Getting Someone to Care

Story TimeHow does anyone (Supervisor, CEO, Manager, Co-worker) get an unmotivated person to care about their work?


The best way to do this is to take them through a story that will catch and keep their attention and make them think of it again and again. It’s why we care about the companies that we do. They tell a story that we can hitch our emotions to and we allow ourselves to keep coming back to it.


McDonald’s does this within their commercials. They put people in situations where the food alleviates their pain. We think of McDonald’s as if it’s Advil, helping us out by getting us through a rushed morning.


The problem that most leaders have when trying to get employees to understand the importance of what they are trying to achieve is their lack of angles. They keep telling their employees that the customers’ opinions are important because they keep the company in business and therefore put food on our table.


You need to do better


To get an employee to care he must be able to see himself in his customers. For instance, anyone who was ever a waiter tips well because he understands what type of hardships are involved. My wife always puts the grocery cart back in that cart carrier because she knows it’s easier for the employee to gather them when they are centrally located instead of scattered throughout the parking lot. She does this because she used to gather carts in 100 degree heat when she was in high school. She likes to reduce the pain of the employee because she puts herself in that employee’s shoes.


A leader of an organization must convince her employees to care about the feelings behind the story. That means letting co-workers tell their own stories, allowing customers to tell their stories, and you telling the story from so many angles until you get 75% of the employees become vested in the concept.


The other 25% will never give themselves over. No leader can win them all.


It takes a strong leader to realize this. Just let them go and bring in new people that can be won over.


In a very distant way here are some Related Articles:


Image courtesy of jbrownell

5 thoughts on “Getting Someone to Care”

  1. Hi Karl,

    I always put my grocery carts away too. To me, it’s common courtesy. Plus, there’s nothing worse than having your car get dinged by a runaway cart.

    Some employees can be hard to motivate, but if they know you care about them and their life, they will often go that extra mile. Some businesses have the method down pat. And you can always tell which ones don’t, as you’ll often hear the employees complaining about the boss, their coworkers, or the company. THAT is not good PR.

    I like the story telling idea. I know it would work for me.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Interview With Lorelle VanFossen – Part 4 – Finding Fresh Content

  2. Hehe, I also always return my grocery cart, I mean why not? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Made To Stick, a really good book I read a few months ago discussed something very similar to what you are talking about right now, but I forgot the method it discussed to make employees care. It said that it was kind of like a soccer game, only two players on the field cared whether they won or not.

    Rajaie AlKorani’s last blog post..How I Got A PageRank 3 In Less Than 2 Months

  3. Just let them go. Ah, if was only that easy. In the government, I call them Shuffle Employees. You can’t get rid of them, you have come at them from so many different angles it ain’t even funny, and they just aren’t going to change. They are bringing the team down, and hence the productivity. What do you do? Sadly, you avoid the truth about them, and shuffle them off to another unsuspecting team. Shameful, but systemic.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..Whatever you do, don’t go there

  4. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work

    As a strong advocate for self-employment I’ve always kind of chuckled at directives to increase the feeling of “ownership” by employees. What if this kind of an attitude simply can’t be taught? What if the far better approach is to hire folks who think this way form the start?

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..What’s Really Possible?

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