Summary: Why Pride Matters More Than Money by Jon Katzenbach

1. Money by itself is likely to produce self-serving behavior and skin-deep organizational commitment rather than the type of institution-building

2. But pride is more than simply an emotional reward for high achievement; it also motivates us toward such achievement. Because justifiable feelings of pride are so extremely rewarding, the anticipation of those feelings is also very motivating.

3. Like the best mothers, they realize that the anticipation of feeling proud is a more powerful motivator than the anticipation of being punished.

4. As with most people, “making Mom proud of me” was behind my early efforts to perform well. She always made it clear what would make her proud of me—and what would not.

5. I came away with renewed insights about how to instill pride in myself and those I work with:

  • Set aspirations that touch the emotions: Impossible dreams are a source of pride even though they remain unachievable.

  • Pursue a meaningful purpose: Great organizations whose aspirations are not necessarily “noble” still pursue clear missions that provide a meaningful purpose for their people as well as to their customers and shareholders.

  • Cultivate personal relationships of respect: Probably the most lasting benefits to be gained from a lifetime of work in different occupations come from the personal relationships of mutual trust and respect that one develops along the way.

  • Become a person of high character: Integrity, common courtesy, emotional commitment, and unassuming pride in group performance are the hallmarks of great human beings—not intellect, charisma, power, or personal gain.

  • Look for the humor along the way: As Mary Poppins said, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

6. Richard Cavanagh, an old friend and current CEO of the prestigious Conference Board, makes a point of not hiring people who lack a sense of humor; so do I.

7. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs cannot be ignored. There is a baseline of monetary need and “fairness” beneath which motivation and pride will sink. When people are not paid enough to meet their fundamental human-safety and comfort needs, neither pride nor loyalty prevails.

8. Similarly, institution-building pride can motivate people behaviors that are bad for the enterprise.

9. Good results accrue to the enterprise only when the emphasis is on individual and group efforts that fit with organizational priorities and enhance long-term business success. The best leaders and managers will influence people to take pride in achieving personal goals that align with company goals, building skills that match company needs, and creating teams that achieve important business results.

10. SELF-SERVING PRIDE - This kind of pride encompasses both power and materialism, and the latter is primarily a game of “show me the money”—and the more you can earn, accumulate, and visibly deploy, the better. People who play this game well focus their attention on whatever will reward them the most monetarily, and whatever will position them to control the most resources (human and economic).

11. Institution-building pride is based upon largely intangible values and basic human emotions, rather than tangible compensation and crystal-clear logic.

12. It almost goes without saying that the prospect of earning more money motivates higher performance. In fact, most well-intended managers believe that the best way to reward as well as motivate their employees is by dangling more “coin of the realm” in front of them. Yet this conventional wisdom of “pay for performance” is both incomplete and misleading.

13. Moreover, relying on money as the primary source of motivation can get expensive for the company, particularly if it doesn’t really produce commensurate results.

14. People who are emotionally committed to something—be it a person, a group, an enterprise, a cause, or an aspiration—behave in ways that defy logic and often produce results that are well beyond expectations. They pursue impossible dreams, work ridiculous hours, and resolve unsolvable problems.

15. Monetary compensation is simply not a motivational factor within a true performing team because the extra performance the group achieves results from collective or joint efforts that are rarely recognized by monetary rewards.

16. Self-serving pride is unavoidable because it stems from basic human needs. We must have money to buy the food, clothing, and shelter that

17.Nonetheless, when it comes to generating higher levels of performance over the long term, self-serving pride has many shortfalls, including the following:

  • Money attracts and retains people better than it motivates them to excel.

  • Money works only as long as you can pay more than the competition.

  • A monetary focus can obscure the fundamentals because you cannot easily convert short-term earnings into lasting value.

  • Self-serving employees can take advantage of monetary incentive plans.

  • Money and title differentials work better at the top than at the bottom because the value-added differences are more evident.

  • Money and ego motivate individuals better than they do teams or groups. 

  • Materialism easily turns into greed and self-serving behaviors.

18.  From an enterprise point of view, money only works as long as some other enterprise does not offer your top performers a higher amount. 

19. And as implied before, whenever the company faces tough times, the positive aspects of monetary incentives turn negative. The best people leave just when you need them the most. And the mediocre performers hang on as long as possible, because they fear they cannot find good-paying jobs elsewhere.

20. In the Corps, however, we expect Marine leaders at all levels to worry only about two things. First and foremost is mission accomplishment: you must accomplish your mission—no matter what—unless the person who gave you that mission changes it. 

21. The second thing we want you to worry about is taking care of your troops—each and every one of them. We expect you to bring them home dead or alive under any and all conditions.

22. The following comments excerpted from the focus groups we conducted reflect the different kinds of pride that motivate Microsoft people:

  • The products: “We work on products that everyone is likely to use—and I mean everyone. More than one hundred million people use Office, my product. People will stop me in the middle of a conversation and say, ‘You worked on that [feature]?’ It’s instant respect and a great ego rush.”

  • The project teams: Project teams often came up as a source of pride. “People on my former project were so superexcited to be working on this application technology. They didn’t really care where they were in the organization or what title they had—they just wanted to work with this technology. We still get together whenever a customer has a problem that needs to be solved.”

  • The people: “I really think that it’s all about the talent. We have the best technical talent in the world, and what’s even better is that anyone here can have access to all of it!

  • The impossible dream: One focus group member put it in a much more personal way: “I make products that even my grandmother uses!

23. PRIDE IN HOW YOU WORK The “how” refers to the set of values, standards, work ethics, and commitment you apply to your job.

24. There is a right way to do almost any job, and the best workers take pride in mastering it.

25. While such leaders are in short supply at every level of the company, they do exist. However, it takes much more than lip service to increase the supply and capitalize on its performance potential. You start by encouraging leaders at all levels to pay close attention to, and diligently cultivate, what employees already take pride in.

26. It is important to make heroes and role models out of such people. It is even more important to find ways to transfer their skills and techniques and tools to others.

27. But what motivates upper-level executives and professional leaders is considerably different from what motivates frontline employees and supervisors. This difference is even more pronounced when a company is not doing particularly well.

28. Rich works to reinforce a sense of ownership and pride in his employees by 

(1) communicating constantly to be sure his people understand the broader “why” behind their work, 

(2) tying their day-to-day activities to the larger goals of the unit and the company, and 

(3) showing them how their everyday efforts are progressing toward these larger goals.

29. So whenever someone’s good work receives praise or thanks from a customer, Rich publicizes it among all of his employees. Thus, he gets employees to take pride and ownership in their work along the way as well as when major “pride-inducing” milestones occur.

30. For employees on the front line, however, Brian spends the majority of his efforts on creative recognition and celebration. 

31. Here, Brian is far more a cheerleader than a “numbers guy.” His enthusiasm is as infectious as it is evident as he speaks in detail about the many different programs and the small, mostly nonmonetary incentives that engage frontline employees and make them proud to be part of the Tampa office.

32. He has established numerous trophies, pizza parties, and monthly newsletter features to recognize specific employees for such things as exceptional performance on quality measures, attention to detail, and pride in serving the customer.

33. Some of these originate as managerial, but others are peer-induced. For example, one program encourages employees to send notes of congratulations or “Gotcha’s” to their peers (with a copy to managers), recognizing a job well done or positive feedback from customers. Recognition from peers, of course, is an excellent complement to Brian’s managerial regimen of reinforcement. It enables employees to get actively involved in the celebration, as well as to interpret and better understand the office’s strategic priorities.

34. When Morton was describing some of the leadership teams that I was planning to research, he would often point out that the primary criteria in selecting each member of the group were complementary skills rather than personal characteristics. Others would worry that such groups “wouldn’t get along,” but Morton was confident that their mutual respect for one another’s skills and experience would more than offset any personality differences.

35. In short, money attracts and retains, whereas pride motivates!

36. That pride is instilled and cultivated by a set of processes and metrics that were essentially designed and monitored by the employees themselves.

37. Enterprises such as Hills Pet Nutrition that excel along the P&M path take the process and metrics doctrine one important step further: They insist that the technicians who will be measured against and guided by a particular set of processes and metrics are an active and integral part of designing those elements for the organization. Sounds simple enough, but it is pretty rare to find that principle in practice.

38. His father, a full-blooded Cherokee, taught him about how people listen best to behavior: “Your behavior is so loud I can’t concentrate on what you are saying.”

39. We also found that the best “manager motivators” concentrate their efforts along three fundamental themes: 

(1) always have your compass set on pride (don’t mistake pride in the destination for pride along the journey), 

(2) localize as much as possible (don’t wait for the company or its senior leaders to instill it), and 

(3) integrate multiple sources of pride around a few simple messages (don’t confuse your people with needless complexity).

40. Pride-builders are always in hot pursuit of emotional commitment rather than rational compliance; that is why their compass always points to pride. Four specific techniques are worth mentioning:

  • Clarify exactly what matters and why it matters.

  • Stimulate people’s memories, both real and vicarious. Since people can seldom feel the pride of completion at the beginning of a difficult journey, it is critical for them to remember what it will feel like. Recalling their own experience along earlier successful journeys,

  • Celebrate the “steps” as much as the “landings.”

41. Peter Senge once reminded me that if you have ever been a member of a true high-performance team, you will probably spend the rest of your life searching for another one. And most of us can vicariously recall team feelings of pride when we watch a movie like The Dirty Dozen. Pride-builders use both real and vicarious techniques of recall to great advantage.

42. Localize as Much as Possible Despite the impressive leadership systems in the peak-performance organizations, we have discovered that the best efforts are localized.

43. These local sources of pride provide the kind of flexibility to adapt that is so critical over time.

44. Draw primarily on local analogies and role models. If you have ever watched the Special Olympics on television (or been fortunate enough to attend in person),

45. Tap into family, community, and union events. Pride-builders invariably go outside the workplace to find sources of pride that will be relevant to the workplace.

46. Trigger the “anticipation” of feeling proud locally.

47. When you are trying to instill pride in future performance, it is much easier to get your people to anticipate those motivation feelings by drawing upon stories and heroes that are local and well-known to your people. Triggering feelings of pride that must anticipate future performance is easier to do when the trigger mechanisms are familiar and credible.

48. Develop and repeat your most compelling stories. People seldom tire of good stories that stir up feelings of pride.

49. Perhaps the worst pitfall is the one to conclude on: complexity. Don’t overload the system! Because institution-building pride comes from many sources and utilizes many mechanisms, it is all too easy to try to do it all at once.