How to Become a Solar Installer in PEI

How to Become a Solar Installer in PEI

solar installer PEI

Thanks to new rebates and incentive programs, as well as advances in technology, solar energy has recently experienced significant growth in PEI (and beyond) and is predicted to only continue to grow. For electricians in the province, receiving accreditation as a Solar Photovoltaic Installer (SPVI) is an appealing (and lucrative!) career move. In today’s post, we’re covering everything you need to know to become a solar installer in PEI.

Mandatory requirements for achieving solar installer status.

1. Applicants must be existing (or applying) NoE members.

2. All new and existing SPVI must have and maintain a current Red Seal Electrician under engagement for all solar installation work and submit corresponding License number to efficiencyPEI.

3. Maintain an annual CanSIA Membership. The fee is typically $1000/year, but a first-year discounted price of $500 is available (only accessible through julie@cansia.ca).

4. Successful completion of a 4-day solar training course. The course is conducted by the Canadian Solar Institute (CSI) and will be offered in PEI in the summer of 2020, with cost and date to be confirmed. The course will be followed by an evaluation, and an unsuccessful training evaluation will require a re-sit.

Prior to the summer training program, contractors will also have the option to take a challenge exam, which if passed, will allow them to bypass the training.

catalyst sales solar energy atlantic canada nova scotia

Probationary status

While the training program isn’t scheduled to be held until next summer, efficiencyPEI is offering a probationary period that will allow qualified contractors to execute solar installs for a 3-month time span, prior to training. Qualification for this probation period is contingent on the following demonstrated competencies.

  • Understanding electrical fundamentals.
  • Solar energy principles. Ability to calculate solar energy potential of a site. This is a service that Catalyst provides.
  • Understanding solar panel data sheets. Contractors need to be able to read and interpret a solar panel data sheet. Catalyst offers solar panels data sheets for installs, as well as calculations for max string and array sizing.
  • Understanding inverter data sheets. Contractors also need to be able to read and interpret inverter data sheets, which Catalyst can provide.
  • Contractors must also know the difference between racking for a ground or rooftop mount.

How Catalyst can help

To recap, Catalyst is able to create all of the site plans and data sheets for a solar install. We can also be present at a contractor’s first install to make sure everything runs smoothly. For all solar inquiries, you can contact our Renewable Energy Specialist, Matt, at matt@catalystsales.ca or 226-376-4057.

You can also learn more about the solar services we offer, here.

There’s never been a better time to get involved in solar, and we love that efficiencyPEI is making it simple for electrical contractors to get involved. For more info, check out their website, or reach out to us with any questions.



The Future of Renewables: The Latest Industry Trends from Solar Power International 2019

The Future of Renewables: The Latest Industry Trends from Solar Power International 2019

north america smart energy week solar power international

As you may have seen on our LinkedIn and Instagram, our team was down at Solar Power International’s (SPI) Smart Energy Week in Salt Lake City last week. It was an action-packed week, and we got the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and fellow renewable energy enthusiasts and learn about the latest industry trends, product development, and marketplace shifts. The renewable industry is starting to take off here in Atlantic Canada, and we’re so excited about the new innovations and what they will mean for our distributors, contractors, homeowners, and our region as a whole.

Our renewable lines, Canadian Solar, SolarEdge, Kinetic, and AP Systems were all in attendance as well. You can learn more about our lines here.

Among the many exciting trends and product developments, three really stood out.


First, we identified electric vehicle chargers that will work for both commercial and residential spaces. We believe that this will mark a huge step in helping our customer base make the pivot towards global electrification. Not only can EV chargers offer vehicle charging for both home and work, but with WIFI capabilities and partners like EVMatch, the home and business owner can actually rent out their chargers while they are not in use and get paid directly through on-demand services like EVMatch.

Take a look at some of our favourites:

ev chargers nova scotiaLeft to right: JuiceBox Pro 32, 40,or 75 (must be WiFi-enabled), ClipperCreek HCS-40, JuiceNet Edition, AeroVironment EVSE-RS, JuiceNet Edition


Second, something that is especially exciting in the wake of last month’s Hurricane Dorian, was the emergence of electric generators. These generators will eliminate the need for gas powered generators and will be a huge asset for homeowners and during power outages.

A few of our favourites:

Left to right: Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, Lion Safari LT Power Generator


Last, and most importantly, was the battery storage, which has significant applications for NS. Currently, with grid tied net metering programs making it cost prohibitive to have battery storage, few companies are offering practical solutions for batteries paired with solar. However, this option offers major benefits, like having back-up power from your batteries when power is out.

Customers can also charge their batteries at night during off peak (low cost power) times and then consume/back feed the power during the day during peak (high cost power) times. Another financial benefit of battery storage, and what we will see most commonly from their implementation in Atlantic Canada, is demand side load management. This allows power companies to buy power from your stored batteries when they need it to match shifts in demand. With a central control system from the utility and a compatible battery system, this is already an emerging trend in some markets.

Two manufacturers who really stood out were SolarEdge and their StorEdge Solutions, and Sonnen Group.

These are just a few of the many new developments in the renewable energy landscape. There has never been a better time to make the switch to solar energy, and we’ve committed ourselves to helping to grow and support the solar energy industry in Atlantic Canada. You can learn more about our solar energy services here.

For homeowners, we’re offering free solar energy assessments for your home. Simply fill out our form, and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours with your full report and connect you to a local contractor in your area.

For distributors, we rep four of the top solar lines on the market. You can learn more about the lines here.

Our week at SPI confirmed what we already knew- the future is solar, and we’re thrilled to be playing a role in supporting this future.

To learn more about the exhibition, you can visit the SPI website, and to learn more about our involvement in solar energy, visit our solar page here.

Why (and How) Anyone Can Excel at Sales: An Interview with Eric Fry

Why (and How) Anyone Can Excel at Sales: An Interview with Eric Fry

Eric Fry Sandler Training

This week we’re kicking off an interview series we ran with some of Atlantic Canada’s top business leaders. We got the opportunity to speak with some of the top business and leadership experts in the region and pick their brains on how to thrive in the modern business world.

In our first interview, we spoke with Eric Fry, President and Owner of Sandler Training – Maritimes. Eric is an expert on all things sales, and he shared some valuable insights into how anyone (yes, that includes you!) can excel at sales.

What do you think is the biggest misconception around sales?
Too often there is a stigma attached to being in sales…slippery, slick, sketchy etc.  Sales is the accidental career.  Very few people go to school to become a salesperson yet most professions require some kind of proficiency in sales or business development.  Even non-selling professionals such as accountants, lawyers, engineers, project managers all need to speak with clients and prospects to build their practices.  Many are completely uncomfortable in doing so, mainly because they don’t have a system for selling.

What is the number one thing that holds people back when it comes to sales?
Too many sales people talk too much.  They focus entirely on themselves and their features and benefits rather than the prospect’s problem they are trying to solve.  Much of sales is about developing good listening and questioning skills.  Our value as a sales professional is not determined by the amount of information we dispense, but rather than amount of information we collect.
Interview with Eric FryDo you believe some people are better suited to sales, or can anyone be a sales person with the right training and motivation?
I believe sales people aren’t born.  They are made.  With the right training, motivation and plan they develop into true sales professionals.  Some assume they are too introverted to be successful in sales.  I would completely disagree with this.  Introverts are often better listeners and can be highly effective sales professionals once they have a system they can comfortably follow.

What’s the number one tip you would give an individual looking to improve their sales skills?
Follow the 30/70 rule.  In a sales meeting, speak 30% of the time and listen 70% of the time.  And ask good compelling questions.  People like to buy but don’t like being sold to.  Focus on the client and their needs, park your features and benefits and have the prospect self-discover they need what you have.

And an organization looking to improve their sales?
Implement a sales system across your organization.  Have your sales team speaking the same language and process.  This aligns an organization and will lead to more sales and higher margins.

Eric Fry

Sandler Training – Maritimes

Your company, Sandler Training, has received numerous accolades, including #1 Sales Training Company by Entrepreneur Magazine. What do you attribute to its success?
Sales people know what to do, but typically struggle with how to do it.  It’s one thing to say “I need to get more qualified leads in my funnel”, or “I need to stop accepting think-it-over’s from prospects” or “I need to manage my time more effectively”.  It’s another to know how to move the needle on any of these without having the tools and processes in place that may not be available.  I believe what sets us apart is our approach and training is very practical utilizing tools and strategies that can be implemented immediately.  Most of our programs are long term, reinforced learning incorporating practice and role playing to have participants master the material and adapt it to what works for them.

Is there anything you’ve learned about sales that has helped you in other areas of life, such as your personal life?
I used to think I was a great listener until my wife told me I was awful.  Much of what is taught in our programs can be used in everyday life.  Adapting to various communication styles, asking good questions, demonstrating a variety of body language and tonality techniques are a few examples of how we can improve our personal and professional relationships.

What’s next for you?
We still have a lot of work to do in Atlantic Canada to help professionals in virtually any industry become better versions of themselves both professionally and personally.  So I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon!

Interested in learning more? Sandler Training is holding an Intensive 2-Day Sales Bootcamp this Wednesday and Thursday. Check out the event for more information!

For more from Eric, head to the Sandler Training website and LinkedIn.

And to stay up to date on all of the latest industry news, make sure you’re following us on LinkedIn!

Understanding efficiencyPEI’s New Solar Energy Incentive Programs (and Why Now is the Time to Act!)

Understanding efficiencyPEI’s New Solar Energy Incentive Programs (and Why Now is the Time to Act!)

efficiency pei solar energy rebate

photo: Welcome PEI

This month, efficiencyPEI launched its brand new Solar Electric Rebate Program, making solar energy more affordable than ever for homeowners, businesses, and farms on the Island. A solar energy system offers a great financial return and allows homeowners to save money on their electric bills in the long run, but the start up costs can be limiting. Thanks to the new programs available, however, Islanders now have the support they need to get started with solar.

At the moment, there are both rebate and financing programs available, and you can take advantage of both.

First let’s look at the Solar Electric Rebate Program.

Solar Electric Rebate Program

This program offers a rebate on new solar installations for both residential and commercial/farms. Funding for this program is set at $2 million, so it won’t last forever. If you have been considering solar energy, now is the time to act before funding runs out. Nova Scotia has been offering a similar program, and due to the huge demand it received, the rebate return had to be decreased after a few months. We don’t know how things will play out in PEI, but it’s worth noting that the current rebate rates may go down in the future before funding runs out.

solar pv panel efficiencyPEI

photo: efficiencyPEI

The following rebates are currently available:

Incentive Levels (Residential):
$1,000 per installed kilowatt. Or $1.00/W
Not to exceed 40% total of installed costs.
Not to exceed $10,000 for residential installations.
Expansions to existing systems apply.
Minimum system size of 1kW
Off grid systems do not apply.

Incentive Levels (Commercial/Farms):
$350 per installed kilowatt.
Not to exceed 40% total of installed costs.
Not to exceed $10,000 for commercial/farm installations.

Please note that applications and approval must be complete before anything is installed.

Solar Financing Program

In addition to the new rebate program, financing options are also available on solar installations. This is a huge win for both homeowners and businesses because the start-up costs for solar installations are one of the main barriers for adoption. PEI’s solar financing program offers eligible applicants a repayable loan up to $25 000 towards 100% of invoiced costs. The loan has a fixed rate of 5% per year and is repayable over a period of 15 years.

solar energy financing PEI

The financial benefits of going solar

The return on investment of a solar energy system is huge and offers value in a number of different ways, both in the short term and the long term. First of all, your power bill goes down since you are generating most of your own energy via a free source (the sun!).

This is one of the best investments a homeowner can make- the average return is over 10% which beats any historical stock, mututal fund or bond.

Second, you’re protected from power bill hikes for the lifetime of your system (approximately 30 years). Overall, you’re estimated to save over $53 000 during the lifetime of your system.

And finally, a solar system adds value to your home and is estimated to increase the value by a minimum of the cost of the solar system and as much as 20%.

At Catalyst, we’re committed to supporting the adoption of solar energy throughout Atlantic Canada. One way we’re doing this is by offering free solar energy assessments for all residents.

Simply fill out our form, and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours with your customized solar report, which provides a cost estimate for your system.

Get your free solar assessment here!

Understanding Nova Scotia Power’s New Service Provider Program

Understanding Nova Scotia Power’s New Service Provider Program

nova scotia power service provider program

This year, Nova Scotia Power re-launched their Service Provider Program, which is a training program that allows Certified Electrical Contractors to become NS Power Service providers. The program offers a number of great benefits and is a win for electrical contractors (more autonomy, flexibility, and business), distributors (new sales opportunities), and homeowners (faster service for their home).

In this post, we’re covering everything you need to know to get the most out of the program. We’re primarily aiming this at distributors to provide them with the information they need to assist electrical contractors in purchasing the equipment they require, but it’s also useful for contractors themselves and anyone else affected by the program.

What does the program offer?
As we said above, the program allows Certified Electrical Contractors to become NS Power Service providers. This means that rather than needing NS Power to disconnect and remove meters, contractors can be trained to do this themselves.

This not only provides a more streamlined experience for homeowners, but it allows contractors to have more autonomy in their business and increase sales. Contractors are able to set their own pricing for the service with no service fees.

Who is eligible?
The training program is available to any Red Seal Certified Journeyperson electrician

What equipment is required?
The following equipment is required:

  • Meter Removal Tool (purchased from NS Power during training session)
  • Meter Storage Box (purchased from NS Power during Training session)
  • Arc Flash Face Shield
  • Arc Flash Gloves
  • Arc Flash Coveralls

Arc Flash Kit
We offer a complete Arc Flash Kit, which includes the Face Shield, Gloves, and Coveralls. You can find the kit of page 10 of PMMI’s catalogue.

arc flash kit pmmi
The following specifications are required for the program (and included in the kit)

  • Arc Flash Face Shield: 8 cal rating
  • Arc Flash Gloves: Class 0 with protective covering
  • Arc Flash Coveralls: 8 cal rating

Arc Flash Gloves Re-certification process
The Arc Flash gloves need to be re-certified every 6 months. Contractors simply need to return their gloves to their distributor, and they will send them to PMMI in Ontario to be re-certified.

To ensure that contractors are never without a pair, it’s recommended that they purchase a pair a month before their other ones need to be re-certified and offset the dates.

Distributors will need to understand how sizing works to help their customers purchase the proper sized equipment.

The following charts and diagrams explain the sizing requirements.

pmmi service provider program

(Click to enlarge)

Equipment FAQ

Does the kit come with everything I need?
Yes, our kit comes with class 0 (1000 V) glove kit/coveralls/balaclava/hardhat-face-shield with protective bag and carrying bag.

How often do I need to wash the coveralls?
Only when soiled.

How long do the coveralls last?
The coveralls wear much like denim so quite a while, will be different depending on use. Garments are guaranteed to the flame resistant for the life of the garment

How do I wash?
Regular detergent, NO BLEACH, NO FABRIC SOFTENER, tumble dry low.

Can I purchase a glove kit separate?

Can I purchase just the rubber voltage gloves?

Can I get coveralls with my company logo?
Yes, just ask for a quote.

Can I get coveralls with CSA striping?
Yes, just ask for a quote. We have inventory in Ontario.

Who do I send my glove to for re-certification?
Your gloves go back to the distributor who sold you the kit. They will look after all the details.

How long does it take to get the gloves re-certified?
2 weeks not including shipping to Nova Scotia

For any questions about the products we rep, give us a call at 902.452.3899 or email us at lierin@catalystsales.ca

And to stay up to date on all of the latest industry news, make sure you’re following us on LinkedIn!

How to Harness the Power of Focus to Excel at Work (and Life)

How to Harness the Power of Focus to Excel at Work (and Life)

how to focus

“Our focus matters immensely in everything we do: the better we can pay attention, the more excellent the results – again in everything from learning to leadership.” – Daniel Goleman

It’s not exactly ground breaking news, but our attention spans are not exactly thriving these days. We seem to spend the majority of our times multi-tasking and flitting from device to device, never stopping long enough to really devout our attention to any one thing.

The result? We may get a lot done, but the quality suffers, as does our own mental wellbeing. To truly excel, both at our professional and personal goals, we need to give ourselves the opportunity to put aside distractions and focus on the task in front of us.

In today’s post, we’re sharing tips on how to harness the power of focus to excel at work, and in life.

Find your motivation

Not surprisingly, it’s easier to focus on things we enjoy doing. We want to be doing them, and there’s no resistance to it, so it’s much easier to find the time and mental focus. So tip number one here is to find a job and past times that you enjoy, so you’ll have an easier time finding the time and will power to focus on them.

However, not all of us will have jobs and obligations that we love, and even when we do, we may not love all aspects of it. For these cases, it’s helpful to find ways to motivate yourself despite not loving the task. As we wrote about here, motivation is often driven by internal factors such as a desire to express our creativity or the satisfaction of knowing we put our all into our work. So even if you aren’t loving the job, you can create motivation for yourself in other ways, and this can help you to focus.

In his book, Focus, Daniel Goleman talks about the flow state that we enter when we are deeply focused on the task at hand. In this state, even seemingly uninteresting tasks can be enjoyable to accomplish, simply because it feels so good to be working within this flow state. The task itself becomes secondary to the feeling of contentment and flow we enjoy from being fully focused on a task- in a way, it’s similar to a meditation or mindfulness practice. As you practice and commit yourself to focusing, you may find that being in a state of deep focus is motivation enough to putting your attention on your work.

focus daniel goleman


We spend a good portion of our day living in overdrive, rushing from meeting-to meeting, struggling to stay on top of our inbox and notifications, trying to manage a work like balance- it’s overwhelming and takes a serious toll on our ability to focus. Basically, this high-speed stress filled lifestyle keeps us in fight-or-flight mode, and it’s really difficult to focus in this state because on a physiological level, our body is being primed to go-go-go and to keep moving.

This state is good for getting us out of imminent danger, but it’s not conducive to sitting at a desk and focusing on the work in front of us. For this, we need to switch out of our fight-or-flight (i.e. sympathetic mode) and into a calmer head space (i.e. parasympathetic mode).

There are many ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to simply take a few minutes to focus on your breathing. When we are stressed and rushing around, our breathing becomes shallow, so a great way to calm and centre ourselves is to take a few slow and mindful breathes.

Next time you’re feeling too high strung or scattered to focus on your work, try this easy breathing exercise: inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, and hold the air out for a count of 4. Repeat for a few rounds until you feel calmer and ready to focus on the task at hand.

Put away distractions

Did you know studies have shown that simply having our phone in sight can be a distraction? Distractions are everywhere these days- from our social media apps, to the nonstop barrage of emails and phone calls, and on and on- there is a never-ending stream of potentials distractions at our fingertips at all times.

Rather than rely solely on our willpower, you’ll have a much better chance of focusing if you can actively reduce or block potential attention-grabbers. This might mean using a site-blocker to keep you from scrolling through your favourite website and social media channels or putting your phone in another room while you’re working.

Focus requires downtime

Despite what our society’s more-is-better mindset may want us to think, we can’t stay focused 24/7- and that’s actually a good thing. Focus is like a muscle, and the more we use it, the stronger it will become but just like a muscle, it also needs rest. When we allow our mind to relax and wander, we give it a chance to chill out and refresh itself. It’s also when we’re daydreaming and not-focusing on anything in particular that insights, inspirations, and fresh ideas often come flooding in.

Allowing our mind to wander is very different from multitasking. Rather than trying to do many things at once, work on alternating between periods of focus on a particular task and periods of mental relaxation. One strategy that seems to work well for many people is to set a timer for a block of time (say 30 minutes) and focus completely on the task in front of you. Then when the time is up, take a mini break. That might mean making yourself a cup of coffee, having a quick chat with a co-worker, or taking a walk. Alternating between these periods of focus and relaxation allows you to stay fresh, alert, and on task.

Interested in learning more about the power of focus? We highly recommend Daniel Goleman’s book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.

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4 Key Steps to Maintaining Momentum and Achieving Your Goals

4 Key Steps to Maintaining Momentum and Achieving Your Goals

maintaining motivation

“Regaining momentum takes three times as much energy as sustaining momentum.” – Daniel Pink

Big lofty goals are exciting. They get people motivated, they inspire, and they give us something to dream about and look forward to.

More often than not, however, that’s as far as it goes. The goals are made, imagined, but never achieved, and a big reason for this is that we simply run out of steam.

The remedy for this? Learning to maintain momentum. Setting goals is, of course, necessary, but to actually achieve them, we need to find a way to continue working towards them long term. By implementing the following simple steps, you can take your business (and personal) goals from the brainstorm session and into reality.

Take small steps everyday

If you want to run a 5K and you’re not a runner, you don’t lace up your shoes and attempt a marathon on your first day. You start off small and slowly build up, day after day.

It’s not glamorous, it’s not ground breaking, it’s simply committing to small steps every day. And it’s the key to maintaining momentum, and ultimately, success.

The little daily steps can often feel so trivial that we end up skipping them or putting them off for another day, but when we commit to them, they begin adding up to large leaps towards our goals.

As Daniel Pink puts it, “I really think that we have given short shrift to the concept of small wins, both in terms of personal development and organizational performance. We want big, audacious goals, we want moon shots, we want giant transformations—and that’s cool sometimes. Sometimes that’s the approach. But most times, the more practical, realistic, and ultimately effective way is to go for a small win.”

maintaining momentum

Celebrate your successes

As we discussed in an earlier post, we are driven by internal motivators. Feeling satisfied, engaged, and proud of the work we accomplish is a key component in working to the best of our abilities and maintaining momentum. It can be so easy to focus only on the end goal that we lose sight of all the small accomplishments along the way and feel unnecessarily defeated.

Taking time to celebrate what you have accomplished rather than focusing only on what still needs to be done is hugely important in maintaining engagement and momentum.

Check in regularly

Without regular check-ins, it’s easy to lose control of a project and let things fall to the way side. Checking in regularly, either with yourself of with your team depending on the project, helps to keep everything on track. It allows everyone to be held accountable for their role in the project and helps to identify any shortcomings or areas that need more attention.

At Catalyst, we’ve set up a check-in schedule that helps to keep everyone focused and ensures that we’re all on the same page with our goals and projects. From our daily morning huddles to our quarterly mastermind sessions, we have a clear-cut schedule for check-ins that cover both the micro and the macro.

Change course if necessary

It’s hard to maintain momentum when things feel like they either aren’t working or aren’t necessary. What may have started off as a great idea may not be as exciting or effective in practice. When you’re working towards your goals, it’s important to reassess regularly to see if everything you’re working towards still makes sense/is worth the effort. You’ll be much more motivated to continue if you take honest stock of your progress and course correct anything that isn’t working.

Setting goals is the easy part, anyone can do that. But finding ways to maintain momentum and carrying out the sometimes tedious steps is what will allow you to actually realize them.

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Ditching the 9-5: Is a Results Only Work Environment Right for Your Company?

Ditching the 9-5: Is a Results Only Work Environment Right for Your Company?

Results Only Work Environment Halifax Nova Scotia
The 9-5 Monday to Friday work week has been the undisputed norm for over a century, but according to many that needs to, and is, changing.

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the importance of understanding what motivates your team in order to maximize both workplace results and overall morale. A shift to focusing on the internal motivating factors of employees has replaced the traditional carrot-and-stick approach to motivation and is changing the way we work.

In today’s post, we’re looking at another concept that has been disrupting the traditional workplace structure: ROWE, or a Results Only Work Environment. This concept was introduced by authors Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson in their book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It and takes things beyond the flexi schedules and compressed work weeks that have offered some flexibility to the work week in the last few decades.

Ressler and Thompson describe ROWE as an office environment in which everyone is “free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.” Employees can skip meetings, get to the office at 10 am, run errands in the middle of the afternoon, and just generally structure their day in any way they like. The strategy gives staff complete freedom over their day.

ROWE Results Oriented Work Environment atlantic canada

Of course, to have this system run smoothly, clear goals and outcomes need to be defined so everyone on the team knows exactly what they’re expected to accomplish. As the authors put it, 100% autonomy + 100% accountability = results.

Much like Daniel Pink’s focus on internal motivators vs. external, ROWE seeks to improve the workplace by understanding what truly motivates and inspires people. The idea is that the traditional work week model is disempowering because it treats employees with a certain degree of distrust. Under ROWE, the employees are treated as trusted adults that will get their work done without having to be monitored or stuck in an office for a set period of time.

go rowe

Source: @g.o_r.o.w.e

At Catalyst, we’ve implemented the ROWE method with great success. We’ve adopted a system that includes regular team check-ins and goal setting, so we are all clear on what is being worked on and what everyone’s role is in making it happen (we’re big fans of Asana!), and from there, our entire team is free to work on these projects on their own schedule.

While complete flexibility may not be realistic for all workplace environments, aspects of ROWE can still be implemented. Remember, the key idea is to fuse accountability and autonomy, so finding ways to provide this to your employees can apply to almost all workplace situations.

Interested in learning more about ROWE? Check out the official website here.

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Want to Motivate Your Team? Understand What Drives Them

Want to Motivate Your Team? Understand What Drives Them

catalyst sales and marketing halifax nova scotia

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” – Daniel Pink

For decades, our model of motivation in the workforce has been the carrot and stick approach. Incentivising employees to push themselves at work either out of a desire for a reward or to avoid repercussions has been the de facto mode of motivation for so long that most of us don’t even stop to wonder if there could be another way.

In his bestselling book, Drive, author Daniel Pink argues that not only is there another way, but there is a much more effective way, and switching how we look at motivation is essential for creating a happy and successful workforce. Motivating your team, he says, comes down to understanding what truly drives them to do and be better.

In the old way of thinking, we might say, “We need to increase sales by 10% this quarter. Anyone who reaches or exceeds these numbers will receive a bonus, and anyone who drops below ‘x’ will be fired.” Classic carrot and stick, and sounds pretty motivating, doesn’t it?

Studies show, however, that the opposite is true. Creativity, motivation, and ultimately, results, are paralyzed under these kinds of incentives.

Why? Making more money or getting fired seem like pretty good reasons to achieve results, right?

In reality though, they don’t work because they are external motivations, and we thrive when we are motivated internally. A sense of pride in our work, the freedom to explore our creativity and reach our own personal best- these are the things that really drive us to reach for more.

daniel pink how to motivate

Pink takes the example of Microsoft Encarta vs. Wikipedia. In the mid-’90s, Microsoft decided to invest heavily in creating an online encyclopedia, Encarta. They hired well-paid experts and dedicated significant time and money into the project, and at first glance, it should have been a sure success.

Around the same time, Wikipedia entered the scene, motivated not by any financial return but rather the simple enjoyment of creating the site. The carrot and stick approach would have us believe that Encarta would come out on top but as we all know it was Wikipedia, driven by the simple internal joy of creating for the sake of it, that went on to dominate.

Of course, there is no one size fits all when it comes to motivation and to truly inspire their team, managers should have at least a general knowledge of how each of their staff is motivated. Also, some positions really do respond well to external incentives. Algorithmic tasks, that is jobs that require a lot of repetition and formula following, can be motivated in the traditional way. Jobs that require more creativity and outside the box thinking, however, are generally motivated more by internal factors.

When it comes to getting the most out of your team, it’s essential to understand what is truly driving your employees. While the traditional approach has been to incentivize with external factors (bonuses, job loss, etc.), this is often not a beneficial factor in today’s job force. Instead, understanding the deeper, internal factors that drive your employees can result in creating a work environment that is happier, more motivated, and gets the job done well.

For more on what drives us, check out Pink’s TED Talk here.

In our next post, we’ll look at another key factor in motivating and empowering your team- creating a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE).

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