Donny's Blog: Success and Happiness


One of the keys to running a successful business is having everyone who works there know you care about their success and happiness. It’s important for you to understand the people working for you. To understand them you have to listen to them. Figure out what makes them tick, what their dreams are, what their short and long term goals are. Find out what they consider a win. Very often that win is money. It’s been said that money is how we keep score. For years at Deutsch we held a competition that I called Cash Wingo. We would be pitching an account and let’s just say it was a $30 million account that was going to pay the agency $4 million a year in fees. I would gather the four top people who were going to drive the pitch and I would tell them, “Ok team, Cash Wingo! If we get this account, you split $200,000. You guys decide how you’re going to split it.”

Now I knew they’d split it evenly, but it was my way of saying, “You’re pirates and here’s your pot of gold.” Sounds like a lot of money to dangle as a carrot but for me it was a no-brainer. The company gets $4 million a year for as long as we keep the account; I’m giving our best people a shot at five percent of the first year's income. To them it was like, “Wow, I can take that vacation. Wow, if I do this I can buy a new Mercedes!”. It was a great motivator. But not all rewards are monetary. In this same case actually, I made a huge mistake. We won that very large piece of business and they got their Cash Wingo, so I was surprised when three of the most important people came into my office with looks of disappointment. “You didn’t even tell us ‘Great Job.’ ” I had forgotten. I never gave myself a big hug after we won an account and was usually already looking several steps down the road and thinking about the campaign we were going to create. But my colleagues aren’t me. I should have known that. From the earliest age, from the toughest to the not tough at all, we all need to be told, “You did a great job. Thank you.”

So regardless of what they consider to be their "win", if they know you know what it is and that you’re working with them to achieve it, they will be happy. They will know they’re part of something bigger that is rewarding and fulfilling. Their happiness will translate into loyalty and a group of folks who will walk through walls for you.

Studies show that when someone is happy at their job they are more motivated, more inspired, more creative and more productive. Their happiness will translate into success. Success for them. Success for you.

Do you have a big idea for motivating your employess? I want to hear about it so write me at