Motivating Today’s Workforce

Incentives and strategies designed for motivating today’s workforce with Executive Operations Manager, Ivan Lasater.

Motivational Strategies

The issue of motivating employees has long since been one of the primary focuses of HR departments and management alike.  The opportunities today’s workforce has for incentives and other motivational benefits are more prevalent than ever with the evolving ethical impact of fairness in corporate culture. Smart business places as much emphasis on satisfying the needs of the internal customer as they do on servicing the needs of the external customer.


One of the most motivating factors for employee job performance is the employee’s ability to do their job in a competent and comprehensive manner. If an employee doesn’t understand their role and the impact they have on the big picture, they may become uninterested and less motivated to contribute their part. If they just don’t understand how to do their job proficiently, they may suffer from self-esteem issues which prevent them from asking for assistance or training. An employee needs to feel competent in their role.


An uncomfortable atmosphere can make an employee uncomfortable in their workspace and distract from their ability to focus on the task at hand. People need to feel comfortable in the spaces they occupy on a daily basis. Whether it’s their home or their office, people are often more productive in an environment free from distraction and discomfort. The following are some ideas that may contribute to a comfortable work environment.

Ideas for a Comfortable Atmosphere.

  • Temperature control
  • Clean restrooms
  • Dining room / break room
  • Clean offices / cubicles / workspace
  • Hot and cold water available
  • Vending machines
  • Free Wi-Fi

Team Unity

Inspiring employees to be a part of something larger than themselves is a great way to lend meaning to the lives they experience while at work. Few people want to go to work in an environment where they aren’t connected on an interpersonal level with those they work with. A policy of inclusivity within the team gives everyone a broader perspective of any project and stresses the importance of an individual’s role in seeing that project to completion. Managers have a particular role in developing team unity. It is part of their job to help people find their talent and give them the opportunity be their most productive. Finding where people fit best is always easier with a team that can communicate their needs openly. Encouraging feedback during the decision making process encourages employees to add to the team atmosphere.


Offering incentives to employees and even management for job performance is a traditional method for generating motivation in the workplace. What types of incentives are best suited for today’s workforce? The needs of individuals have evolved with the changing dynamics in the workplace. Both women and men have an almost equal occupational presence, leaving fewer and fewer parents at home to spend time with their families. Offering incentives that allow for time off, monetary reward, or advancement are probably the most effective incentives in today’s workforce. Opportunities for paid vacation, bonuses, maternity leave and paternity leave, upward mobility,

Ideas for Effective Incentives

  • Paid vacation
  • Maternity / Paternity leave
  • Monthly cash bonuses
  • Annual Christmas bonus
  • Promotions
  • Employee recognition
  • Positive feedback


Showing employees and managers that they are appreciated and giving them something tangible to work towards are great ways of motivating them. A motivated work force increases productivity and ultimately translates as a more profitable bottom line. The greatest investment a company can make is investing in their employees and understanding the evolving needs of today’s workforce.

For more on Ivan Lasater, visit Ivan’s Wikipedia page by clicking this link.

Business, a Social Responsibility

Does business have a social responsibility to the communities and people it serves? Executive Operations Manager, Ivan Lasater discusses the company’s role in the well-being of the community.


What is Social Responsibility

If a company is being socially responsible, it understands how its actions affect the community it serves and it understands its impact on a global level as well. How do ethical and responsible business practices affect the global and local community?

Environmental Responsibility

One of the major concerns voiced by the communities where businesses operate are environmental issues such as pollution and emissions. Recently there have been major shifts in the way business views its environmental impact on the community. Starbucks and AT&T are great examples of corporations who spend time and money developing green technology and giving back to the community by instituting community cleanup programs. This trend in environmentally friendly business is growing.


