My dog loves to run with me. The minute I put on my running shoes, he heads to the bathroom where he knows I keep his leash. I don’t even think I love running that much.

So, why is it that dogs love to go for a W-A-L-K? And why do young children just naturally want to run, skip, or hop. You hardly ever see a child under five that is just walking, unless being aided by the hand of an adult.

Well, I can’t answer those questions, without looking more indepthly at the sociology of our society. What I can do is probe for ways to encourage myself and others to want to run out the door and face what’s next. The phrase above my kitchen door reads “carpe diem.”

I don’t honestly feel like seizing the day, everyday. But, most days I do. I’m generally energized to take on the challenges of the day whether it involves work, teaching, running kids around or something just about me.

How do we get our Contributing Team Members (CTM’s) to want to seize the day as they head into work? Or in the case of our team, often work from home.

I’m a believer that the human brain, spirit and body naturally want to be challenged. Our being is meant for incredible acts of strength, can handle great feats of endurance and seeks out new ways to perform. Just look at history. Yet today, we face many health issues associated with sedentary life styles, we’re stressed out all of the time and we often want to hide from ongoing challenges.

Let’s look at one dimension of this equation that impacts our workplace and team members continuously….motivation.

Ultimately, we don’t have a control over our team members’ motivation. But, we can impact how and what happens within our team to potentially increase the level of motivation of our team members.

Consider these three things:

Your physical environment. Ever notice how a headache completely distracts your ability to work. Consider the ergonomics of your work area. Are you straining parts of your body to get your work done? And also consider elements like lighting and noise. Give your employees some flexibility here to meet their needs.

Your culture. Do you provide consistent feedback to your team members, both good and bad? Many people respond well to simple messages of praise and usually even more so to messages of encouragement. In addition, they want to know when they’re not doing well. So, share these three types of messages with them, regularly.

Your rewards. At the end of the day, do your team members feel like they’ve made a difference? And do they feel like they are rewarded for new ideas and great performance. Spend some time here to really reflect on the type of performance you reward. If you reward average performance or complacency, that’s what you get. If you reward innovation, you’ll see it. The key to rewards is they need to have real value for the person being rewarded. This isn’t difficult to do. Get your team members involved in the design of rewards.

One of the great parts of our office location is downtown Grand Rapids. Many of our managers use a walk outdoors to have a feedback conversation with a team member. This experience covers my first two points. In addition, we’ve developed individual goals this year that relate directly to our company goals. Each person gets input into his/her reward if he/she accomplishes his/her goals. We give them a basic dollar range and some examples and then we let them create their reward. This one covers my third point.

One last assumption I make that is also key to the motivation of your team members, is that they have the right talent, the right tools and understand the expectations for their performance. If any one of these factors is missing or not aligned, the other points won’t help much.

Carpe diem in your organization today!