Why Short-Term Motivation Fails


What motivates you to go to work every day? Is it purpose? The paycheck? Neither one is right or wrong, but one may be better than the other.


When it comes to motivating employees, Daniel Pink’s book ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ is often regarded as the gold standard. At Ziksana, we find that the work of Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi in the book Primed to Perform describes positive motivational factors that we’ve found to be more useful to build manager skills with our clients.


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Managers: Don’t Have Another Coaching Conversation Until You Read This


These days, a lot of people are talking about how coaching is an important skill for managers.
We absolutely believe that to be true at Ziksana. However, coaching as general term can be a
bit of a misnomer. It’s a soft skill, a people skill, which can lead managers to think, “I have to
spend more time talking to my team about what they care about- which I don’t have time for.”


“Coaching” is a catchall term, encouraging managers to learn how to have more effective
conversations with their employees. At Ziksana, we believe that there are actually two kinds of coaching: performance coaching and development coaching.

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A Critical Practice for Manager Success


Think back to a time when you felt lost at work. Perhaps you weren’t clear on a project guideline or expectations on how to succeed, perhaps you walked into a performance review and were blindsided with a critical comment. Likely you were missing some crucial guidance, some understanding of the expectations. You were probably desperate for some feedback on your performance. Yet also, perhaps you were afraid to ask for or receive that feedback before that meeting occurred.

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5 Ways Executive Teams Can Align Strategy with Vision

If you are clear on the big mistake that most Executive teams are making, then you know that leaders are their most effective when they use the company’s vision statement to make every decision- and they encourage employees to do the same. This type of Vision-based decision-making begins to align the company’s culture in the pursuit of a common goal. So how else can you make sure everyone is working towards the same purpose?

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The Big Mistake Executive Teams are Making

Most Executive Teams assume that employees are connected to the company’s vision statement because it’s shared in Town Halls and on intranet documents. But the big mistake that Executive Teams make is assuming that employees know how to apply that vision statement to how they communicate, collaborate, and make decisions on a daily basis.

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PlayTank Just Got Way More Valuable for HR Professionals

Team Ziksana put our superhero capes and thinking caps on to take our beloved PlayTank to a new level this June.  We partnered with Protector Brewery to bring a not-so-ordinary networking event to San Diego industry leaders, professionals, and clients- an evening we dubbed “Playful Networking.” Through this event, we were honored to host over 100 diverse professionals for a fun-filled evening of connection and exploration.


Using all we know about the science of play at work, our team designed an experience for attendees to make connections that are more powerful than just exchanging business cards. We curated a carefully balanced mix of self-guided play stations and Ziksana-facilitated games to foster a night of fun, easy, and authentic networking.


If you weren’t able to join us, here are 2 lessons from PlayTank: Playful Networking that you can bring to your office:



  • Are your team members more motivated by getting things done? Or by finding new ways of doing things?



Using a Giant Jenga set, we asked players to choose their preference to play a Productive Game (to build the tallest tower), or a Playful Game (to build the most creative tower). We asked: are you a Productive Hero motivated by getting things done? Or, are you a Playful hero, motivated to find new ways of doing things?


Key Takeaway: When you know your employees’ preferred motivation style, you can make sure you’ve got the right people in the right roles. Plus, diverse teams are smarter, so building teams with different motivations can break up workplace homogeneity.



  • Are your employees inspired to play – to go above and beyond?



Opportunities for unexpected fun can bring a new perspective to our expectations. That’s why we taped a hopscotch course for folks to play their way to the sign-in station and into the brewery. We used self-guided play tools to assess how many people were energized and enthusiastic enough to play without prompting, which helped us read the energy in the room to create the conditions for people to connect.


We also created a play station for Doodling to give people permission to play, a leading factor to create a culture of innovation. Doodling has also been shown to enhance recall and activate unique neurological pathways, leading to new insights and cognitive breakthroughs.


Key Takeaway: Give your employees tools to create energy and enthusiasm. Inspire people to express themselves more freely and to reconnect personally with your company’s why. We recommend conducting your own Hopscotch Experiment in your workplace to gauge how playful people are feeling. 


We changed up our usual PlayTank event to make this Networking event more valuable for HR professionals by giving self-guided playful tools to show you how to activate energy and enthusiasm in your teams and leaders.


Want to find out how playful and productive your team really is? Schedule a quick 15 min call today for a FREE! Company Culture Diagnostic tool.


Team Ziksana Playtank

Top 3 Things We Learned at Playtank


Ziksana’s March PlayTank event, “Developing Creative Teams and Cultures,” was another fantastic success! We were honored to host a diverse group of professionals for an evening of exploration, networking, and play. The evening’s design highlighted our SPARK creativity and innovation program, providing participants with a taste of the games and takeaways they would experience in the full day course. If you weren’t able to join us, here are the top three lessons from PlayTank:


1) Yes Means Accept, Not Agree

‘Yes, And’ is a listening tool frequently taken from improvisational theatre and applied in day to day work. The concept encourages people to build off the suggestions of others in a positive and collaborative way. At PlayTank, Ziksana facilitator Akshay Sateesh took the concept further, qualifying that saying “Yes” means accepting the other person’s idea, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with that idea or are ready to move to implementation. Accepting another’s idea, concern, or critique promotes psychological safety, which creates an environment where employees are encouraged to listen (but not necessarily agree).  Implementing ideas is a later step in the innovation process that requires alignment with the business’s strategy and execution capabilities.


2) It Takes All Types To Make A Successful Team

Ziksana’s SPARK program uses the FourSight Thinking Profile, which helps participants discover their individual problem-solving preferences. The assessment identifies the subject as a Clarifier, Ideator, Developer, Implementer, or some combination of traits. Using the assessment in an established team can be particularly helpful in determining where they may thrive or stall in the problem-solving process. Every successful team needs a mix of preference styles to successfully take an idea from conception to an implementation that positively solves a company’s key challenges.  


3) Success requires a balance of Challenge and Support behaviors

Teams that know how to successfully solve problems know how to challenge assumptions and challenge each other in productive ways. They also know how to support their teammates, and how to support the best solutions, no matter where they came from. Teams that are able to practice both challenge and support communication behaviors can sustain psychological safety, a critical foundation for successful teams.


For more about our SPARK creativity & Innovation program click here: http://www.ziksanaconsulting.com/creative-workshops/


Be the first to know when we announce the date of our next PlayTank by signing up for notifications here: http://www.ziksanaconsulting.com/playtank-2018-sign-up/

Building trust at work through play

Building Trust at Work through Play

“Trust is not a default. It is work and it is intentional. It is structured and it is disciplined.” Rex Miller , Author & Culture Change Expert


“We need to build trust in your team to get more done.” Perhaps you’ve heard your Leader say this at some point.  It’s easy to say, but hard to do. And you’re not alone.


According to  PwC’s Annual Global CEO survey, in 2017, across industries, levels of distrust at work have climbed to 55%. And CEOs aren’t the only ones feeling the tension: one in three employees surveyed don’t trust their manager.

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Wonder Spaces by Team Ziksana for Team Building, Play to fuel productivity

Team Ziksana at Wonder Spaces


Exactly two weeks ago, Team Ziksana bonded at Wonder Spaces, a pop-up art exhibit in San Diego.


Our play goal: to inspire our sense of wonder and awe, and to spend time connecting with each other.


Our productivity goal: to find new ways to connect people and think about work and play differently. To do so, we took time to actively reflect on how we can connect our new learnings to the work that we do.


We are constantly exploring AND integrating what we learn to the work that we do – for YOU!

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