How Do You Inspire Your Team To Greatness?

brett fox
4 min readOct 18, 2021

“You’re going to be working nights. You’re going to be working weekends to get this done,” Maxim Integrated Products CEO, Jack Gifford, said to the heads of the various business units of the company.

Picture: Depositphotos

Gifford had come up with a cleaver marketing idea, and he wanted it implemented in a month instead of the three months it should take. At the time, our revenue was around $200 million per year on the way to over $1 billion per year.

Gifford recognized that the assignment would require extra effort to get done, so he decided to go the intimidation route.

I happened to be sitting next to Dave, who was running the power management group. Dave looked at me and quipped, “I’m already working nights and weekends. What else does he (Gifford) expect me to do.”

I nodded my head in agreement, laughed sarcastically, and said, “Me too.”

How you will inspire your employees to exert extra effort will depend upon your style and company culture.

Gifford liked to say he managed through a combination of “fear and greed.” The reality was his management approach was much more nuanced.

For example, the best piece of management advice he gave me was, “You need to understand when to put on the gas and when to apply the brakes.” In other words, you can’t just run your team into the ground.

However, this particular assignment was important, so he was sending us a message there would be no excuses. We had to get this done on time or there would be consequences.

No one was going to defy Gifford on a critical project like this. Magically, we all found a way to get the project done on schedule.

A large part of the reason you’ll be able to inspire your team to exert extra effort is if you hire the right people.

So why was Gifford successful with this and other efforts? To start, Gifford and Maxim’s management team were very selective in the people the company hired.

There were two things we were looking for in every employee we added. The first thing we looked…



brett fox

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at