My weekend started on a very high note. I was travelling to Kerala on a family trip and was extremely excited since I would be trekking for the first time! On the way to Kodanad, at the outskirts of the jungle, we came across a small board that read PET Training centre. Curious to know more, we sneaked inside to take a look. I was amazed at the large open fields and neatly maintained lawns. We also noticed some beautiful horses running around playfully. Once the master trainer blew his whistle all the horses came to form a straight line and stood still. It was a treat to watch those pretty animals line up together and do exactly what was asked.
My curiosity finally got the better of me, when I saw a couple of horses to run, stand, jump, and raise high at the sound of the whistle. What was interesting was how these horses diligently listened to the trainers and followed every order without a single head toss. I wasted no time in taking an opportunity to have a quick chat with these trainers. They were very calm and composed on the field; when I asked them what their secret was, they told me about a ‘pill’ they use to get these horses do these tasks. The ‘Well Done’ Pill.
I found the concept rather interesting and realized this ‘pill’ can be used even at work with human beings to motivate them. After all, aren’t we always looking for a quick – fix to tackle demotivation?
The Well-Done Pill has the following compositions -
A – Appreciate Affirmative Performance (AAP)
The trainers at the PET Training Centre make it a practice to appreciate and reward their horses for their good performance. They are given sugar or salt cubes, apples or even carrots as recognition for their great performance. This keeps the horses motivated and they aim to repeat this appreciated behavior. Appreciating affirmative performance is one of the key compositions of the Well Done Pill.
How does it help us at work?
It implies that we focus on what people are doing well at work and how their unique strengths and talents contribute to their small achievements. However, the way in which we share this appreciation must be heartfelt, only then can it bring out the best in any employee. A useful tip here could be to recognize what you want to see more of in your business. Sometimes materialistic rewards can act as a powerful motivator too!
4 million employees worldwide surveyed by experts about the importance of praise and recognition, found that employees who receive regular praise are more productive, engaged and very likely to stay on with their organizations. The survey also projected that these employees received higher client satisfaction scores than their counterparts. What was interesting was that these employees were even found to enjoy better health than their disgruntled colleagues.
B – Build Confidence
At the training centre as I was watching the horses jump the fence for the first time, they seemed to be nervous, but also made those jumps successfully with their focus on the trainer. I realized that they had a lot of confidence in their trainers and trusted them completely. Maybe it was this confidence that allowed them to follow orders without protest. I later learnt that building confidence is another key composition in the Well Done Pill.
How does it help us at work?
In a dynamic world that we work in, we deal with many challenges like changing situations and conflict, which may lead to distrust among the team. It could be one of the primary reason for demotivation. This is where our confidence level and trust cannot falter; it is easy to overcome any complex situations by trusting the team members and keep the rigor going.
It was reported that 55% of CEOs think that lack of trust and confidence is a threat to their organizational’ s growth in one of the 2016 Global CEO survey. However, most have done little to increase trust and confidence, mainly because they are not sure where to start.
C – Consequence Management
One of my finest revelations at the PET Training Centre on the ‘Well – Done’ Pill was when I noticed a fine brown stallion run away from the fence to enjoy a snack near his stable. When I turned to watch the trainers reaction, I was surprised to see him offer the horse a little sugar cube!
I later learnt that these trainers do not discourage or punish the horses when they stray from a goal. Au contraire, they ignore the negative behavior and control the distraction by redirecting the horse’s energy to something they’re already good at. Managing negative situations effectively thus becomes the last element of the Well – Done Pill.
How does it help us at work?
It is important to monitor any negative energy we may feel at work, if not channelized effectively it could be infectious and disrupt the workplace. This, in turn, may lead to unproductive grumbling and whiling away of time. The key here is to remain grounded. The final component to the ‘Well Done Pill’ is all about looking out for opportunities to encourage and appreciate positive things at work.
According to Linda Chalmers from the University of Texas-San Antonio, once an employee with negative energy is hired, employers will have to deal with this negativity and remove it. Keeping positive energy flowing will create a more productive, enjoyable workplace for everyone.
The Well-done Pill supports the Whale done approach by Ken Blanchard. It can act as a quick fix to tackle demotivation, help us build positive relationships, build dynamic organizations and achieve greater results.
Have you wondered what it could be like to have an environment where everyone is genuinely excited about work? If you’re looking to make that a reality - I hope the ABCs of ‘Well Done Pill’ work for you, as it did for me!