More and more often are the public being given the opportunity to have a voice in major business decisions. Other ways in which a business might become more socially responsible are addressing issues such as racism, sexism, and ageism in the workplace. Companies like Wall Mart and Home Depot, who have policies against such discrimination and go out of their way to provide jobs for aged and disabled individuals, can create a standard of equality within their respective industries. Addressing ethically based topics and considering how these may affect the community as a whole is a socially responsible decision for any business, large or small.


Employee safety and health is also an issue that should be addressed under social responsibility. The safety and well-being of the people who make a business work could be the most lucrative investment a company makes. Businesses can pay thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars a year in workman’s comp insurance costs. Implementing safety and awareness programs into your company’s training policies are a great way of reducing this cost


Companies have responsibilities to themselves, to their employees, to their stock holders, and last but not least, to their communities and the world as a whole. Social responsibility is becoming more and more prevalent as communities demand more ethical and environmentally friendly business in their area. Failing to meet this rising trend could put your business at a serious disadvantage in the emerging market.

The Power of Speech

There are several aspects to effective speaking. Executive Operations Manager, Ivan Lasater discusses the Power of Speech.


Ivan Lasater, Moab
The Power of Speech

Wikipedia defines the word charisma as, compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. When I think of the character traits that stand out to me from a charismatic person, the one that stands out the most is speech. A well-spoken conversationalist can turn my attention for hours in the right situation. They can carry a room and make each person in it, feel as if they are the most important person there. An eloquently spoken politician can grab your vote and your confidence in minutes if they have a valid point to get across. On the job, a great communicator is a highly valued resource. The ability to speak effectively can take a person far in life. Speech helps us with our interpersonal relationships, our ability to provide for ourselves and others, and is the most direct way of sending and receiving messages. Albeit, not the only way.

Conversational Speech

An important and common form of speech is conversation. Conversation is important because it covers such a broad spectrum of social and professional activities. I know it’s hard but think about being at work right now, you’re taking a break from what might otherwise be a dull day and you strike up a conversation with a familiar coworker. It may be a polite conversation or a funny conversation or even a conversation about work. But in that moment you are already laying the building blocks for a relationship. Conversation is what brings us into the fold. It’s how we introduce others, by telling a little about them. We need it to establish our social and professional identities.

Constructive and destructive forms of conversation.

There are several different ways a conversation can go, we all know this. Many of us hope that we’re not the ones to turn it south. But there are ways of creating a destructive conversation without being aware that it’s happening.

Destructive Conversation

  • Over divulgence is a way of telling others too much about yourself before a rapport has been established
  • Divulging others is a way of giving too much information about others especially when it’s meant to embarrass or bring shame to someone
  • Redundancy is a way limiting your conversation to only one subject and continuing to rehash the same details.
  • Spoiling is a way of giving away information that may ruin someone else’s experience with the subject, like giving away the ending of a movie.

Constructive Conversation

  • Comparing is a way of exchanging thought with others, with emphasis on listening. Few subjects are taboo in a conversation like this because we’re listening and basing our insight off the insight we gain.
  • Friendly decent is a way of voicing an opposing opinion with grace. Being to overbearing about opposing opinions can be a conversation killer.
  • Hypothesizing is a way of discussing ideas. Ideas are wonderful to share and differ from opinion in a sense that they are not bias or subjective.
  • Curiosity is a great way of showing others that you’re interested in them. But be sure to steer your curiosity in a direction that isn’t invasive. Asking questions is the only way to get to know people well.

Public Speaking

For many, the most terrifying moment in their lives was when they had to make that speech at their brother’s wedding, or when they were reciting verse in church, or when they gave that oral report in school. Public speaking can be unnerving to say the least. With just a few things to practice, you can learn to be an effective public speaker. Nothing substitutes for practice however and the best way to get comfortable speaking publicly is to look for opportunities to do it.


It’s important before you go into any social situation, to be relaxed. Your impression on others is going to reflect itself in the way they respond to you. If you’re relaxed, chances are they are too. There are several different ways to bring on relaxation. Think of something that makes your muscles relax and puts a healthy smile on your face. Try not to take yourself too seriously.

