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Non-monetary rewards a staple of Founding Fathers’ success

Posted By By Jess Myers, RPI, Friday, March 17, 2017

The importance of finding non-monetary ways to inspire people isn’t a new concept. If George Washington was here today, even 200-plus years after his death, he could tell you as much.

During a brutal Revolutionary War battle in the wilds of New Jersey, stuck in a valley between Princeton and Trenton, Washington offered his rebel troops a fiscal incentive as he pleaded with them to join him in a dangerous advance against the British. No one took him up on the offer. He tried again, appealing to their love of country and family, asking the men before him to take up arms against their numerically superior foe one more time. The inspiration worked.

“You can’t motivate people. That comes from within,” said Kevin Ames in a recent webinar for RPI members. “But you can inspire them. You can’t drive engagement, you can only inspire it.”

Ames, the director of speaking and training for O.C. Tanner, has more than two decades of experience working with companies on how and why to inspire their employees to do great work. He stresses that relationships are more than the bank account -- the heart and soul are where you make true and lasting connections with people. In his hour-long talk, Ames listed six key influencers that lead to success in employee recognition and rewards.

  • Purpose – Identify and articulate a higher a purpose, then connect people to that purpose.
  • Opportunity – Make sure people have the opportunity to learn, grow, contribute and be recognized for their achievements.
  • Success – This comes in many forms, including financial, environmental and social, but above these, cultural success is the greatest.
  • Appreciation – For their psychological survival, people need to be understood, affirmed, validated and appreciated. Recognition of this is the most important factor in producing great work.
  • Well-Being – More than just a health concept, this encompasses all dimensions of body, mind and spirit.
  • Leadership – A successful leader is one with impact, influence and inspiration as their key strengths.

Ames engaging talk used not only Washington’s battlefield success, but simple examples like the work of shepherds leading their sheep from the front to higher elevation pastures where they are naturally reluctant to go on their own. Straying from the path helped the shepherds find abundant food – one of the key elements to their health and well-being.

The full webinar is available online, free to RPI members.

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