The Motive

The Motive

Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities 

by Patrick Lencioni 

Why do you do what you do in leadership, management, or administration?  The “WHY” we do of “WHAT” we do is of ultimate importance.  The reasons FOR what we do is as important AS the things we do.

Jesus taught we would be judged from the heart, or the “WHY” of the things we do.  In his account of the judgment as recorded in Matthew 25, there is an amazing dynamic wherein some who were rejected seemed honestly amazed they were not admitted into his Kingdom, citing all the “THINGS” they did in his name in their earthly lives.  On the other hand, among those who were admitted into the Kingdom seemed just as amazed and wondered why they could enter.  Jesus explained to them it was the deeds they had done to serve others, often less fortunate than themselves.  The principle in play is the “WHY” of what they did.  Servant Leadership is pleasing to God, stores up treasures in heaven, and produces abundantly for the honor and glory of God.  On the other hand, Jesus said of those who do their deeds before men to be seen of them, “They have their reward.”  Does one lead to get a reward or to serve others?  While both play a role at some point in almost every leader’s life, which one is the primary reason for one being a leader?

In this book by Patrick Lencioni he does not present many new concepts.  It is reasonable to ask, “Then, why are you recommending this book?”  Because key points must be rehearsed regularly and cemented into the core of why we do what we do.  Most people will not understand the concept every time it is explained, even if it is told a dozen times.  But one which is told a dozen times is almost always understood at least once, and most likely several times.  This makes it memorable and practicable.  

Please listen to what others have to say of the book.  It is such a short read.  I will not go into more detail because you can read it quickly.  The book is short.  It is like the mortar that holds the points together in all his books.

Matthew Bynum: “This book should be required reading for each and every person in the world that calls themselves a leader.” 

Bill Pence:  “Patrick Lencioni writes that The Motive, his eleventh business book, is the shortest and simplest book he has written to date. It’s also the book of his that he would recommend those new to his books read first. He suspects that it may be the most important of his books because the danger of leading for the wrong reason is so high, not only for individuals, but for society as a whole. His objective is that the book help you understand and, perhaps, adjust your leadership motive so that you can fully embrace the difficult and critical nature of leading an organization.
The author follows his usual format – a leadership fable followed by a debrief of the main points illustrated in the story. In the fable, we meet Shay Davis, was promoted to CEO of Golden Gate Security six months ago. The company isn’t failing, but it is falling fall short of All-American Alarm, the leading national company in the home and small business security market. Shay decides to reach out to Lighthouse Partners, a small consulting firm that had a reputation for working with interesting and successful clients. One of those clients was Del Mar Alarm, the shining star of the regional security arena in California. Del Mar’s CEO is Liam Alcott. Surprisingly, it is actually Liam who calls Shay back and offers to meet with him. Shay is uncomfortable with this unusual approach, but agrees to the meeting.
As they meet, it becomes clear that Shay is spending his time on the work that he enjoys, and as a result is not doing the things that his company needs him to do as CEO – hold effective meetings, lead and manage his staff, and serve as the organization’s primary communicator – and that is why the organization’s performance is so far behind that of Del Mar. Initially, Shay resists what Liam is telling him, because it is so different from the way he leads.
In the “Lesson”, or debrief, the author tells us that there only two motives that drive people to become a leader. The first is that they want to serve others, to do whatever is necessary to bring about something good for the people they lead. He refers to this as responsibility-centered leadership. The second motive is that they want to be rewarded. He refers to this as reward-centered leadership. He writes that most leaders today don’t generally see their role as a privilege or a duty. They see it as a right and a reward.
He tells us that no leader is purely reward-centered or responsibility-centered. But one of these two motives for leadership will be predominant, and that motive will have a profound impact on the success of the leader and the organization he or she serves.
He then reviews five situations or responsibilities – building a leadership team, managing subordinates, having difficult conversations, running effective meetings, and constantly repeating key messages to employees – that reward-centered leaders delegate, abdicate, or avoid altogether, which cause the greatest problems for the people they lead. These are the most common omissions that reward-centered leaders find to be tedious, uncomfortable, or just plain hard. After the description of each situation or responsibility, is a “Leader Reflection and Call to Action” section to help you reflect on your own attitude and discern whether you may be struggling to some extent with reward-centered leadership.
Although a quick read, this excellent book clearly communicates the need to determine why you want to be a leader, and the importance of being a responsibility centered leader. One small concern was the realistic, but unnecessary, adult language that was sprinkled throughout the leadership fable.” 

Finally, in The Motive, Patrick Lencioni shifts his attention toward helping leaders understand the importance of why they are leading in the first place.  In addition to provoking readers to honestly assess themselves, Lencioni presents action steps for changing their approach in five key areas.

My suggestion is you put this on your reading list in your personal leadership ministry development.

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