Come Ready

Before you speak, make sure you have an idea of what you’re going to say. Are you trying to get a point across? Sway public opinion? Make a speech? Having reliable subject matter is important for conveying a message to groups or crowds.


Just like relaxing, confidence in what your saying is the confidence others having in listening. By asserting yourself with confidence, you have the ability to prove yourself as charismatic. Speaking confidently is the most compelling feature in charismatic people. History has proven this in constructive and destructive detail since the dawn of civilization. The more confidently you hold yourself and convey yourself, the more apt others are to believe in what you say.


Communication is sent and received in several different ways. Speech is only one form of communication but it is also a very important form. It’s how we learn about one another. It’s the way we share the information we can’t glean from body language or eye contact. It’s the centerpiece of our relationships. Speech can be destructive or constructive so it’s also a responsibility we shouldn’t take lightly. Not everyone is a great speaker in certain situations, but with a little practice and the willingness to learn, anyone can be a great speaker.

The Physical Process of Emotional Stress

Emotional stress is something we all experience. Ivan Lasater discusses the process our emotional stress can have on our physical selves.

Ivan Lasater, Moab
The Physical Process of Emotional Stress


The Limbic System

Have you ever heard of the “limbic system”? The limbic system is the part of our brain which controls sleep, libido, motivation, smell, emotional bonding, appetite, and moods. What a wide variety of different functions for one part of the brain to control. Have you ever asked yourself how all these different aspects of ourselves may be related?

Physical Effects of Stress

Stress can have drastic effects on our bodies. The unfortunate thing is, our bodies can’t always differentiate between emotional stress and physical danger. The responses, known as fight or flight, are the same to the body and can deliver the same adrenal reactions which might produce elevated heart rate, sweating, shaking, tightening of muscles and ultimately sickness if allowed to persist. Stressing about relationships or a job loss can produce the same physical effects as nearly being hit by a car.

Coping Mechanisms

The effects of stress causes people to find coping mechanisms that may or may not prolong the effects depending on how healthy of a coping mechanism it is. Coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol don’t deal directly with the stressor and only serve to treat the immediate emotional response which is sure to return as the effects of the drugs and alcohol ware off. This is known as a temporary solution and could eventually create its own list of physical and emotional side effects as a result. The trick is to allow the body to produce the chemicals it requires for healthy stress management on its own by creating a positive emotional balance within oneself.

Talking About It

A common misconception is that getting someone to talk about their feelings will help them. This isn’t necessarily true however. The reason is the brain has a hard time deriving logic from emotion. It just sends out signals to the body when stress occurs, that tell the body it needs this or that. It won’t solve your problems for you. How many times have you been in a stressful situation and been able to find closure or move on just by talking about it? The response I usually get is that it doesn’t really work that great. The reason is because talking about your stress brings it to the surface but gives no direction on how to let it go. Once at the surface, the body begins to react to it in the same way as if it were happening all over again. Talking about stress is a great way of identifying the stressor but to relieve that stress, another method is recommended here.

Allowing Yourself to Feel

Allowing yourself to feel the range of emotion that you deal with in a stressful situation could possibly be the best way of dealing with it. Our bodies go through a natural process of emotion when we’re stressed out and keeping that process from happening by implementing unhelpful coping mechanisms only prolong that stress.  When was the last time you we’re heart broke or angry and just allowed yourself to sit and feel the emotion involved? In doing so, you can allow your body to be involved in the full process of emotion and the chemicals in your brain that serve to protect your body from stress may be released of their own accord and creative positive emotion as a result. Don’ do this and you’ll find that your body may experience negative side effects in the areas of sleep, sex, motivation, appetite and mood. The reason is because the limbic system controls all of these functions and they are hard wired into our brains.

Effective Coping Mechanisms

There are effective coping mechanisms for stress which not only serve to make us healthier, they also serve to enhance our relationships with others. While experiencing negative emotions and stress its important to have enough presence of mind to allow the thoughts to occur while still maintaining the logical goal of allowing it to pass. Keeping in mind that situations like these are only temporary is a good way of doing that. With enough presence of mind, a person may find that physical exercise could produce helpful chemicals inside the brain. Another great coping mechanism is touching. Studies show that people who engage in regular compassionate contact with other human beings are a great deal less effected by stress than those who prefer to keep to themselves. Touching produces Oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone responsible for the bonding feeling we experience in our interpersonal relationships.


Coping mechanisms can span a wide variety of subjects. Stress can come from a wide variety of places. Trusting in the body’s natural defense against stress is simply relying on a million years of evolution vs a modern day quick fix which may prolong or intensify the stressful condition. Allowing yourself to experience the emotions you may feel as a result of stress could prove to be the fastest and healthiest way of coping with stress. A friend once gave me the best advice I’ve heard to date. He said, “Allow yourself to be present in the moment.” Sure enough, no truer words have ever been spoken.

Breaking Away: Incentive for Free Enterprise.

Free enterprise and entrepreneurship is on the rise. Many today are finding the incentive for breaking away from the mold.


Shattered Dreams

I can think of nothing more depressing than the thought of having to work for someone else for the rest of my life. I remember being hired for my first job at Jiffy Lube. I was so excited to be entering the modern workforce. Before I finished my second day I was already plotting and planning how I was going to spend my millions. I was sure they were going to promote me to manager before the month was over and I was going to buy the Jiffy Lube after saving my manager’s salary for a year or so. As you can imagine, my dreams had all been crushed when, after a month, I still hadn’t been promoted to manager and after year’s end I had only managed a 75 cent raise for my troubles. If there was one thing I was sure of at that point, it was that I never wanted to work for anyone but myself again.

About Me

My name is Ivan Lasater and I am the current Owner/CEO/Founder of ICL Enterprises and an Executive Operations Manager in the Oil and Gas Industry. I have a Business Administration degree from Utah State University and I specialize in Direct Tank Vapor Recovery. As you can probably tell, I have always been a little ambitious. My mom told me I was a born entrepreneur. I don’t know if people are born entrepreneurs but I will say I have always loved free enterprise. I’m not a special breed of person, I just wanted to sell some lemonade on the corner so I could afford that bike I needed to ride the dirt track behind my house. Here I am 35 years later and I am still finding ways to accomplish my goals that don’t involve slaving my life away.

Some people ask me why I’m so driven. The answer many expect is that I want to be rich. There’s nothing wrong with being rich and believe me, that’s certainly one of the reasons. But the primary reason I have this ambition inside me is simply that I refuse focus all my energy on getting someone else rich while I’m stuck settling for what they think I’m worth. I know what I’m worth and anything less isn’t good enough for me.


Entrepreneurship isn’t something someone should jump into without at least a basic understanding of business. It is always a risk and most small businesses fail within the first year because most first time entrepreneurs aren’t familiar with market trends, competition, new and innovative technologies, demographics, cost control, marketing strategies and so on and so forth. There really is a lot to know and a lot of what you need to know comes from trying and failing. But the ones who succeed are the ones who are willing to adapt, learn from their mistakes, and persevere. The greatest incentive for free enterprise has to be the desire to assume responsibility for one’s self and break away from the mold. The ability to succeed on my own terms is one of the most empowering feelings I’ve ever felt.

Key to Success

It’s very important to understand that the key to success isn’t necessarily hard work. I could work hard for the rest of my life and still retire with less than I need to be comfortable. The most successful entrepreneurs all have one thing in common. They have a plan. Nothing substitutes for a well laid plan. Look at people like Bill Gates, John D Rockefeller, Sam Walton, and Andrew Carnegie. Companies like Microsoft Corp., Standard Oil, Wallmart, and Carnegie Steel Corp. were all founded on innovative ideas that appealed to the needs of the consumer and a rock solid business model. The development and the execution of a solid business plan in combination with the ambition to assume complete responsibility for oneself is the recipe for success. Setting realistic goals for the growth of your small business will help you from being discouraged as you nurture the ideas that your plan is based on.


