For the last year I have been working on a project that is non-profit and I believe pretty groundbreaking in terms of its business model and offering. During this time I have learned even more about my strengths, weaknesses and learned to improve in many ways, take new risks and work to be a better leader. Building a business, whether profit or non-profit, requires people that believe in the vision and what is being delivered to the world.
Although you might have the crazy hair-brained idea to start something and have a partner or two that join you on this journey, it quickly becomes not about you. This is a fact that I had to learn the hard way in the past and have said things that were the result of my own pride and ego ending up hurting those around me and impact the project. This is why I present to you “Rule #5 – Compliment and Give Credit to People“. It has three parts to it:
Part 1 – Everyone has different agendas
We are a tribal species by nature and we find ourselves or place ourselves in various groups and based on the goals we unconsciously or some times bluntly craft an agenda or goal that we would like to achieve. Most people are very non-opportunistic people but in the group there are some that are just out for themselves and what something or someone will give to them without regard for reciprocity. While that is the more extreme and Machiavellian, there are more subtle agendas like adding skills for a resume for the next job or participating to be a part of the accolades that could possibly come.
But in many cases and what I experienced in this project was the best agenda and the one you hope everyone has and that is to create something so great and amazing that it changes the world even in some small way. These are the people that make you get up every day and promise to work your butt off because you refuse to let them down and I am humbled to be around some of the very best of these kinds of people.
Part 2 – If people stop believing, they will stop working
In order to execute and deliver, you need people and if you take them for granted, they will be out the door never to return. Whereas for-profit companies can hire someone and pay them some sort of salary, many non-profits, including this project, relies on unpaid volunteers. These people can be the saviors of the project and be the critical support to see the project to completion.
However, if you give them pause as to your commitment and passion to the project or show them your frustration, you will lose your most truest of believers in your project or startup. Secondary lesson? Believe in them and the project and don’t show them anything different even when you are at your most anxious and worried when things could all fall apart. They most likely won’t but if you show doubt, then they will doubt and then they will leave.
Part 3- Recognition can be more powerful than any money in the world
People take pride in their work and it might be a surprise to many that a great deal of people are not motivated by money. Sure we would all love to have more money in our checking account to pay debts, give a little more to charity or increase our standard of living but it is not a top priority as much of the media might have you believe. I know many people who are paid very well do a job they don’t really like and the only time they hear from their boss is when they screwed up or how they should have done it differently with no recommendation included in the reprimand. Those very same people take tremendous pride in their volunteer work or other project where they are recognized for their contribution. This pride in their work as well as to the credit give to them by those in charge motivates them to continue working hard and see a project to completion.
So in closing, spread the accolades and praise people as much as possible because they will know they are being recognized for the hard work they put in and be your biggest evangelists for your startup/project. No amount of money could motivate that because people recognize geniune passion in someone and it is usually contagious.Google+