What’s in it for them?

Posted by Doc
Feb 04 2008

Originally posted on another blog on February 4, 2008


As I’m reading (and sometimes re-reading) Christopher Avery‘s wonderful book Teamwork Is An Individual Skill, my thinking gets stimulated. I really like Avery’s perspective on things that relate to teamwork, team building, and our personal responsibility.

Here’s a great excerpt:

Examine the logic contained in the following five statements:

  1. Everyone alive has hopes, dreams, and wants for themselves.
  2. People who have no hopes, dreams, or wants are dead.
  3. When people get out of bed and go to work, they have linked what they are going to do that day to their hopes, dreams, and wants in a way that makes sense to them. Or they wouldn’t get up, would they?
  4. Therefore, all of us have our own excellent reasons for investing in work projects–even if we have learned to deny or hide those reasons, sometimes even from ourselves.
  5. The best way for me to serve fellow workers is to help them uncover and focus on their own motivations–even if they attempt to convince me they have none.

If you agree with this logic, you can stop trying to dictate other people’s motivation today. The next time you need to motivate someone, try asking, “What’s in it for you to work on this project with this team?” and keep the other person in conversation until he comes up with the personal benefits that motivate him.

Isn’t that simple and lovely, yet exceptional. Ask the other person for their motivations. How well that ties into the concepts of teamwork.

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