Brady Wilson

Learn brain science facts and tips to get your employees to go A.B.C.D. - download The Engagement Paradox white paper today!

My neighbour Jim invests many hours a month sweeping the sidewalk in front of his house, keeping it immaculate.

And he’s always smiling!

But why does he do it?

After all, the sidewalk doesn’t belong to him—yet he keeps it in pristine condition, never expecting a dime from the city for his efforts.

In other words, why does Jim go A.B.C.D. (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty)?

Psychological ownership

In Jim’s mind, the sidewalk is his.

The transfer of ownership from the city to Jim happened not because of any contractual arrangement.

It was triggered because of Jim’s driving (or “felt”) needs for significance and belonging.

Felt needs cannot be created. People come fully equipped with them.

Take Jim as an example:

  • Need for significance: Jim receives respect and comments of admiration from the rest of us because of how he keeps his yard and his sidewalk.
  • Need for belonging: Jim doesn’t want to be “that guy”—like Bob, the neighbour everybody else looks down upon because of the way his yard tarnishes the street’s reputation.

So, while Jim doesn’t receive a financial reward for his work, he does get an emotional one from his neighbours.

Emotional pay-off as motivator

As a leader, it’s critical to understand this linkage between felt needs and ownership.

And here’s why: the discretionary effort of your employees is unlocked through emotional ownership—and emotional ownership is triggered by felt needs.

In fact, meeting other people’s felt needs unlocks 400% more discretionary effort than rational engagement!

In short:

  • your employees go A.B.C.D. to build the success of your company because they feel they own it; and
  • they own the success of your company because doing so meets their felt needs for belonging, significance or meaning.

Remember: energizing employees is an inside job that focuses first on the inner architecture of felt needs (or, the emotional payoffs that cause employees to own the success of your company).

These intrinsic motivators have been - and always will be - what drives extraordinary effort: people going A.B.C.D.

How's your employee engagement? Juice's Beyond Engagement training program teaches leaders to shift from managing engagement to managing energy. Learn more about Beyond Engagement here!

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Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Co-Founder of Juice Inc, Thought Leader & Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

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