for everyone, all the time, for everything.
You cheer for every yard gained, every tackle, every pass, every run. The entire team is on the sidelines, shouting, rooting, hollering.
Teams don’t just celebrate touchdowns — Everyone can celebrate touchdowns.
But your team celebrates everything.
In business, we too easily focus on closing big deals, or when giant gains come in one big move. Then, we suddenly sound the celebration alarm.
We often forget to notice and cheer for the small victories, the ongoing successes.
Last tip, and a challenge
A last piece of advice: Going off the “small wins,” lesson, there’s an easy way to apply that concept right now: Give some kudos to customer success.
They aren’t on the frontlines when a million-dollar deal is landed, so their efforts go unseen. They’re obviously an integral part of the team, but far too often they see others holding up all the trophies. Give ‘em some love.
So here’s the challenge today: Find one way you can give a shout-out to that hard-working team member or group that’s in the background, away from the limelight.