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February 2019

Vision, Values, and Principles

By Steve Kane

Labor and work environments have continually changed since the dawn of employment. These topics are like just about any other aspect of the human experience in that they have changed more rapidly over the past century than any other period in history. Employment is no longer simply a means to put food on the table. It’s a path to personal fulfillment.

It seems that a great compensation package used to be the primary method to attract and reward people to do great work. As Dan Pink points out in his book, Drive, extrinsic rewards don’t produce lasting results. Intrinsic rewards drive us toward long-term fulfillment.

All of us have six basic human needs: consistency, variety, significance, love and belonging, growth, and contribution. These needs are listed in the sequence in which they must be met. Think of each need being the foundation or layer upon which the next need is built. The fulfillment of each need leads to the fulfillment of the next. If a lower level need isn’t met, higher level needs also won’t be met.

Organizations that have clearly defined their vision, values, and principles are more likely to find people who are innately driven to further the cause. A CBS journalist once asked a US Marine Corps recruiter if it was difficult to find people to enlist for a job that was among the lowest paid positions available and was not only physically and emotionally demanding, but also could be deadly. The recruiter replied that it wasn’t difficult at all to get people to enlist. The Marine Corps, he explained, has a very clear purpose and set of core values. Their purpose: “Until Every Battle is Won.” Their core values: “Honor, Courage and Commitment.” He needed only to find people who shared the Corps’ sense of purpose and core values and they would ask to sign up.

A compensation package helps us meet our need for consistency. Once the family is fed and safe, the bills are paid, and we have a sense of stability, we begin looking for more. Neither the paycheck nor the work being done is enough to satisfy us.

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