What’s Your Motivation?

Jane had a tough decision to make. She had two strong candidates for her former Director of Software Development position. