The Ebsco theory sets out a shared belief that is necessary for the theory to work; “Everyone wants to do a good job and feel a sense of involvement and accomplishment” This is basically the same premise set forth in theory “Y” management.  If you do not believe this, then stop reading right now.  The Ebsco Theory is based on this fundamental premise.

To properly motivate an individual,  the organization must have a shared set of values and core beliefs.  To be motivated you must respect and care for the organization you are associated with.  Our CEO, Cheryl will often say, “Not at my Ebsco”. Everyone knows what that means.  Cheryl has a strong respect and level of caring for all of the Ebsco team members.  She does not tolerate any team member showing disrespect.  She built the company’s reputation on the BEST quality and will allow no one to accept less.  We understand, respect and embrace these values. They fundamentally motivate us.


Leaders must earn the trust of their team members.  Bill Miller, my former boss at Walgreens often quoted, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”.  I know the quote wasn’t his but it was a core belief to him that he shared often. You can’t be motivated to follow someone who you do not believe cares for you. No exceptions here.   At Ebsco, everyone knows that the boss, Cheryl, sees us as her second family.  She is very proud and protective of the team at Ebsco.  People want to follow her.  They want to achieve and make her successful.  When you know your boss has your back, you will follow them anywhere.

smoke signalsAfter you have established trust, and the team is ready to follow. The next step is pointing the direction you want to lead.  COMMUNICATION. It is difficult to be motivated when you are not sure what they want done.  Leaders must provide clear expectations of what success looks like.  Everyone in the organization should know what the priorities are and how they are going to be achieved.  Leaders must listen to team members and respond to their ideas and needs.  Motivated team members have ideas and input.  Not listening is the quickest way to kill that motivation.  Individuals need to know what specific role they are to play in the process and be trained to accomplish those expectations. Training must be ongoing, allowing individuals to play continually increasing roles in the process. You must provide the individuals with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful.


The final step in the Ebsco Theory of Motivation is feedback and recognition.   Leaders must provide consistent, honest, job specific feedback on performance. People want to know how they are doing and how they can do it better.  They want recognition when they excel. Human nature likes winning and likes it when other notice their victories.  Celebrate team members learning new tasks.  Share the story when a team member goes above and beyond for a customer.  Tell someone when they consistently perform beyond your expectations.  When you are recognized for exceptional performance, it feels good. You will continue striving for that exceptional performance. Celebrate organizational victories with the team. Everyone wants to be a part of a winning team.  Make sure everyone knows when the organization succeeds.  Success creates pride, which breeds the effort to win again.

So that’s it.  The Ebsco Theory of Motivation.  Nothing very fancy and most of it common sense.  Don’t think it will become part of the MBA program at Harvard.  Probably will never be published outside of this Blog.  But the one thing it will be is utilized at Ebsco.  The hard part is putting it all into practice. You can’t just want it to happen. It takes effort.  We all have many demands pulling at us from every angle.  Things that must get done.  It’s easy to not take the time to say thanks.  You’re sure that individual knows how much you appreciate their extra effort.  There really isn’t time to take them off production to train them the new process, they’ll pick it up as they go.  And so goes the motivation in a downward spiral.  The irony is that as the motivation drops. so goes productivity and you have even less time. That’s why our management team took an afternoon to discuss motivation and determine how we can improve.  It takes time and it takes effort.

Think I need to go out and find someone doing something great and tell them about it.

Just saying….

Todd Pfeifer


About Ebsco Spring Company

Ebsco Spring Company manufactures precision springs. Ebsco Spring was established in 1941 in Tulsa Oklahoma. Ebsco Spring manufactures custom springs for a wide variety of industries including fluid power, oil and gas, aerospace, defense, medical and others.

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