15th November 2018

“Why pride matters more than money”

The World’s Greatest Motivational Force

One of my favourite experts in the areas of organisational culture and leadership, Jon R Katzenbach, wrote a book entitled “Why pride matters more than money”. I don’t think it is his most important or best work, but the message is crucial and we forget it at our peril.

Humans are not logical. Far from it, and there is a stack of research which shows and demonstrates that we are first and foremost emotional beings. We are emotional beings that can do a bit of logic but our prime drivers are clearly emotional and definitely not logical.

This weekend saw us commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The TV coverage was excellent and I found myself deeply moved by the emotions of the participants with the stories of their ancestors who had fallen in the Great War. Given the passage of time there were very few people who had actually met the people they were speaking about and yet the tone of their comments, the overriding feeling, was one of pride. Pride in their individual effort, pride in their collective achievement and pride in their country. The emotion was palpable.

The subtitle of Katzenbach’s book is ‘The power of the world’s greatest motivational force’. I don’t know if pride really is the world’s greatest motivational force but it has to be up there. For me pride is a big word. It is a big concept. It spurs me on. It is important to me and I imagine that it is to many of us. I started to wonder just how much of a motivational force it is and how much it could be if intentionally nurtured.

I have also been reading a couple of books that are based around the research that the Gallup organisation has done on team engagement, ‘First Break all the Rules’ and ’12 The Elements of Great Managing’. They are based around the Gallup 12 questions survey and it strikes me that all of the questions have a common thread. They are all about making the individual feel good about the workplace. ‘At work, do my opinions seem to count?’; ‘Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?’ ‘And At work have I had opportunities to learn and grow?’ are just three of the twelve questions.

Having pride in the job; having pride in ourselves and having pride in the company and the work we collectively do is surely the pinnacle of feeling good about work. Pride is an intrinsic motivator. It arises deep inside each one of us and urges to repeatedly perform at an ever higher level, individually and collectively. It is so much more powerful than any extrinsic motivator, like money or reward.

I am forced to wonder how many of our team can genuinely say they are proud of the work they do, the people they work with and the things they produce, and given the power it has why we don’t go out of our way as leaders to help engender even more pride in our collective efforts. Maybe it is, after all, the worlds greatest motivational force.

REGISTER your place on our FREE seminar this month. Tuesday 20th November 6pm in the Cathedral Suite, Durham County Cricket Club, Chester le street. Topic is “The 7 New rules of business that a business degree wont teach you.”