For years I’ve been a member of JCI. It’s an organization I’ve always appreciated because of the huge potential it has and creates. A part of that potential comes from the fact that there is an age limit for membership. One can join between 18 and 40. A period in life where learning generates enormous benefits. Even more so, as it is all about learning together, from one another and having an impact.
What has been interesting to me is how recruiting members has changed and become more challenging. And I believe that it is the consequence of shifting the focus away from the rewarding time investment to the fun of being a member.
According to Frederick Herzberg, “The powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements.” It correlates with what I’ve experienced within JCI. We may tend to forget it, as it is a non-profit organization.
So maybe it’s worth questioning what people assume to be the objective and how satisfying it is. To recruit members, people tend to talk about fun, and it’s great that it exists. But fun is short-lived. It comes and goes and is available almost everywhere. It’s not unique to what one can do within JCI.
Similarly, as an entrepreneur or manager, deals will be important. A business needs them, just like it needs money. But, once a deal is done, once it is won, satisfaction doesn’t last. When the deal one has worked towards and has wanted materializes one is confronted with the deal itself. Suddenly details appear one hadn’t thought about, implications and consequences one hadn’t imagined become one’s reality. The satisfaction of having won the deal is quickly replaced by reality.
It’s not irrelevant though!
Christensen writes “Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people.”
And that’s where, for example, on the way to doing the deal, there are plenty of opportunities to build up people. And when they all contribute and see their contributions, they get a deep sense of satisfaction, which in turn becomes a deep reward linked to doing the deal.
And within JCI, it has always been this that kept people going.
It’s true in other areas too.