Moving from Me to We

WIIFM or “what’s in it for me?” is a strategy for facilitators of change everywhere.  It taps into that American culture of rugged individualism.  It taps into individual motivation.  I’m not saying that is a bad thing – it’s real and pragmatic and it works.  Many podcasters, journalists, and bloggers are expressing a sense of optimism for the future after they witnessed individual compliance with world-wide pandemic measures.  It has been pretty incredible to witness!  Several of those same publications cautioned that the pandemic was simply a dress rehearsal for global climate change.  If we can do what we have done for the pandemic then surely we could do the hard work necessary to combat the looming climate crisis.

And yet, I do not share their optimism about this behavior we are seeing and participating in.  Because it is tied to WIFFM.  It is tied to a “me” motivation not a “we” motivation.  Our individual behavior has had to change in order to maintain our personal health and the health of those we love.  And that is strong motivation to be sure.  Now we are seeing the push back on the stringent quarantine measures when some people decided that their WIIFM was more important that the WIIFA or the “what’s in it for all?”

How do we make the journey from ME to WE?  Who are our guides and where are our maps?  As an American citizen and a person of faith, I have some maps available to me. Our Constitution is one map. As an American citizen I have rights and privileges granted to me.  And those rights and privileges are granted to EVERY citizen.  My rights are to be exercised in communion with my fellow citizens because it is TOGETHER that we create the nation.

This is advanced human interaction – that is what a democracy is.  It’s an advanced way of governance.  It, by its very nature, confers respect and responsibility to individuals to work together for the common good.  This social construct breaks down when we try to take what was intended to serve the common good and subvert it to an exercise of individual preferences.   Revisit our Constitution and enjoy the beautiful language of the Preamble.  The Preamble creates a framework within which the Bill of Rights and subsequent Amendments are to work and live in concert with one another.  Consider using it as a map to guide us from our small, me to the big WE.

The Bible, and for me, Jesus, provides another map.  The teachings of Jesus, and many wisdom teachers, task us to serve one another.  It’s stronger than that, right?  We are tasked to LOVE one another.  There is nothing “me-ish” about that.  That is a big WE thing we are called to do.  Me loving you makes a WE.  And like most of the teachings of Jesus, they are easier said than done.  Because that neighbor I am called to love may not look like me, sound like me, think like me, or value the same things I do.  Hard work.  Worthy work.

We as a society, as a nation, as the human race have some tough challenges ahead of us.  We do have the capacity, the ingenuity, the grit and the determination to meet those challenges.  And many of the biggest challenges will require big changes in how we conduct ourselves in the world.  Expanding our sense of responsibility beyond our ME to the WE, valuing and respecting the WIIFA, being not simply compliant but committed to WIIFA is what it will take for us to move into a future that encompasses all.

We are in new territory. Do you or your organization need some guidance to find your way forward? Contact me and let’s talk about it.

Appreciation vs Valuing

Everyone appreciates being appreciated, it’s only natural.  And offering appreciation is easy and it needn’t cost a penny.  Valuing someone and their contribution is a higher level of appreciation.  It also doesn’t necessarily require a financial outlay – but it does require more thoughtfulness.  By that I mean you need to not only know what you value but what they value.

Move from simple appreciation to the deeper act of valuing by invoking the Platinum Rule, “do (give) unto others what they would like to be done unto (be given).”  Often appreciation comes under the guise of the Golden Rule and it bears the likeness of what we value and how we like to be valued.  Let’s be honest, that is just easier!  And that is why valuing someone may takes more time and thoughtfulness.  What motivates this person?  What do they need?  Want?  What can you do to tap into that motivation?

Perhaps it’s time for an example.  You have a staff member who has shown good judgment in a difficult situation and you really appreciate it.  In a staff meeting you state your appreciation of this person and feel good about praising in public.  What perhaps you didn’t know is that this person really wants to be included more than applauded.  What would really get them jazzed would be for their good judgment to be honored by asking for more of it – perhaps including them in a decision-making process, a special work group or task.

Moving from being a good manager to being a great manager can hinge on these seemingly small differentiations.  It requires that you get to know your people, see them as individuals with strengths and preferences. Listen to them, get to know them, take note of conversations where they show excitement and energy and those where they discuss challenges and obstacles.  The next time you are amazed by their contribution and want to show that you not only appreciate it but value it – put that knowledge to use!  Gift them a long lunch, tickets to a comedy show, a gift certificate for a massage, or perhaps an invitation to participate in a leadership circle – it just depends on what you know about what they value.

Give it some thought.  Who in your life is doing a great job and probably needs some affirmation of their value?  What do you know about them and what they value?  Start valuing the good work you see in your life, at work and elsewhere, and see how it will motivate them to even greater heights.  Being truly seen, known and valued for who you are and your contributions is a tremendously powerful gift.  Be generous!

Are you and your team are struggling to be generous with one another and find your way to valuing one another? I am committed to helping you you find a pathway to greater generosity of spirit and positive regard for one another.

Contact me now!