How to “Zap” Executives Out of Their Comfort Zone

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, leaders must stay motivated. Motivated leaders consistently seek out new ideas to improve the business and are very aware of what the competition is doing. They enjoy what they do and are willing to take risks. They set the example for others. When you have motivated executives, you have motivated employees.

If your executives seem complacent, here are three proven strategies to “zap” them out of their comfort zone and get them motivated again.

The Weakest Link: Call an executive meeting to discuss the budget. Announce that you are cutting an executive position due to financial constraints. Throw them a ‘curve ball’ by instructing them to select the person who they consider the ‘weakest link’ and should be asked to leave the team. Have them submit a name, along with the reason for their decision.

Once the choices have been made, each team member will be instructed to call that individual and explain the circumstances that led up to their decision. Only you, the executive group leader, will know this exercise is a training technique. You really won’t let anyone go, but it will shake up the team and make those who aren’t pulling their weight aware of where they stand in the eyes of their fellow teammates. This will motivate them to get back into gear and give the extra effort necessary to take up the slack.

The Presentation: Give each executive a month to prepare a strategic plan on how to double the size of your business in five years. Then, surprise them by setting up a panel of business leaders who will listen to their presentation. Presentations will be rated for quality and a winner will be selected. This tactic will show how well your leaders adapt to unforeseen circumstances, and denote the strength of their presentation skills along with the quality of their work.

Back to Nature: To motivate executives as a team, let nature help. Take them on a retreat to a mountainous area, take away all cell phones, then have them camp out for five days, sleeping three to a tent, cooking their own meals over a small cook stove. With professional mountaineering guides, divide them into two teams and take them on daily hikes moving their campsite several times. Towards the end of the week have them climb up the mountain to the peak. Equip them with backpacks, water and climbing gear and start the trek at 4 a.m. Make it a race to the summit to watch the sunrise.

This tactic will “zap” the executives out of their comfort zones and force them to work together. It is designed to have each person explore their capabilities and push themselves beyond their limits. It can be one of the most powerful “Team Zapping” experiences you will ever conduct. We know. We did it.

The three tactics above are not for the faint of heart, but they are for those who want to quickly and effectively “zap” their executives out of their complacency. The benefits will be a more motivated, energized group of executives who will, in turn, zap their teams… and your company will be better poised for the future.


About the Author

Lorraine GrubbsLorraine Grubbs recently co-authored Beyond the Executive Comfort Zone: Outrageous Tactics to Ignite Individual Performance (www.executivecomfortzone.com). Lorraine is president of the consulting firm Lessons in Loyalty. As a former 15-year executive with Southwest Airlines, she takes principles and practices she helped develop to companies that strive for better employee engagement and loyalty.

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