It all comes down to values

By Claire Hall

Last Wednesday, I went to Cass Business School’s final Charity Talk of the current series, at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness.

The speakers were Cath Lee, Chief Executive of Leeds Mencap, and Atul Patel, Principal Consultant at Cass CCE, on the topic of 'Managing and motivating staff in your team'.

One message in particular stuck with me from the evening:

Motivation is intrinsic. As a leader, especially in a charity organisation, you need to know the motivations of all your staff. Not just the singular team motivation, but the multiple motivations of each individual.

If we know that intrinsic motivations are divorced of reward and avoidance of punishment, it is easy to see the connection to values. A related theme from the evening, about refraining from applying a ‘one size fits all approach’ with your staff, was good to hear, as it can lead to generic organisational values that your staff find hard to reflect. Listening to and valuing everyone as individuals is important in defining your organisation.

We work with some fantastic vision-led organisations on their brand positioning and key messages, and it’s great to see staff members really getting stuck in during our workshops. Everyone clearly enjoys discovering their colleagues' ideas about the organisation, no matter how serious or silly. Sometimes thoughts shared are common, but often, participants surprise each other with things they have not previously expressed. When we drill down into the heart and soul of the outcomes of the workshops, we see how closely the suggestions and comments relate to intrinsic motivation. It’s common knowledge that charities’ values are more aligned to their staff’s personal values, more so than in other sectors because of a desire to contribute to social good (i.e divorced of reward and avoidance of punishment) when they go to work.

Organisations we work with have all the foundations to start building their brands. We just help them tease out what really matters, and translate it into a brand that reflects the true values of the organisation. Because that’s what it all comes down to. Values. So the running theme of understanding and nurturing your staff’s individual motivations, was particularly pertinent at the talk.

I thoroughly enjoy attending the talks at Cass. The format of  'practice plus theory' is simple but interesting. I like the humility and humanity with which the speakers address the audience. I will be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the next series of talks, and highly recommend them.