Today, I stumbled upon a dissapointed entrepreneur. An entrepreneur with a warm heart for his team, which got broken last week. Yep. These happen at work too: broken hearts. Trying to sweep the pieces together, I listened to his story. His vivacious story.
After some rough months, stuffed with a lot of hard work and reorganizing, this man got back on track with his company and his team. Added some new faces to put up with the fresh growth, and they luckily blend in great. This got him started with some nice rituals in his team, ending the workweek with drinks and laughter.
These good vibes felt great and led the entrepreneur back to his good old roots: being an incompany "Santa Clause". More drinks and food arrived every Friday, trips to restaurants got arranged, movie theaters visited. Last week even a huge game table arrived at the office, with a joyous company Santa Clause smiling big time next to it.
That same day, the team got back at the office after a rough day. There was no place for the renewed joy anymore. "What a horrible work we had to do today", was the red line of the complaints. "If we could only get $50 extra for this day, but no way this is happening."
Santa's smile down the drain. The Santa suit right behind it. Just received the age-old employee confirmation: you will never do it right. Straight into your entrepreneurial pocket.
As a matter of fact, they should have received this $50 that afternoon. Say what? Yes, I know you feel they do not deserve this, these ungrateful humans. But by providing so many benefits during the previous weeks, things got out of balance. It's all about balance and the earning of rewards.
People get spoiled quickly. As Mahatma Gandhi already said: "Earth provides enough for every man's need, but not for every man's greed." Therefore, creating a positive culture is not about giving a lot. It is about giving the right thing at the right moment. Know what the needs are of your team members ("What would make you really happy today?") and know when they have earned it ("Yeez, you rocked this team project!"). Create a culture in which one wants to work hard for the team, because they care about the team, and surprise them with unexpected, irregular earnings.
So let's take these learnings, leave your Santa beard in the closet and get to that game table with a smile and a friendly ear.