How Managers Steer the Company to its Goals

A good company is run pretty much like a ship.

I’m not talking about a lot of people stuck in a small space with little food for a long time (although… you know).

I’m talking about every member of the crew having to work together towards a common goals. Or as we call it in executive level: functioning as a team.

Image courtesy of Robert Nilson at

Getting the team to work together is one of the biggest challenges a manager faces. If you’re lucky, it will go smoothly but more often than not, not everyone in a team is a team player.

The keys to a good team and teamwork are complicated, dependent on one another and very hard to separate.


The three metrics a manager should try to increase are motivation, engagement and collaboration. Highly motivated and engaged people are generally more open to collaboration with their teammates.

But what drives motivation? What makes employees happy to come to work each day?

According to, the four aspects that thrive our motivation are the „drive to acquire.“ „drive to bond,“ „drive to comprehend“ and „the drive to defend.“

All those are basic human needs that must be met in order to increase motivation (in work, in sailing and in people’s personal lives). It’s important to remember, you can’t replace one with the other: you can’t just offer an absurdly high salary (drive to acquire) and neglect other needs like human relations (bonding) or need for a meaningful work (drive to comprehend).


Higher motivation increases engagement but it’s not the only thing. It’s important to remember that engagement goes both ways. It’s not just that employees need to engage their work and colleges, the manager must also be open and engaged with those who are working for them.

We have written a lot about employee engagement and how it can help companies. At the moment, only about 30% of the workforce in the States is engaged. And that costs companies a lot of money.


Collaboration is also one of the four motivational drives mentioned before and it’s also very similar to engagement.

Collaboration between workers and collaboration with their managers are teamwork. But having highly motivated and engaged employees is only the first part. They must also have an environment (physical and virtual) where collaboration is possible.

If people work in cubicles and only talk at ineffective meetings that no-one likes, they wont get anywhere. As a manager, make sure you have a good internal communication software (like Weekdone) and people in the office are encouraged to talk.

Sailing a ship is hard.

Running is company is harder. But with a good captain who cares for his team, it will stay on course and reach it’s goals fast, without sinking.