There is no greater goal in a free market economy than to become an entrepreneur. The growth of this nation from an industry based economy to a technology based economy came from the desire to innovate and improve the way we do business. What drives the capitalist ideals that make our economy strong is the desire to be independent. That’s the American Way. Independence, is and always has been the cornerstone of American business and the definition of free enterprise.

Four Easy Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise enthusiast and Grand County Oil and Gas Executive, Ivan Lasater has four easy tips for improving a healthy lifestyle.

 Effortless Health

The term “healthy Lifestyle” can have some very daunting connotations for some. But what a lot of people don’t realize is how easy and simple a healthy balance can be to achieve on a daily basis. In fact, you may engage in several aspects of healthy living already without being aware that you’re doing it and with a little tweaking, you could boost the effect it has on your life without taking all the extra effort you may think it requires.

Here are four easy tips which might prove to have a profound impact on the way you feel day-to-day.

Tip #1: Ahhhhhh, Glorious H2O!

Dehydration can be a serious problem. Especially when taking into consideration the fact that it’s the water you put into your body that’s responsible for controlling your body temperature, removing waste and other by-products, and protecting vital organs like your liver, kidneys, and heart. Water is also essential for transporting nutrients throughout your body. The average human being requires at least a half a gallon of H2O a day to keep from being dehydrated, but if you engage in strenuous exercise or spend a lot of time in the sun, you may need twice that. Holy Cow! How do I drink a half a gallon to a gallon a day when soda-pop and juice taste so much better? Here’s the tip. Fill a 32oz bottle with water in the morning when you wake up and carry it with you throughout the day. Fill it when it gets low or empty and just sip off it when you develop a thirst. You’ll get about 20% of the water you need from food as well. It’s okay to drink your soda or juice as long as you try to drink an equal amount of water with it each day.

Tip #2: Fruit is your Friend!

Fruit of all kinds are a great source of vitamins, nutrients, and even hydration. Fruit doesn’t have the addictive salty qualities and excessive processed sugar that other snack foods pack into their products. It actually grows on trees! Try a variety of fruit so you don’t get bored with the same old thing every day. Go into your local supermarket and just spend 10 or 15 minutes looking at all the different kinds of healthy fruit you can try, even ask someone who’s picking fruit you’ve never tried why they like that particular fruit. Fruit can range from sour to sweet. That covers a lot of the taste spectrum. Try mixing fruit with other things that you eat like yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, salad, or a fresh garden smoothie. Mixing vegetables with fruit or cutting it up into chunks and eating a bowl of fruit with milk and sugar are interesting ways of giving yourself the nutrients and antioxidants that your body demands as essential. Fruit is portable and comes in Mother Nature’s packaging. Its waste doesn’t sit in a landfill for thousands of years because it’s also biodegradable. Three servings a day is ideal for the average person but even if you only eat an apple a day, it helps to keep the doctor bills at bay.

Tip #3: Move!

No, that doesn’t mean pack your stuff and call the movers. It means move yourself. How much time do we spend during the day in a stationary position? Whether it’s watching TV, playing video games, or driving around we constantly find ourselves achy and sore from the amount of exercise we don’t get. I don’t know how many people I’ve heard complain about exercise because they hate the way it makes their muscles ache. The truth is, your muscles will ache chronically if you allow yourself to stay in a stationary position excessively. Here are some ideas for getting your butt up off that seat.

  • Walk 15 to 30 minutes a day
  • Do spontaneous push-ups
  • Join a sports league
  • Take the dog to the park
  • Yard work
  • Engage in household projects
  • Join a gym
  • Don’t drive to places you can walk to

Tip #4: Sleep!

