I was having lunch with a friend who’s a local leader in the non-profit sector. She’s determined, visionary and stubborn in a good way. As we were discussing how to go about internal and external hurdles to advance the initiatives she’s leading, it became clear to us that there are three powerful motivators behind people’s actions in organizations.
The first one is to provide self-assurance. “I am the director of communications, therefore I demand to see your email to the external provider before you send it. You can ask the President, he’s aware and approves of this”.
I do this because it’s good for me.
The second one is to do things because that’s what the company / non-profit / agency is supposed to do. What’s always been done.
“As the director of communications, I oversee, review and approve all external communications”.
This is a way of avoiding to challenge the status quo and the extra effort that comes with it. Less paranoid than the first but a close relative.
I do this because it’s good for the organization.
The third one recognizes the importance of the work to be done, is fully committed to see it come through and doesn’t care about who gets the credit. It admits that mistakes will be done but realizes it’s everyone’s job to prevent them, and doesn’t point fingers at each other months after they happen.
“I am responsible for ensuring all communications efforts are effective, represent who we are and why we do things. How can I help you have the most impact on your conversations with the media / customers / public? By the way, here are my tricks of the trade. I trust you will do the right thing, please follow these guidelines. You know my number if you run into any trouble”.
I do this because it supports a shared vision, serves other and builds something bigger than me or the company.