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on Leading the Next Generation


Meeting Heroes at the Catalyst Conference

Yesterday, I got to spend personal time interacting with two of my favorite authors. They have been heroes on my leadership journey. Seth Godin is the author of Purple Cow, Linchpin, Tribes, and other great books. I got to have lunch with him, and while I ate a healthy helping of lasagna, my mind was fed even better than my stomach. He fielded question after question from the small group of folks who conversed with him. Seth reminded us that there’s a difference between “gifts” and “generosity.” Salesmen give their potential clients “gifts” which are things you get for free… but in reality, he’s expecting some return on those gifts. Once he gives them, you feel a bit obligated to buy something from him. Generosity is all about giving something — time, money, objects — and the giver has no expectation or assumption they’ll receive anything in return. Motives are pure and the giving is out of a desire to add value to the other person. That’s how business is supposed to be done. Profit comes as a by-product, but the reason the businessperson entered the industry was to add value and serve people.

The other writer is Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and Drive. Both books have revolutionized the way I train leaders. Dan told us we need to change our assumptions about the best way to motivate our teams. Motivation 1.0 was about survival. Motivation 2.0 was about carrots and sticks (rewards and punishments). But, Motivation 3.0 is all about autonomy, mastery and purpose. All of these three are issues of the heart: People want to master something, work independently and to work toward something meaningful that is bigger than themselves.  This is true about businesses, NPOs, churches, you name it.

I recommend the Catalyst Conference. These are the kind of leaders you get to hear. The event happens every October — and each year, it is my favorite event to attend just to grow. Just thought I’d share a couple of highlights with you from 2010.


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Meeting Heroes at the Catalyst Conference