The Organizational Strategist

October 4, 2010

Motivating your organization to advance strategically


Many of the posts made on this blog are about devising, understanding, and setting the right strategy. Crafting the right strategy is absolutely essential to make your organization win. Taking the strategy and implementing it can be an entirely different challenge. With the larger the number of people involved and the more complex the strategy is, the harder it can be to align the resources and capabilities. Organizational development makes that alignment occur. The means to enact organizational development requires motivation of the people involved. That motivation can take three different forms, each with their own approach.

-The three ways to motivate-

The three ways to motivate are faith, fact, and fear. Faith is the belief that something good will happen. Fact is grounded in using historic information to predict future occurrences. Fear is the belief that something bad will happen.  

Fear is the easiest to enact. I am reminded that this tactic is prevalent throughout our society when I see political campaigns, the evening news, or read newspapers. Simply by creating doubt, fear is enabled. Fear that something bad will happen is a strong pull. When used throughout an organization, it makes building trust harder, saps the energy of the people involved, and can lead to differing and opposing factions.

Fact is a methodical and time intensive approach to utilize. Data can be collected throughout an organization’s operations or brought in via market research, intelligence or data gathering services. Having a factual understanding of what has happened can be a strong indicator of what will happen in the future. The difficulty of relying too much on previous data is that new or changing environments with new or different variables may mean that the data is not available, or worse, deceiving and misdirecting.

Faith is likely the hardest to perform effectively. The belief that something will go well in the future must be built on trust. Trust can be difficult to build and is easy to break down. Blind faith can lead to poor decision making and action, just like the other over-uses of fear and fact. Yet, the belief and hope of positive notions is freeing and enabling. This is where visionary or inspirational motivation shines as it brings out the best in people and energizes those involved.


There is a right fitting time and place for each of the three motivational approaches. Motivation is what spurs on change. That change in the organization can make the strategy effective and realize its aims. The combination of the grounded nature of fact and uplifting character of faith is the best approach to take with guiding an organization. Having a factual, data driven environment ensures that the change is made and tracked in an informed manner. Having an inspired view of the future allows for creativity and openness.  Environments that utilize the best of fact and faith are both effective and enabling. That is where the most powerful strategies can be realized.



  1. I am really grateful to have the information from this blog.I liked the blog as it has been written,the information i got from here.This is a good information i got from here.I really liked it and this information is worth remembering.

    Comment by ul fire wall — October 5, 2010 @ 12:23 am

    • I’m glad it’s helpful! Is there anything that you would be interested in reading about?

      Comment by Whit — October 5, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

  2. The Art of Strategy During a Recession…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by Online Project Management Software - xProject — October 5, 2010 @ 7:39 am

    • Great! Thanks for reading and sharing.

      Comment by Whit — October 5, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

  3. I’m enjoying this blog very much. I teach juniors and seniors getting their Bachelor’s degree in business and this quarter they are learning about organizational development. I invite you and your readers to follow my articles and the class’ progress. I’ve also added this site to my blogroll as a resource.

    It’s difficult to find good blogs on change management. Thank you for your contributions.

    Comment by sdjurgensen — October 7, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

    • Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing the organizational strategist!

      Comment by Whit — October 13, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

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