Hello, and meet my new obsession – the FitBit – a tiny little activity tracker that monitors steps you take and your sleep cycles. Last week, I bought my husband a Fitbit for his birthday, and one for me for.. well, just because. I figured it would be fun to “compete” with each other on how many steps we can get and encourage each other through out the day – I was right – it is fun.
We are both completely enamored with this silly little gadget – to the point where last night, after our evening stroll I noticed I was only 900 steps away from my goal, so we put our sneakers back on, and struck back out to get me to my target.
While I am a Trail Blazer – I am also a business owner -which means I end up sitting on my duff more than I care to admit. It’s actually a challenge for me to get 10,000 steps on a weekday (which equates to about 5 miles.) This is a challenge I didn’t know I had -I thought I led a pretty active lifestyle until FitBit pointed out otherwise.
You would think something sitting on your wrist, monitoring your every move would be annoying – but it’s not. I’m finding it enjoyable. I got thinking about how this could be, because in essence, I hate being micromanaged. What is it about the FitBit that is so motivating that it encourages me to literally go the extra mile? What leadership qualities does this device have that we could emulate to motivate our teams to take extra steps?
Mission – When you get your Fitbit, you spend some time “setting it up.” You input your goals for steps, you decide what your health goal is (to lose weight or not) and you can even monitor your water intake. A good leader sits down with their team and writes out their goals – together. Don’t just bring your agenda to the table – if Fitbit didn’t allow me to change my step goals, I could either become bored with a low goal, or discouraged with a goal that was set too high. Fitbit allowed me to have input.
Vision – Every morning I wake up and look at my sleep stats. I also see who the leader is amongst my friends, and wonder what I could do that day to push myself up the rankings. A good leader encourages their team to review their goals every day. Successful coaches bring their teams in for a huddle to review the next plays, to make sure everyone knows what they are doing, and to encourage them to go out there and do their best.
Accountability – Accountability can be tricky – while we don’t want to micromanage and hover over our teams shoulders, it is human nature to wander. A good leader nudges their team and reminds them of their personal goals, and the teams mission. Fitbit designed a way to “check in” by tapping the device and seeing a series of lights that indicate where you are in context to your goal. Rather than hovering, a good leader encourages their team to check in regularly. Allow your team to come to you to get feedback, direction and encouragement. Accountability is an opportunity to motivate. While providing accountability do not scold, reprimand or discipline your team members.
Celebration – When you reach your step goal with Fitbit, the display lights up, flashes back and forth and buzzes in wild celebration. You hit your goal!!! Hooray! When you go back to your computer or smart phone it celebrates you by saying “You are a CHAMP!!” It may sound silly, but nothing feels better than being recognized. Genuinely celebrate the individual and group efforts of your team. Put their name in lights. Let them know you see their accomplishment. Celebrate their victories with them.
In what small ways do you motivate and encourage your team to go the extra mile?
Until next time – Hit the Heights!
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
The Natural Leadership and Business Guide
PS – I am not paid to endorse Fitbit – I just think it’s a super cool product.