I have long been of the opinion that to deliver our very best work we need to believe that we are contributing to something greater than ourselves. This is why it is so important for company leadership to clearly communicate a vision, and to explain how the contributions of each department and team aligns with and delivers on this vision. Otherwise your employees come to work just draw a paycheck, with no motivation to go the extra mile, to complete that one extra task, or check the quality one more time.
How often when faced with staff dissatisfaction or low productivity do managers resort to pay raises, hollow title changes, or worse, threats of disciplinary action, even termination? This anachronistic approach to motivation should have died out long ago. While these out-of-date techniques may result in short term improvements, they are not sustained.
We can learn from Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Once financial security is achieved there is a diminishing value in increased financial incentives. Moving up the hierarchy to elevated needs such as self-esteem, achievement, respect by others, and self-actualization it is readily apparent how alignment with a grand vision, working with high powered teams, and understanding how your contribution affects the success of the company, or, better yet Society, all create long term alignment and commitment with an organization.
Top performing teams can be created by clearly communicating a grand vision (or “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” to quote Jim Collins from “Built to Last”.Through alignment with this vision employees find one aspect of their personal significance.