The Reindeer Remedy: Encourage Employees to Become Rudolphs this Holiday Season (Doing So May Save Your Company in the New Year)

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This has been an especially tumultuous year in the business world. Now, all many companies want this holiday season is a sure-fire way to increase profits. Just wishful thinking? Not necessarily! Authors Cyndi Laurin and Craig Morningstar say the secret to great profits involves a certain famous reindeer and the discovery that the solution may have been right there all along.

The more innovative the business culture, the easier it is for Rudolphs to contribute business-growing innovations and solutions to their company’s bottom line.

As another year draws to a close, managers and business owners everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief that they survived the recession of 2009. And if there’s one thing that’s on every business owner’s wish list this year, it’s big profits in 2010. But if that idea seems far-fetched, “Think again,” say Cyndi Laurin and Craig Morningstar, authors of The Rudolph Factor: Finding the Bright Lights that Drive Innovation in Your Business (Wiley, July 2009, ISBN: 978-04704510-3-8, $21.95). They recommend turning to the folks who deliver for their companies every day—employees.
Every organization is full of what they call “Rudolphs”- people who are true agents of innovation. They are highly-engaged, creative thinkers that populate approximately 10% of every organization—and for the most part, their talents go untapped.
“Rudolphs either let their nose glow, or they cover it in mud so as to not create any career-limiting moves with their non-traditional ideas,” says Laurin. “The more innovative the business culture, the easier it is for Rudolphs to contribute business-growing innovations and solutions to their company’s bottom line.”    
Here are twelve new ways to motivate the Rudolphs in your organization:

Give them ample time to shine. Employees are best suited to uncover the solutions that will make their organization a success. It’s important to give employees plenty of time to brainstorm their bright ideas.

Include Rudolphs in the reindeer games. Start listening to the unlikely voices within workforce. Include workers in strategy meetings, and ask for their opinions. This helps to generate solutions and innovation.
Be on the lookout for a red nose. Rudolphs light up when talking about their work. Look for a face that is shining bright and listen for a passionate voice, and that will be the person who can help guide the company through those foggy nights.
Keep their curious spirit alive. Rudolphs ask a lot of questions. It’s important to understand that when employees are asking questions, they are engaged and generally trying to gain a better understanding of the company’s goals, which should be encouraged.
Don’t put Rudolphs (or their ideas) in the corner. Rudolphs have a natural tendency to see their world through a lens of potential and opportunity. Encourage this type of thinking by listening to their ideas.
Congratulate them on a job well done. Recognize their good work. It will keep them motivated in the long run.
Reward Rudolphs with action. Encourage all employees to share their ideas, and have a system in place for reviewing them.
Encourage the herd to be a team. Make sure that the doors of communication are open, and let them collaborate with one another, so that ideas can be shared, refined, and encouraged.
Be willing to branch out from the eight known reindeer. Many employees intentionally stop sharing ideas if their work environment is not conducive or if the perception is that management doesn’t care. This can result in “million-dollar” ideas forever locked in people’s minds.
Give them some ownership over the workshop. Rudolphs are natural entrepreneurs, a quality which is a great asset to an organizational team. Employees will feel a greater sense of ownership over the business that they work for if they have a basic understanding of the organization’s strengths and challenges.
Let all your reindeer lead the sleigh (in their own special way!). Rather than looking at leadership as a position on the organizational chart, encourage employees to lead from where they are.
Always offer your Rudolphs the resources they need. Give them the tools, training, and resources they need to contribute to the organization’s bottom line.
“Rather than simply hoping for the best in the New Year, take action by harnessing the power of creativity and innovation from the people right under your own nose,” Morningstar concludes. “So when you see those red noses shining bright, why not give them the chance to guide your company’s proverbial sleigh this year?”

About the Authors:
Cyndi Laurin, PhD, is an author, international keynote speaker, and founder of Guide to Greatness, LLC. She specializes in process improvement and performance management. She is also the bestselling author of Catch!
Craig Morningstar is an experienced senior-level executive whose background includes positions at Southwest Airlines and Charles Schwab. He is also an entrepreneur who has founded, operated, and sold several companies.

About the Book:
The Rudolph Factor: Finding the Bright Lights that Drive Innovation in Your Business (Wiley, July 2009, ISBN: 978-04704510-3-8, $21.95) is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797.

For more information, please visit http://www.TheRudolphFactor.com.

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Charity Hand

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