Hallelujah! It’s official – 2013 was the first full year of economic growth since 2006. For many, this is only being felt as a gentle ripple or two, but somewhere on the horizon the big waves are forming and you need to be sure your team is ready to ride them in with style. It has been a long, hard winter in the western hemisphere, but rather like the gardener who uses the cold months to prune back the dead wood in readiness for a glorious set of blooms when the sun shines, your team is honed and ready to thrive in the economic sunshine. Though you might find it needs a little fertilizer (and we’re not talking manure) if it’s to win best in show. So enough of the mixed metaphors – let’s think seriously about how you can motivate your people to propel your organisation to the best place it can be in this regenerating economic landscape.

Regardless of regional economic ebbs and flows, the global business panorama is shifting fundamentally, relentlessly and rapidly. Driven by huge demographic shifts, economic realignment and technological advancement, the international competitive playing field is stretching and levelling out. Customers’ needs are evolving swiftly and companies must radically alter their mode of operation in almost every industry and region of the world. As the business environment morphs, employers are demanding new skills and talents from their employees and are often finding them in short supply.

In a period of sustained and constant change, agile and creative thinking and the ability to adapt and prepare for multiple scenarios are vital elements in your team toolkit. The capacity to build complex relationships across a diverse, global network (including suppliers, customers and colleagues) is also a necessary prerequisite for success. Sounds simple in theory, but creativity and being nice are tricky to teach.

Employee motivation is another aspect of modern team management that is also undergoing a rapid state of flux. While money is an important motivator, beyond a certain point financial incentives can have a negative impact upon the impetus to strive. A team must be motivated and energised as individuals within a cohesive unit: money can be extremely divisive if used as the principal means of reward. Each member needs to feel assured that everyone is aspiring to the same goal of delivering the best outcome for their customers, and contributing to the team effort to the very best of their respective abilities. There is no room for passengers, Machiavellians or the vainglorious.

So, you know that good times are on their way, that the world is brave and new and that you have a core of excellence ready to zip up their wetsuits and start paddling out to catch a wave or two. But to make sure they do it with a little more aplomb than the competition, they will need help to be true to themselves, their team and their clients. They need to be given the freedom to be the very best that they can (which might involve a little training on new industry dynamics and process) but, what they need above all else, is to find the confidence to know who they are, why they’re still where they are and how they can make a difference. They could do with a bit of a creative boost, so that they can blossom in the sunshine and surf the wave. Metaphor mixing done. Upping Your Elvis could help set them on their way.

Matt BoltonMatt Bolton, Partner, Upping Your Elvis (www.uppingyourelvis.com)

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