TED Conversations

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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