Originally published in Catalyst Magazine
What is the value of a single piece of information without any context? Knowing that the answer is “three”, without any other relevant information is useless. Even with a label, such as miles, dollars, or customers, you still don’t have any way to judge whether “three” is good or bad until you see it in relation to some other piece of information. Relationships are key to understanding the value of the data.
Most small business start with a great idea – it may be a revolutionary product, a service that meets a currently unmet need, or a small twist on an existing business that opens up a whole new market. There are businesses being founded every day on ideas that have the potential to change the world.
But then again, most small businesses also fail.
Most job descriptions I have seen focus on two areas: the responsibilities of the position (the present), and the experience or credentials required (the past). But the best candidates are not looking to repeat past accomplishments – they are looking for new challenges and opportunities to grow and advance (the future). If you want to attract the best and brightest talent, you need to focus on what the candidate can expect in the future should they accept the position, not just what is involved on day 1.
If you work in an Information Technology department, there will inevitably come a day that you have to "sell" some sort of technology to your business. Whether it's a new product or system, a major upgrade to an existing system, or a replacement for something that exists, you and your team will at some point feel it is important to make an investment in something that hasn't specifically been asked for by your business users.
This article might be described as a great big disclaimer to Management and Motivation Part 2 - 7 Motivating Factors. In that article, I described several basic motivational factors I have observed in people over the years.
Reality, however, is rarely that simple. Here, I hope to add some texture to that discussion by describing some exceptions and special circumstances where people are motivated differently than they might be otherwise.