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Questions That Get Results: Innovative Ideas Managers Can Use to Improve Their Teams' Performance by Patrick Connor, Paul Cherry

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Chapter 5. Questions That Motivate

When managers motivate, they inspire their employees to achieve truly breakthrough results. There are as many different ways to inspire employees as there are managers trying to inspire them! Some managers use contests, rewards, and/or bonuses to motivate their employees. Others use threats and punishments to keep their employees "in line." The one common theme that runs through all of business management, however, is that most managers do not ask their employees how best to motivate them. Instead, many managers end up playing a guessing game when it comes to deciding what will best motivate their employees—and, often, everyone winds up losing.

Here's a perfect example: Paul's client Rosa, the regional sales director for a Fortune 500 company, asked him, "Paul, what do you think about Jill's performance lately?" Jill was one of the firm's best salespeople; in fact, she'd recently celebrated her tenth year with the company. Paul told Rosa that whenever he had dealt with Jill, she struck him as a loyal, hardworking salesperson. Rosa agreed, but she was also concerned because the company had gone through a merger, as well as other complex changes, during Jill's tenure, and as a result it looked as if Jill was losing her competitive edge. Specifically, for the last three quarters, Jill's sales numbers had not been what they should be.

Rosa asked Paul, "What do you think we should do about Jill?" He responded to her question with one of his own: "Have ...

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