"If people are going to do their best, they must be internally motivated" - Kouzes & Posner Leadership Challenge 4th Edition
Real success in energizing an organization or a community or a tribe comes from a shared vision and spontaneous motivation. By "spontaneous" I mean "controlled and directed internally," and "produced without being planted or without human labor," (both from Merriam Webster Online Dictionary).
Character-based leaders model this self-originating proactive motivation in pursuit of a shared vision. Others who share the vision receive the leader's actions as service to the cause and tend to respond by becoming more self-motivated, inspired or proactive themselves.
This self-acting spontaneous motivation energy cycle creates great success in organizations of producers. A producer is someone who understands that they are measured by their contribution, not their consumption. If you're not a contributor, you're a consumer. Consumers (or victims) see themselves as the center of the story. Proactive leaders serve them to no effect. In fact, proactive leaders can sabotage their own efforts by trying to satiate consumers. Consumers want to maximize consumption over production. When we're in the consumer mindset, we don't care who loses, as long as we win. We're sorry the other person lost. It's a shame they couldn't win too, but there's no way we could let them win at our expense.
Every time we take advantage of a vendor, flex our muscles on pricing, demand to win at the expense of another, we add a brick to our consumer wall. We sign up for another lap on the victim bus. We made someone else the victim or we were made the victim. We believe every transaction has to have a loser and we're glad it's not us this time.
We can't get trapped in this mindset. We need to be proactive leaders, judging our own effort by our output, our contribution, our actual results rather than our intentions or our consumption. Then we must radically resist the consumers. How? Force them to earn their keep. Many will leave when they realize that they must produce more than they consume. They look for places where they can get more grease and they'll do what they need to in order to attain to that status. We need to help them learn early and often that, like Coach Vince Lombardi said, "If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you'll be fired with enthusiasm." Or as the Netflix documentation states, "Adequate performance gets a generous severance package
So, what can you do to begin to stamp out consumerism and become a champion for the producers and key contributors in your organization?