Last but not least, the matter of proper sleep needs to be addressed. Did you know that the average American only averages about 6.8 hours of sleep per night? How much should we be getting? Health experts recommend 7 to 9 hours a night for good health and optimum cognitive ability. Sleep is so important. The body will do most of its healing and growing while you’re sleeping. Sleeping also resets the brain. How many times have you felt like loading up on coffee or sugar just to make through the day and perform optimally? Well guess what. Just allow yourself at least 8 hours of sleep at night and you’ll be able to significantly reduce your reliance on substances to boost your energy. Your brain will function better and your body will heal and grow more efficiently. Who knew that when your mom used to bark at you for sleeping in, she was stunting your growth? If you find yourself with too little time to prepare in the morning, consider going to bed a little earlier at night. That TV show or night out on the town could cost you your ability to function well the next day.

The Power of Making Mistakes

Grand County Petroleum Executive, Ivan Lasater, discusses the power of making mistakes and how to transform them into success.


A Common Misconception

Life is full of challenges that besiege us from time to time. One common misconception that many people are disillusioned by is the belief that mistakes work against us instead of working for our benefit. In actuality, the decision to view a mistake in a positive light can have dramatic effect on the possibility of our success. On the other hand, choosing to view a mistake as a failure can have catastrophic consequences on our ability to recover from them.

Ask yourself how many times you’ve been faced with a challenge and failed to overcome it, only to throw your hands in the air and give up. Then ask yourself how many times you’ve used the excuse that you’re powerless to change your situation as a crutch to justify poor performance and lack of effort. If this is something that you’re doing on a regular basis, I have news for you. You’re cheating yourself out of the learning experiences that would otherwise serve to make you a success.

Learning Experiences

A “learning experience” can be defined as the process an individual goes through to take from an experience knowledge, comprehension or mastery.

In 1863, Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I like that quote, but with a slight variation. I prefer to say that people who don’t learn from their mistakes are destined to relive them. This makes more sense to me because identifying that something in your past was a mistake can often times be the key word in identifying the negative connotation that keeps so many people stuck in that vicious cycle of failure. And the reminder that they may have to relive those unpleasant experiences can be a motivating force unto itself. Who wants to continue reliving a similar negative experience over and over again when the knowledge we gain from them can propel us on to a path of success and mastery? Viewing a mistake as a learning experience is the first step in turning it to your advantage.

Characteristics of Success and Failure

People from all walks of life face adversity and failure on a regular basis. What separates the successful professional from the unsuccessful wannabe isn’t the possibility that the professional is somehow ducking and dodging adversity, it is simply that he overcomes his adversity. So what does it take to overcome adversity? Here are a list of character traits most successful people have.


  1. Courage to overcome fear
  2. The ability to look at a situation objectively
  3. Confidence under fire
  4. Humility to admit when they are wrong
  5. Desire to find the right way
  6. Tenacity to pursue several avenues of problem solving

So what character traits do most people have that keeps them stuck in the same pattern of failure?


  1. Self-pity
  2. Blaming others
  3. Lack of confidence
  4. Unwillingness to learn other ways of doing things
  5. Excuse making
  6. Giving up

As you can see, these are very different character traits. They stand in complete contrast to one another and the truth is, if you possess one or more of each, you’ll generally gravitate towards that particular area on a consistent basis.


We’ve probably heard it all before but it is believed that Thomas Edison failed in his attempt to invent the lightbulb thousands of time before he finally got it right. Today our entire world is illuminated. If he had given up I’m sure we would be celebrating another historical figure as the man who brought us that convenience and it would be his name in the history books. The keys to success are in our ability to view our mistakes not as roadblocks, but as catalysts. Learn from your mistakes, grow from them, and never be afraid to make another one.

About the Author

Ivan Lasater is an Oil and Gas Operations Manager and the Owner/CEO/Founder of ICL Enterprises in Moab, Utah.