Going the Extra Mile…


Money, despite common belief, is the not the great motivator! It is not what makes people go the extra mile to achieve goals. Purpose is. According to Fullan, Moral Purpose “means acting with the intention of making a positive difference in the lives of employees, customers and society as a whole.”

Recently, a former employee contacted me. It has been over 30 years since we worked together. She, we will call her Susan, is a teacher and her first teaching assignment was to a community organization of which I served as the Executive Director. She shared with me that when she first saw our “school’ she cried.

“The place was so ugly.” Susan then went on to share that by the end of the year, “I fell in love with the place.”

What had changed? I asked her what changed. “The place was still ugly wasn’t it?” She told me it was, but she fell in love with the spirit of the place, the mission, the culture. “There was purpose to what we were doing. You could see it and feel it every day. It made me want to be a part of it.” In Susan’s case, it translated in donating hours after school and getting involved in mentoring students—in going the extra mile.

The best way to motivate people is to find ways to involve them in the mission, find ways to use their skills and make them proud of those skills and to value their knowledge and let them see the value they bring to the table.

In his article, “The Four Intrinsic Rewards that Drive Employee Engagement” Kenneth Thomas identified these four key steps to self-management:

  • Committing to a meaningful purpose
  • Choosing the best way of fulfilling that purpose
  • Making sure that one is performing work activities competently, and
  • Making sure that one is making progress to achieving the purpose.

Again, we come to purpose. How does one create a sense of purpose? Create a culture that nurtures, supports, recognized and celebrates values and beliefs that align with the group’s purpose. At first it is the personal passion of the leader that creates the momentum—the kind of passion that drives the leaders and incites enthusiasm and passion in others.

Passion alone doesn’t get the job done, though. Leaders need to grow leaders –leaders that feel the same passion and who will pass that passion on. Leaders must provide a set of strategies, a plan, and a vision that directs and guides people—an easy to understand roadmap not only telling where they are going, but what to do to get there step by step.

People want to be part of something bigger than them. Real Leaders provide them that opportunity.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

~John Quincy Adams

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