Give Your People a Cause to Believe In

If you want passionate people, you have to offer something they care about intensely. (Excerpt from Unite The Tribes: Leadership Skills for Technology Managers)

Technology is the result of talent and you want the best. Hiring is difficult in any industry. In the world of bits and bytes it's a challenge of epic proportions, made all the more difficult by the fact that techies want more than good paying work. Part scientist and part artist, with a heavy dash of idealism sprinkled in for taste, they want something they can believe in. And yet, nowhere more are people as jaded, cynical and resistant to hype and phoniness than in the tech sector.

The people you want aren't stupid. This applies not only to their job skills but also to their sensibilities. While it's true that you can find gullible people everywhere, that's not who you want when you're building the future. In order to bring in the best talent, you need more than just an inspirational banner to which they can rally. It has to be real.

A cause is a set of beliefs in motion towards a goal. In order to come up with yours, you need to do some deep naval gazing. It's important to know what you want your people to believe in, and how that should be reflected in their efforts. In short, why would people be excited, even passionate, about embracing your idea?

If your products or services aren't exciting in and of themselves, there may be other aspects of your movement that are. Having a hard time putting your finger on it? Here's a simple exercise. You believe in it. Why? Now translate that into something your people would care about, which is one of the reasons you took the time to understand what they value in the first place.

If you're honest, sincere and can present your vision in a way that excites the passions of others, you can build a movement. You won't have to look very hard to find followers. We desperately want something we can believe in. If what you have is real, we're in. When all of your people are truly committed, it's really something to see.

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