Purpose And Passion, Not Profits

To those who love their jobs: purpose and passion trump profit as a motivator to produce great work.  This is something I’ve been conscious of long before I started working for others.  I noted this while in university – grades never motivated me nearly as much as if I viewed the subject matter as purposeful and the professor as passionate.

It’s a common theme in sociology texts, but still something that many still fail to grasp (or believe) even though there’s data behind it.  This is either because it goes against what they were taught, or are completely ingrained in the idea of money as central to the reason why we work.  It’s all they have ever seen used as a motivator, and so it’s difficult for them to imagine other things being used as motivation.  But to truly valuable professionals in any industry, money as a motivator pales in comparison to passion and purpose.  Simply put, money alone does not attract or maintain great talent.

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) produced a great video that expresses this very notion and shows some proof points in an easy to consume format.   It makes a thoughtful argument that money is not central to motivating or attracting the best teams:

Are you motivating your team by money or are you encouraging and nurturing their passions?

Are you giving them purpose or simply a greater workload for the sake of increasing your revenue?

Is your company’s whole purpose merely to increase revenue or are you actually trying to change something?

The information economy linchpins – especially within marketing/PR – are the most creative, agile and motivated individuals.  Not those driven purely by profits.  Find a way to attract and maintain those folk or you’ll continue to find yourself behind competitors.

In the end, money could be your undoing if your creative thinking for rallying your employees long term (or even day to day) can’t think beyond money.  You can’t innovate with purely profit-driven teams.