Be a Star? No, she wants to be a Rockette!

Being a star gives you one kind of thrill. Karen Ziemba has starred in numerous Broadway shows. And yet as you see in this clip, what she really wants is to be a Rockette. To be part of a team. And not just any team, she wants to be one of the best.

One of the best ways to motivate your people is to offer the chance to be part of a respected, high functioning team. People want to associate with the best, because that’s how most people see themselves.

You can motivate people to do their best, give even more than they think they’re capable of giving and accomplish superior results by giving them a chance to work with the best people in your organization. After a taste of working with staff at the highest level of your organization — and I mean expertise, not necessarily hierarchy — your employees will want to continue to associate and team with those people.

Use the power, the attraction, of the team to motivate superior performance. Watch people raise their game and dedicate even more of their talents to your company because they’ve been exposed to and given the opportunity to work with the best people you have. The added benefit is that soon you’ll find that you have more of these high functioning people to team with and motivate the rest of your staff. Teamwork can actually become a cornerstone of your organization’s culture as staff work harder to maintain that reputation of being one of the best. Nobody wants to fall out of step and everyone will be smiling and kicking just like the Rockettes. And what they’ll be kicking is your competition’s butt!

I Wanna Be a Rockette!

Like millions of Americans I started my Thanksgiving watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I love the floats, the bands, the balloons and my favorite part, The Radio City Rockettes. Their precision, their style, their dancing, it’s all perfection. I never get tired of it.

I started thinking about the Rockettes. They are all superb dancers. You don’t get to be a Rockette if you’re just good. You have to be more. Any one of them could probably be dancing on Broadway, with one of the world’s major dance companies or in the ballet. You have to be able to do it all to be a Rockette. But these incredible artists give up their individual dreams to be part of something greater. They are part of the world’s foremost precision dance company. They give up a lot.

Are your employees willing to make that kind of sacrifice? Managers I’m working with often tell me they want their employees to be “team players.” I respond by asking, “what does that mean?” What does it mean to be a team player in your organization? To me a team player is someone who’s willing to sacrifice. Someone willing to let their colleagues shine. Someone willing to sublimate personal success and recognition for the good of the department or the organization. It’s a sacrifice fewer and fewer people are willing to make these days. It seems everybody wants to shine, to get their 15 minutes of fame.

Except the Rockettes. They understand the value of belonging to this elite group. They take pride in being part of a tradition that extends back almost 100 years. They feel a responsibility to themselves, the group and to each other to never be out of step. Sure, I’ll bet there’s one who can kick higher than any other. But you’ll never see that happen in a performance. The performance of the group is more important that any one person’s glory. Your job as a manager is to instill the same feeling in your team. Next post I’ll offer a few ways how.