Motivational Clashes – Communicate Your Values after Hearing out Theirs

A successful entrepreneur more often than not is motivated “towards” opportunities and high reaching goals. This is the ideal situation for growing and building business, expanding and establishing it on the market and going ahead of competition.

Yet, being a leader of a team,  in which most of the people motivated “away” from risks and losses, could be a great point of tension and misunderstanding not mentioning the frustration and extra energy spent trying turning ‘doubting Thomases’ around. Of course people with opposite motivational modes have certain added value, being cautious and certainty oriented they would be a natural check points for stability and financial security of the enterprise and this resource could not be diminished and overlooked for all what it worth. The trouble starts when the motivational clashes prevent growth and healthy investment into values that bring organization to the next level of sustainability.

There are some ways to ease ‘the conflict’ along the way.  When building the team look out for healthy proportion ‘towards’ and ‘away’ of new employees. Could ask potential employees their personal (not necessarily work related) life stories during interviews what moved them to do things in their childhood and later in life. Ask them their primary question, set up a situation for potential success or failure and ask them to notice what first reaction they notice. People ask themselves different questions (like ‘Are they going to laugh at me?’ – significance; ‘Am I still being loved?’ – love and connection, ‘Is it going to fail?’ – certainty, ‘Is it going to be boring?’ – variety,  etc. Questions will differ depending on their lead human need (look below). This could bring a fresh look onto person’s motivational mode. More often employers ask for soft skill set and abilities and not core character attributes and values.  Lokking for latter could help finding more ‘towards’ people that are essential for sales and managerial positions. Of-course, some roles in business generally imply the ‘away’ mentality. Like your CFO chef financial officer, naturally is a risk averting figure whose main function is to keep a hawk’s eye on every penny for the company to be financially healthy and stable.

So why people get frustrated and cannot get the values of the opposite side. First of all everyone is meeting their most important need or two from the six human needs based on Maslow hierarchy of needs first four known as material ones – (1) certainty, (2) variety, (3) significance, (4) love and connection; and last two – spiritual – (5) growth and (6) contribution. For the ‘towards’ motivated entrepreneurs the leading need could be variety, significance and even love and connection and their business is a vehicle to satisfy these needs and their certainty is derived from action and expansion. On the higher level the spiritual needs of growth and contribution are even stronger ‘towards’ motivators. Whereas for risk averted people certainty is the most important need and whenever things get a bit shaky and too speedy the need for certainty presents itself even stronger and accounts become even tighter and expansion harder. These ways to satisfy the human needs are at the core of each person and are not easily changed just in the course of working together in the business setting.

But the tension is not a necessary hurdle of the process if each side learns to communicate their values, rather than standing their ground no matter what. Ironically,  communicating your own values involves listening to other people’s values first without taking it as an attack on your own. How to bring the ‘away’ person on board? The leader will want to ask them to find and monitor and bring to their attention all the pitfalls and risks and possible failures in their new project. When the leader initiates this kind of conversation it engages the energy of the ‘away’ person in their ‘positive’ manner. They are asked to participate in the project the way they can rather than them pressing the brake pedal all they way resisting the project to even lift off the ground. But this could not be used as a ploy to avert attention. It must be a genuine way to show the appreciation and validation that the leader can provide to their team. As soon as it’s used as a trick it doesn’t work.

After such initial engagement the ‘towards’ person can start explaining their values that move them closer to their goals and how it’s going to benefit the whole enterprise on so many levels. Only after the ‘fears’ were heard and acknowledged by the leader his vision and motivation could be communicated fully. A big mistake is to leave the ‘vessel’ empty at this stage and not to bother explaining how the leader came to a conclusion of certain investment, decision, expenditure and so on, because the vacuum will again be filled with hesitancy and doubts. So taking time and discovering together your logical/intuitive process of making a decision is the big part and unavoidable for all parties to move into right direction.

Wherever there is the clash of any kind take time to (1) listen first to understand, (2) engage the person they way they can operate and then (3) reveal your motivation step by step, too.  It’s crucial to make each of these three steps initially and then repeat again and again continuously. Business decisions are often fast responses to opportunities, but repeating successful outcomes are products of steady processes. Once you’ve set a template you can use it again and again. In time the opposites will learn to see each other’s side and thrive.

Photo by Juhasz Imre on