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Call me a sucker for anything legal, ethical or moral that lifts people’s spirits and attitudes about working smarter, harder, and with greater purpose. Recently I was at a client’s office when suddenly I heard a very loud cowbell being rung by one of the company’s estimators. The reason?
The company had just beaten out several competitors for a project about which everyone in the company had been holding their breath. Interestingly, not an hour later another estimator also made the rounds ringing the same cowbell for another job that they had won, this project not nearly as large but still…a win is a win!
Now, the ringing of a cowbell, blowing whistles, playing loud music or some famous or local sports team anthem is not new to contractors. However, over the past few years many contractors have ceased ringing the bells because, well, it’s been a very tough market out there and for many contractors the “dog eat dog” world has dampened our spirits. That time needs to pass.
OK, maybe this article is nothing more than about getting people motivated and excited again, but what’s wrong with that? I have several questions for you to consider:
- Are you motivated? Do you still get excited whenever your company wins work?
- Are you demonstrating your excitement whenever your company does win work?
- Are you open and do you encourage others in your company to show excitement after a win?
- Are you anxious to get up each morning, almost hurrying to your office or to your first call because you’re so “stinking fired up”?
You get the idea. Celebrating our wins is huge! Celebrating, making some noise after any win is huge because it allows everyone, including you the contractor, to remember “what it’s all about!” Not enough contractors just let it loose when it comes to celebrating. It isn’t about being cocky but about enjoying the moment. It’s not about slamming the football into the turf but instead, raising the other team members to jump to their feet and doing a few fist pumps to quench the motivational moment.
Now, let’s visit briefly about some of the benefits of celebrating each and every one of your wins this year.
Reasons to Ring Your Cowbell
1. It Jars People Awake to the Sound of Success. Not everyone in your company is directly involved with estimating the work, scheduling the work, performing the work and caring for the customer…at least not on every project. Thus, ringing the ol’ cowbell retrains everyone’s “DNA” to winning. Just the sound of winning can excite folks. It’s better than drinking a caffeine-spiked drink at 2:30 p.m.
2. It Reminds Employees… “This is the company’s goal!” Remember, the goal of your company is not just to do good work, although that’s important. It’s not to do work safely, although that’s your company’s highest priority and concern. And the goal is certainly not to just have a great reputation, although having a great reputation can help you get through more customer doors. No, ultimately our biggest goal is to get work. If we don’t get work we don’t have to worry about any of the other things.
3. It Allows Employees to Celebrate…Together! Nothing is better than to watch your favorite sports team win while standing in the middle of a group of people, maybe a stadium, where everyone there is simply shot off into an ecstatic state. It’s one of the best benefits of being human: to enjoy some of life’s highest moments with others, especially the others who share some of the same goals, aspirations, and expectations as you.
4. It Team…Builds. When teams go through highs and lows together there is a bond that can be very hard to ever sever. This old world, and the media today, provide enough “downers” for us all – so no need to mention them here. Therefore, you want to really build a team, let them in on the successes of your company. Better yet, let them take turns ringing the cowbell, each experiencing the thrill and silliness of leading the cheers. Remember, not everyone was a “Johnny Football” or “Debbie the Cheerleader.”
5. It Reignites Focus & Energy for Those Who Are In a Slump. If you have more than one estimator or sales consultant, chances are that one of them -- even you -- can run into some dry times landing work. Landing work for the company needs to be nurtured so that all individuals are pumped up emotionally about a win, no matter who gets the credit. For the individual who might be a little off her game the ringing of the cowbell reminds her to get off her duff and hit it harder. I’ve seen many a contractor who was experiencing some slow sales suddenly land a project -- then the other sales folks began to get more energetic and revitalized about getting their own win.
6. It Moves Everyone to Consider the Consequences & Their Contribution. Celebrating a win should be thoroughly enjoyed, but we all know that reality will soon set in when we must now prepare to deliver what we’ve promised. While your cowbell is ringing I guarantee everyone in hearing distance is smiling on the outside but beginning to plot and strategize on the inside. And this is good! Success is sweet but success demands performance.
7. It Breeds More Winning! Nothing trumps losing like winning! When that cowbell starts its chiming I guarantee you that a great “tingling” begins to move all up and down the bodies of everyone present. Winning is contagious and can positively infect the minds, attitudes and creativity of every employee. Such a winning feeling tends to unleash the best creative juices of your people, often allowing your company to stretch in ways that you’ve never imagined.
So, call me a sucker for a greater inspirational effort but I have found little to compare with the very loud and energetic ringing of a cowbell at the discovery of newly won work. Go out today and purchase the biggest ol’ cowbell you can find. One of my best friends traveled to Europe this past summer and was amazed at the size of the dairy cows in Switzerland. He was even more impressed when he saw the size of bell strapped around the cow’s neck. He was so impressed that he bought one and shipped it home.
So find the biggest cowbell to buy -- even order one from Europe -- and ring that thing every time you and your company have a win. Do it and I promise you that excitement will again return to your company culture, produce more creative energy, and even produce more quality and profits. Ring that cowbell kids…ring that cowbell!
Moooooo…..to Winning More Work!
© 2013 Brad Humphrey, Pinnacle Development Group/The Contractor’s Best Friend™