William Fisher

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Motivating Leaders

Dan Ariely makes the point that simply looking at someone's work motivates them to do more.

I believe we should be motivating leaders to do more. Consider a concept which would highlight the work of ordinary people who are making a impact. This concept involves creating short documentary style films which show the person's passion and the difference its making in the lives of others.

Over the past ten years I've met women/men who have started after-school programs, hold fundraisers and complete community service projects. Often times its not about the money raised or the project itself but about getting people in the community working together. Shouldn't we highlight the work of these people?

What would mean to a young woman who started an after-school program to have a film where she can express her passion in an interview which she can share with her friends.

What would it mean if online communities like TED helped share her film and pushed it into 100,000 views.

She'd have a renewed since of meaning in her work, right? We may see other people begin similar work across town. And across the country.

How else can we motivate leaders? What role does social media play?

..I look forward to reading your thoughts on this important matter as we celebrate July 4th.
thank you for reading.

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    Jul 4 2013: I am not sure that leaders, those who have the ability for leadership.. really need motivation. I like to think that we can provide opportunity for others to expand their horizons, to explore new venues, ideas.
    I don't want a leader that needs motivation.
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      Jul 4 2013: Hey thanks for your response Mike-
      I'd like to invite you to East August Commons. This is a community in Augusta, Georgia I spent some time at last year. There are over 300 homes stacked in on 8 acres. It is one of four similar communities on Boundary Street.

      Every family that is being raised in this community is on the Section 8 housing program which pays 100% of their rent based on their income. 0% of the residents experience what we call employment. And if they do ever decide to step up to the plate their rent will go up.

      I first arrived at East Augusta Commons at 11am in the morning. When I pulled in I could feel the heads turn to look at me through the hot dusty air. A teenager came up to my car and pointed and said, "I don't know why you're here but you need to come back another time..He was pointing to his neighbor's house whose door was getting kicked in by five police officers who were in full riot gear.

      These communities have no leaders. They are left to implode on themselves. It was then I began asking myself what I could do to help. How could I spend the little bit of free time I have during the week to make an impact. I decided telling the stories of those one or two people inside the community that are taking action would be my greatest contribution. Its not a carrot. Its a start.

      today is the release of the concept. I'd love for you to join me.
      Would you share our film in your social media space? We're at 300 views in two hours.

      Thank you Mike, if Augusta is too far from you let me know. There are 1,000's of replica communities across America.

      Here's some data to show you where those communities are in my hometown of Charlotte. Notice the correlation between neighborhood programs and income and violent crime rate.
      Here, there's no motivation or leaders.
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    Jul 4 2013: I think William, that you are brushing on elements of a topic that will in my opinion come more to the fore as time moves forward.

    The internet/social media is really only in its infancy at the present time. I have noticed that free to air tv shows are now being made from youtube best of type clips!

    Marketeers the world over I am sure are busying themselves with the knowledge and science of how to make something "go viral" on the net.

    No man is an island and you will probably find that most great leaders had also a very good support structure of influential others such as advisors, wives (or husbands) etc to help them in their tasks.

    Social media clearly could play a part in this as one person/leader would influence/inform another and vice a versa. True leaders don't create followers but other leaders!

    So it is feasible to me that the short documentary concept could play out so that for example as areas of interest. That is, a collective would be compiled of subject related material, eg: how to harness energy from the sun, or a wind turbine, or the ocean, or even from peoples feet moving over footpaths!

    What you have said also contains thoughts that I have posted in another conversation on TED, with respect to leadership and spreading of a message.

    To me there are two basic paths open.

    The first is much as things are now in the world whereby disparate people from disparate causes and countries reach out into societies and try to spread their message.... and there are literally heaps of extremely worthwhile causes all trying to vie for "YOUR" attention. This to me could perhaps be better done with:

    This second option:
    A collective of Earth Citizen Leaders, develop a task list in priority order of what needs to be done! Eg end world hunger... (Big picture task), that then needs to be broken down into specific objectives. Resources are then focused on these objectives and worked thru.

    Local scout hall's may still need fundraising etc but world tasks are met
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      Jul 4 2013: Hello Time Traveler-
      Thanks for writing. I've seen images of the future where everyone is working together to stop all the pain and suffering no one wants to talk about. The power to change those big problems lies in us as a collective group. Individually we are near powerless so its easier just to go about our day-to-day without using our energy to affect because we feel the powerlessness.

      But social media is changing that. Collectively, as a single mindset communicating to those small groups of individuals who hold the power we can use our togetherness to invoke conversation, create pressure and force change.

      Here's a film presentation of what we have been working on-I think leadership should be a topic of conversation today given our country was founded by a group of powerless individuals who got together to send a message! Happy 4th. please consider sharing our film in your own social media space. We're at 300 views in the past hour and half.

      Thank you
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    Jul 4 2013: You might be interested in some of the work Yochai Benkler and others have done, like Dan Pink and Theresa Amabile- , on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. For work that has a lot of intrinsic motivation connected with it, offering extrinsic motivation/incentives can make people do less rather than more. I am not sure you want to lure people into service with images of the publicity they will get for doing it or that those who are committed to service will do more of it for the prospect of publicity.

    "Carrots" are more effective for tasks people do not feel intrinsically motivated to do, like things many people do at the workplace that can feel meaningless if they are not acknowledged or put to use.. Volunteers see the difference they make.

    Of course it is nice to show appreciation regardless.
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      Jul 4 2013: Yes Fritzie, appreciation. That's what I'm trying to get going.
      The millennium generation is a funny crowd. Recognition is a big part of their motivation. Meaning is another major component. Documenting their work as leaders gives them recognition for their impact that means something to others.

      Maybe they'll work until they get their film and then quit. I don't know. My heart is for the communities where people are not even trying. Maybe if they work until they get their film their kids and nieces and nephews will think they're idiots for stopping the work and pick it up in 5 years when they get to be old enough.

      Not sure the final outcome of it all. But I hear a lot of people talking about taking action. I didn't want to be one of them so I'm taking action.

      BTW-I got approval from TED to use their talk in my film.
      Here's a shorter version that was posted today. Would you help us share the film? We're at 300 views this morning!
      Thank you Fritzie
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        Jul 4 2013: I am glad you got approval. I did watch the previous version.

        Do you do the scripts or are you just kind of the commercial sponsor?

        I understand wanting to take action rather than only talking about action. I am almost comically committed myself to "doing" rather than only talking.
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          Jul 4 2013: The dialogue in the film is from actual conversations I've heard or had over the past year or so.

          I convinced my company to hire a filmmaker for marketing last year then I picked an activist who would help me go into communities to encourage leaders.

          Its a little rogue but that's my style. lol
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    Jul 4 2013: I just saw tonight's CBS evening news, they did a report on "The Mission Continues".
    They seem to be doing something similar to what you are saying.


    Here's a link to the mission site:

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      Jul 4 2013: Nice link Mary, that guys sounds like someone you want to be friends with!
      Great to think of the number of people he's impacting. I know guys who have come home with PTSD; its not fun. Its usually a guy like him who directs them to getting back to living.
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        Jul 4 2013: I tried to find the video of the news clip I watched, but I have had no success.
        They interview him, and he seems like a really nice guy, very passionate about his work, and helping others rebuild their lives.

        The minute I watched what he was doing, I thought.....he would make a great TED presenter!!

        Glad you enjoyed the report William.....