Carolyn Aiken and Scott Keller

Research by a number of leading thinkers in the social sciences, such as Danah Zohar, has shown that when managers and employees are asked what motivates them the most in their work they are equally split among fve forms of impact—impact on society (for instance, building the community and stewarding resources), impact on the customer (for example, providing superior service), impact on the company and its shareholders, impact on the working team (for example, creating a caring environment), and impact on “me” personally (my development, paycheck, and bonus).

This fnding has profound implications for leaders. What the leader cares about (and typically bases at least 80 percent of his or her message to others on) does not tap into roughly 80 percent of the workforce’s primary motivators for putting extra energy into the change program. Change leaders need to be able to tell a change story that covers all fve things that motivate employees. In doing so, they can unleash tremendous amounts of energy that would otherwise remain latent in the organization.

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