Motivating ‘WOW’ in Clients & Employees

Last week in the SUCCESS in Action series I introduced you to HPF member and business owner Misty Lown in an article titled ‘WOW’! Well, many of you were ‘WOWed’ and wanted more ideas from Misty on How to ‘WOW’. She has graciously put together the two articles below. I suggest using these as a punch list to improve the ‘WOW’ factor in your own business. If you do, you too might be able to grow your business 20X the

average size of a business in your industry as Misty has in hers.

5 Tips for Motivating ‘WOW’ in Your Clients

1.  SHOWCASE their achievements.

It doesn’t even have to relate to

your business.  At my dance studio we recognize student dance achievements, but what we don’t stop there!  We make announcements for students who are A+ Achievers in school, sports, and community.  If we are about “more than just great dancing”, it makes sense to showcase our clients who are, too!

2.  TRAIN desired behaviors with rewards.

My HPF friend, Dr. George Sargiss, will probably agree that this is very effective.  My son Mason is rewarded with prize tickets every time he shows progress at his orthodontist appointments.  I could never motivate him to wear his retainer like those tickets do!  And, it’s not just kids who respond to rewards.  If you have a frequent flier account or a credit card with miles, you have been trained as well!

3.  COMPLIMENT something about your client every time you see them—even if it’s just their hair.

According to Dale Carnegie, the greatest desire of the human heart is to be important.  Abraham Lincoln said it this way:  “Everyone likes a compliment.”  So ask yourself when you are interacting with your clients—is your focus on what’s great about YOU or what’s great about THEM?  If the 90/10 rule of giving vs. selling is important in social media, it’s even more important in real time.

4.  ASK clients for ideas about how to make your business more excellent.

When they tell you—and they will—act on as many suggestions as possible and the give credit where it is due.  Harry S. Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

5.  CREATE a tribe of ambassadors. 

In his book “Tribe”, author Seth Godin says, “Ultimately, people are most easily lead where they want to go anyway.”  Everybody wants to be a part of a winning team.  Not one of your clients wakes up in the morning and aspires to mediocrity. Find ways for your clients to get on board with, or be a part of, your winning team.  Can they represent your brand with logo wear, accompany you to a function, serve on advisory board, committee, or referral project?  I mean, who among us isn’t happy to represent Darren and the HPF?  Excellence breeds excellence.   Make the most of your client-ambassadors.

10 Tips for Motivating ‘WOW’ in Your Employees

1. SET the pace and standard for your organization

If you are early, your employees will be early.
If you are efficient, they will be efficient.
If you pursue excellence with vigor, they will run hard to keep up with you!

At the end of the night at the dance studio, my administrative director asked a work-study student if she had taken out the garbage.  She replied, “Well, I got it in the dumpster, but not really to the ‘Misty standard’.” Now, we do not have an official policy about how to put the garbage in the dumpster, but this 16 year old student knew enough about me to know that getting in half way, and not being able to shut the top, would not meet my standard!

As a leader, YOU are the measure of excellence for every facet of your organization whether it’s cleanliness or communications.

2. Be crystal CLEAR

There is a verse in the Bible (Proverbs 29:18) that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Now lack or vision may not cause someone to die at their desk, but it can certainly lead to death of an organization.  As a leader, your job is to communicate your vision for the organization to every level of your team.  They can’t execute what they don’t understand.

3. GET IN the trenches.

how can i get my ex back

I love to jump into a class at a dance studio and show the teachers and students how I like it done.  No amount of staff training will ever beat seeing a live demonstration of company standards in action.  Getting your hands dirty will give you a greater appreciation of the work your staff does as well.

4. ACKNOWLEDGE contributions.

If there is a quality you value, find a way to recognize it in your people.

In his book “1,001 Ways to Reward Employee’s”, author Bob Nelson says the guidelines are simple:  1.  Match the reward to the person, 2. Match the reward to the achievement, and 3. Be timely and specific.  To that list I would add, “Be sincere.”  A handwritten note will never go out of style.

5. If recognition is good, INCENTIVES are great.

If you’ve been through the recent issue of SUCCESS, you know that we are a culture of gamers.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s Mario Kart or a company sponsored trip, we are wired to desire the next level.  Even Dave Ramsey, who is known more for saving than spending, says that if he could find a way to do it, he would incentivize every position in his company.

6. COMMUNICATE consistently.

With a five kids to care for, I am not on site every day at my business.  So, when I do have face time with employees I ask them some version of these same three questions every time:

1.  Where are you winning?
2.  What do you need my support on, or an answer on?
3.  What idea do you have to make this place the best place to work and teach kids in the world?

This is a technique I picked up from reading about mega church pastor and author of “The Purpse Driven Life”, Rick Warren.  It works for a congregation of tens of thousands, and it works for my team of 22.

7. Give direction and GET OUT of the way.

Navy Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, author of “It’s Your Ship:  Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy” says, “The best way to keep a ship-or any organization-on course for success is to give the troops all the responsibility they can handle and then stand back.”

8. Keep it SIMPLE.

Dave Ramsey has three to five Key Results Areas (KRA’s) for each position on his team.  KRA’s are how an employee knows if they are winning on your team. Mine are initiative, courtesy, follow through, excellence, problem solving.  Good KRA’s are few and firm.

9. Recognize that money is not the MOST MOTIVATING factor. 

Years ago I conducted an anonymous (and free!) survey of my employees through the Department of Labor.  Through this study, we found the following things to be most important (in order):  Meaningful work, recognition, growth opportunity, and financial opportunity.  Gone are the days when college grads are going to come out school and work a job they hate for 40 years, 40 hours a week just because it pays the bills.

Which leads to the most IMPORTANT thing:

10. Create opportunities for MEANINGFUL WORK.

In our organization we support what matters to employees with time off to volunteer, the freedom to create new programs, donated rehearsal space, and program sponsorships. Our teachers have created programs to connect generations through nursing home performances, a free dance outreach called Steps of Praise, school outreach programs and career days, and choreography for the local community theater.  We even had one teacher volunteer to teach social dancing to the special education program at a local high school so that they could go confidently to the prom.  Talk about “More than just great dancing!”

There are a lot of tools here, but here’s the take away:
If you want excellence in your people, be relentless in your pursuit of it yourself.
You can’t take people where you have never been.

So, how do you ‘WOW’ your clients and employees? Share your ideas and add to the discussion in the comments below.

Misty Lown is the owner and CEO of Misty’s Dance Unlimited, which is frequently recognized as one of the best in the dance studio industry. For more information, visit The new site for Misty’s Dance Unlimited, which is under development, can be found here.

More information about Darren’s private CEO HIGH-PERFORMANCE FORUM can be found here.




6 responses to “Motivating ‘WOW’ in Clients & Employees”

  1. Hi Misty,
    Your post is fantastic ! I’ll share it with my colleagues & use it for myself now & later when i’ll be managing a company myself :)

    Have a great day

  2. LOVE all your insight and ability to motivate beyond just the basics.
    Thanks so much!@

  3. Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the message and how great it is that you are investing in your growth as a young leader. You will never regret the time and attention you put into your personal development!Best wishes in your endeavors,

  4. Misty!

    This was excellent! I loved the last comment: If you want excellence in your people, be relentless in your pursuit of it yourself. You can’t take people where you have never been.

    I am a young leader and articles like this resource me to be a great team leader! Thanks for investing in my future!


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