What’s In It For Me?

Something finally occurred to this week.  People care (mostly) for themselves.  I’ve been observing some people recently, and have noted their project participation.  When there’s something in a project for them personally, they go gangbusters to finish it.  And when there’s nothing, they lose interest and quit.  At least, mentally that is.  Be it financial gain, or street cred, or just looking good.  There must be something in it for them.

I may be a little slow, but I had never really studied this aspect of human behavior.  I just thought people worked hard for their company and that was that.  Not so.  They work strictly for themselves.  And now that I look back on my career, I see the same pattern.  My own career was carefully crafted to climb the ladder of success.  If a project didn’t fit that model, I found a way out.  If it did, I worked it for all I was worth.  I wasn’t greedy with my time, but eventually gravitated toward projects that benefited me.  That’s not selfish, it’s just natural.

Knowing that gives me something to work with.  It means I must find ways to help people succeed in the projects I expect their help with.  I must find a clear benefit for each team member.  If there’s nothing in it for them, I should expect them to grow disinterested and mentally quit.  Sounds like a real challenge!