Understanding the Values of Others

As we talked about yesterday, knowing what your personal values are is important. But knowing the status of other peoples’ values can be important, as well, especially if you are in a leadership position within any type of organization.

Are you interested in knowing how to motivate other people? If so, how much do you know about what these other people value, what they hold near and dear? Lou Tice often told the story of working with three quarterbacks, when he was a high school football coach. He asked each one what was important to him about playing the game.

One said he did it for the glory of God and to make his mom and dad proud. The second said it made him feel powerful, because he liked the idea of breaking through limits and defeating opponents who were trying as hard as they could to stop him. The third player said that football was his ticket out of poverty and the ghetto, because he hoped to get a football scholarship that would pay his way through college.

Now, there was no way that Lou, or any coach, could motivate all three of these kids in the same way. The things that were important to one didn’t matter at all to the others, and vice versa. In the final analysis, this story proves that our values are what motivate us to do what we do.

The president of one of our client organizations took it upon himself to personally facilitate our curriculum to all of his employees, so he could get to know exactly what was important to each of them, both personally and professionally. In the process, the organization moved from #11 to #1 in sales in his state, and from #36 to #5 in the nation. That investment of time allowed him to understand his employees, and provided “insider knowledge” toward accomplishing the organization’s sales goals.

So, if you want to motivate others, whether it is your team, your employees, your kids or your spouse, you want to present the motivation in terms that mean something to them, not necessarily to you. And that means you first need to understand their values.