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How to Succeed in 2007
We asked 50 of the brightest minds in business how they do what they do - and how you can cash in on their advice in the year ahead.
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Michael Scott
Michael Scott
Regional Manager, Dunder-Mifflin Paper Co.
Avoid a Staff Mutiny (With Chocolate, if Necessary)
(As imagined by Greg Daniels, executive producer, and Paul Lieberstein, co-executive producer, of NBC's The Office) Every day someone stops me on the street or in a coffee shop or a magic shop, and they want to know how to motivate their staff! Fantastic, I tell them! Then I tell them there's this old saying, "You can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. It will only drink if it's thirsty." I think that while at one point that may have been true, in today's fast-paced business climate, that no longer holds water!! Of course you can make a horse drink. If it doesn't drink, whip it. The horse will understand that you mean business, and it'll start gulping down a ton of water. Now, luckily I don't have to whip my employees - they worship me - plus they drink plenty on their own. Ergo, love. Fantastic! The three keys to motivating your staff are love (positive reinforcement), fear (negative enforcement), and chocolate (chocolate reinforcement).

Nowadays I find chocolate and/or chocolate-based snacks to be great motivators. Everyone loves chocolate. If someone has a lot of work to do, put a piece of fudge in a glass container (so they can see it) and let them know that if they accomplish their tasks, they can eat the fudge. You'll definitely get a reaction!

What's it come down to? Attitude! I teach my workers a "yes, let's get it done!" way of thinking, whereas without me they would think, "OK, I'll do it, but I'd rather just watch TV and do it later." I'm behind that. I'm helping them make life better and better, with no limits! The future is theirs and mine! I believe so much in the future that I invest exclusively in "futures." In fact, you can't invest in "pasts," they don't offer that. I've checked.

There's a saying, "As goes paper, so goes the paper business." You've heard of supply and demand. Well, paper demands that I do my job or I am fired. That's been said to me. And that's a good thing: It's called a warning, and we should heed the warning signs of a downturn. Or an upturn. The point is, motivation is business, and that's fantastic. Business is the backbone of the economy, and those who say otherwise are incorrect or lying to your face. If it weren't for business, this country would probably have another depression, only this one wouldn't be so great.
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