At S.J. Janis Company in Wauwatosa, Wis., it's not all business. Owner and sales manager Gary Sannes believes that what's important to his employees personally affects them professionally.

Sannes asks each member of his sales team annually to write down one- and five-year professional and personal goals. Top designer Kelly Bolden says this action has added a new level of motivation to her working life. "Having written personal goals gives me a direction in which to focus my energies," Bolden says. "And I find that they often tie into my professional goals as well."

One of Bolden's goals is to increase the number of vacations she takes each year. Her sales will have to increase to achieve it. "If I achieve what I want to in my life," she explains, "I'll be happier. And if I'm happier, I'll sell more. It's a wonderful circle."

The key is to continually monitor progress, says Bolden, who reviews her goals monthly on her own and quarterly with Sannes. "The accountability is huge," she says. "It makes all the difference in maintaining momentum." As soon as one goal is accomplished, another is added.

Sannes doesn't ask his employees to do anything that he won't do, so he shares his personal goals with his team. "We really appreciate Gary for sharing," Bolden says. "It makes us feel that he places importance on this part of our lives and gives us information on the direction he's headed." --Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage, Fulton, Md. (301) 490-5620, [email protected].