Who’s Your Glue?

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Here’s a “glue clue” for you!



Someone in your family or on your business or advisory team is the one who most holds you and the million little pieces of your business enterprise together. Who? How? Why? What have you done for her or him lately?

Did you know that small, frequent rewards (and typically inexpensive ones) are at least twice as effective as one large one? Did you know that cash –even in this struggling economy– is not always the best reward? Have you discovered (or been reminded lately to re-visit) Maslow’s Hierarchy?

After many decades, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory continues to be business’s most effective tool for motivating employees, partners, referrers and sales personnel, among others. No need for a degree in nuclear reactor dynamics to put this classic theory to work for your small business.

It simply takes a sense of diligence 

and a little detective-type methodology.


When you make a habit of taking ongoing temperature readings of, for example, employee hot and cold buttons, you gain a sense of what makes each one tick and how various life changes impact attitudes. This gives you leverage for better motivating because you can reward someone’s performance with what that person values.

All of us are located somewhere on the Maslow Hierarchy ladder (or pyramid as many management textbooks illustrate it. At any given moment in time we are either at a level of basic physiological needs, or safety needs, or social needs, or esteem needs, or we are at a point of self-actualization.

We move fluidly back and forth between these different need levels according to our daily (sometimes hourly)changing life circumstances. A person who has achieved a state of self-actualization, who is feeling self-fulfilled could tumble back down to a basic needs level in an instant.

Consider how fast your brain snaps back to basics as the result of a family death, a bankruptcy, an accident, a job-firing . . . from really, any kind of loss.


After years of having no financial worries, putting food on the table can become a sudden challenge. Having a neighboring home or business robbed can immediately cause someone at an esteem level, who is excited about winning recognition, into a security needs frenzy, shopping for insurance, alarm systems, new locks, a fence. 

If you can be aware enough of changing need levels for individual “glue people” who help hold you and/or your business together, you can reward each –at her or his personal level– for maximum impact. An esteem-needs person will often be more receptive to a plaque, a news release feature, or a certificate than to a cash bonus.

Someone struggling with car issues will appreciate new tires, an oil change or gas allowance. One successful business owner covers the cost of braces for a low-salaried employee’s teenager. Another sends top sales people on limo trips with spouses to shows and dinner (less expensive than permanent salary and commission raises).

The point is to pick out rewards that fit the person and the circumstances instead of making across-the-board judgements about what you think will motivate best. And don’t automatically assume it’s money. In fact, by targeting rewards to individuals, you can save huge amounts of money and earn great appreciation in the process. 


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  Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

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