Post to Twitter

In 2006 I gave this presentation to my old sales team when they asked me to come speak. Although it could use refreshing to make it more self-explanatory, its intention is still exactly on point for what I’m talking about today through PebbleStorm.

It was one of those epiphany decks…it came to me in a morning and I slapped it together in a couple of hours. I realized that morning that I didn’t want to talk about sales stuff – I wanted to change the way they were thinking about work. How could I get them to appreciate the value of working primarily for enjoyment and other intrinsic motivations, rather than addictive, ultimately empty, extrinsic motivations like titles?

(Now – the culture there of emphasizing extrinsic rewards like titles wasn’t a dynamic created by that team, it was a dynamic at the whole company…which rewarded people with titles so frequently that it was impossible to keep track of all the levels. Now I know how dogs feel in training school 🙂  Having said that, I appreciate and am grateful for everything I learned at the company and for the amazing people there.)

If you work mostly to earn money or prestige (rather than for the enjoyment of the job itself), you end up in a vicious cycle because those external motivators will never truly satisfy you. Soon after you make more money or acquire more prestige, you get used to it (habituated), as an addict gets used to higher doses of drugs. Then you need a new fix (even more money, a bigger title) to get that high back…leading to a cycle of dysfunction.

A brief intro to the deck: I believe that capitalism/westernism taken too far is destructive (Enron, pollution…), and I believe that buddhism/easternism taken too far is stagnating (no development, no progress).

However, combine the best of the west (progress, advancement, development) and the best of the east (self-awareness, equanimity, centeredness)…you can have the best of both worlds: success without drama. In fact – the lack of drama, and its associated waste of energy, is one key part of helping you achieve more success than in an extreme capitalism/”show me the money and nothing else matters” model.

The intention behind the deck was to get the sales team a-thinkin’ about more than their next career step – I wanted them to begin paying attention to themselves and their purpose, and to increase their awareness of how different kinds of motivators (extrinsic v intrinsic) can lead to very different outcomes (unhappiness vs happiness). I wanted to nudge them to a more constructive path.

Hmm – I’ll have to put out the word to see if anyone back then remembers the presentation, and if it changed their thinking…

In the coming months, as I work with a handful of CEOs interested in trying out new ideas in their organizations in order to unlock their total potential, I’ll publish examples of how to put these ideas into practice.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.