Greed and Fear: Part I – Understanding the Framework

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In 2008, I had an interesting dinner conversation with a business partner, Vin Deschamps, CEO at Echopass.  Vin contends that humans are motivated by either “greed” or “fear” and I think he makes a valid point.  Thinking about that, it occurred to me that understanding these motivators from a personal and professional perspective could yield a simple, but effective leadership and communication framework.

Understanding the Framework

‘Greed’ is a loaded word with negative connotations, but at root, it’s wholly appropriate.  We may want more money, more free time to spend with our families, a new car, a better life for our children – any number of things – but ultimately we are motivated in part by what we WANT.

Conversely, we are also motivated by what we wish to AVOID – what we ‘Fear’.  We may fear losing our jobs, poor health, a downturn in the economy – again, any number of things – but we are similarly motivated by what we do NOT want.  If these observations don’t sound like rocket surgery to you so far, then we’re on the right track.

In the workplace, Greed and Fear come into play on two levels; the professional and the personal.  The Professional level revolves around the job or function we are paid to perform – completing project X, running your department efficiently, etc..  The Personal level revolves around your own goals for yourself – your personal brand, your career objectives, your clout, etc.

The matrix below shows how the framework might look:

The goal of the framework is to gain an understanding others, which is at the core of building, maintaining and leveraging mutually beneficial relationships.  Understanding people’s motivation (greed) and concerns (fear) at the personal and professional levels will help make sense of their words and actions, and how they interpret the words and actions of others.

The driver of the framework is genuine interest and the ability to listen and synthesize.  This means employing active listening and getting invested in the relationship.  You need to care about and have an interest in the other person.  You have to flesh out the framework with REAL content.

In Part II, we’ll talk more about how to use the framework, as well as its limitations.  As always, I welcome any comments either posted here or sent to me in email.

© 2011, Mark E. Calabrese

4 thoughts on “Greed and Fear: Part I – Understanding the Framework

    Morgan Hunter said:
    May 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Like where this is going. Send more quickly.

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