Bicycle Exchange - Carrollton, TXWhat makes these three stand out is that in each of them, my boss solicited my opinion, listened to what I had to say, and then either put my ideas in to action or rewarded me in some other way.
Big 5 Sporting Goods - Santa Fe, NM
HUO Architects - Austin, TX
At Bicycle Exchange I was selling a lot of these new Schwinn BMX bikes. This was when they were making their Homegrown bikes, right before they sold out. I'd actually only sold a few, but I was so hyped on these bikes that my boss took me to the next expo, introduced me to all the reps and asked me how many thought we should order.
At Big 5 I gave a presentation on how we should reorganize the sales floor and warehouse to be more efficient. My boss didn't take me up on the reorganization, but he offered me a promotion to assistant manager. A lot of that job stunk, but the fact that my boss actually gave a damn about what I said went a long way and I almost took the promotion.
And now, at HUO, in the last month I've sat in on 2 brainstorming sessions. One for a housing development and one for our own firm. All my ideas were taken seriously and followed up on, some put into effect.
In the Navy, if I had an idea, the response was sure, on your own time, without any funding or support and if it fails, screw you. Most other places there wasn't even the pretense of a conversation. It amazes me how energizing it is to substantially contribute.
If all it takes to motivate your employees is to listen to their ideas on how to improve your business, you'd think more people would try it.