This is the four-step model I use to motivate my employees — everyone from the top on down — and maximize the productivity of the entire group:

1. Invest in your top performers. Spend time, money, and educational resources to locate, hire, train, and supply superstar employees. Don’t leave this to chance.

2. Don’t manage people; manage objectives. If you want better productivity and a more motivated work force, don’t spend any time worrying about how your employees feel. Focus your time and energy on the tasks ahead of you and make sure your employees are doing the same.

3. Treat people well. By this, I mean do what you think is best for them. And for some people in some situations, that means being tough. So forget about all the crap you read that advises all the soft stuff. Do what you have to do to make your best people work harder than they’ve ever worked for anyone else.

4. Trim the branches. Fire your weakest employees and replace them with great ones. This should be a never-ending process.

In every group, people arrange themselves according to personal comfort levels. The achievers move immediately to the front of the line, the mediocre people find the middle, and the snails find the tail. The way to get your group to perform at a higher level is to regularly replace your weakest links with stronger ones.

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