Because of the tremendous response I received to March’s column which contained “Helpful Hints for Executives,” I decided to present some additional “Helpful Hints.” The two hints I would like to pass on this month are: “People Do Things for Their Reasons, Not Yours” and “The Time to Start Planning Your Next Budget is Immediately After You Get Approval on the Previous One.”
Hint # 4 People Do Things for Their Reasons, Not Yours
As a supervisor, manager, or executive, you may wonder why people you supervise don’t do what you would like them to do or why your boss or board of directors doesn’t respond positively to your ideas. It may be because you described what you wanted done in terms of what moves and motivates you and not in terms what moves or motivates them. It is important to understand that people do things for their reasons, not yours.
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” The question, then, is “how do we get people to want to do what we want done?”
The answer is that people will always behave in ways that are congruent with their highest values. If you understand that person’s highest values—what really means something to them—and you speak with them in a language that resonates with their highest values, you are more likely to get them to perform in the way you desire.
Let me illustrate the principle this way. When I was Executive Director of the Montgomery County Department of Community Supervision and Corrections, the Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), announced that in order to divert offenders from the Institutional Division (ID) of TDCJ, CJAD would make money available to local departments to develop and operate community corrections facilities (CCFs).