August 2006

Olympic motivational speaker Ruben Gonzalez

6-year-old Gabriela brushing her teeth this morning…

The time… 7:21 AM. I heard some noise in our bathroom, grabbed the camera, and caught a great Kodak Moment. Gabriela, our six-year-old Princess, brushing her teeth on her own initiative. That’s right! No one had to tell her to brush her teeth!

She pulled the toothbrush out of her mouth and with a proud grin said, “Daddy, I already made my bed, got dressed up, brushed my hair, and brushed my teeth! I got 3 stars!” Gabriela doesn’t usually get up until 7:30 AM and she got all of that done by 7:21 AM!

We’ve been working long and hard for this moment. We’ve used several simple techniques to motivate Gabriela to do her “chores” on her own initiative.

Techniques that will work just as well to help you motivate your employees, your teens, or yourself to take positive action and develop good habits.

1 – Clear Expectations – Gabriela knows exactly what her daily duties are. In addition to brushing teeth, cleaning her room, and getting dressed up, she has to pick up her toys, read 30 minutes daily, and do it all with a happy heart. NO WHINING!

When people know what is expected of them, they know where they stand and feel more secure.

2 – Positive Reinforcement – Gabriela earns stars on her chores chart for accomplishing her tasks. If Gabriela earns 7 stars in a day, she gets an extra bedtime book read to her (that takes care of immediate gratification). If she earns 34 stars in a week, she get to go to the ice-cream shop (which is a big deal around here, because our kids don’t ever get much candy or colas).

People will work hard for a prize. Give your employees incentives for measurable increases in production. Give yourself incentives as well. It’s human nature to no want to do the grunt-work necessary to succeed in life, so we have to give ourselves short term prizes for doing the work.

3 – Negative Reinforcement – When Gabriela disobeys us, we nip it in the bud. If the whines about anything, she loses a star.

People will do more for negative reinforcement than they will for positive reinforcement. Gabriela understands that when she obeys, good things happen and when she disobeys, bad things happen.

4- Praise and Encouragement – We are constantly looking for opportunities to catch Gabriela and Gracen (our 21 month old son) doing something good. When we do, we shower them with praise (the praise must be earned by a good deed, otherwise it loses value).

Most people will work harder for some sincere praise and some public recognition than they will for a raise. Praise your people and praise yourself. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself for doing the right thing.

Always reprimand in private and praise in public. What do you think this post is? It’s a major public praise for Gabriela. The whole world now knows that we are proud of her for behaving like a big girl and for taking the initiative to do her chores without us having to tell her…

***By the way, I encourage you to congratulate Gabriela as well by clicking on the “comments” link below and writing her a quick note…

5 – Create a Culture of Success – Gabriela knows that Gonzalezes always pursue their dreams, they set goals, they don’t quit and they don’t whine. So there is an air of expectation around our home that that’s just how we are.

You can create your own culture of success in your home, in your office, and in your business.

Start implementing these simple techniques, and before long, you’ll notice your people taking more responsibility and taking more initiative for their work. Everyone will be more proud about what they do and everyone will be happier.


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez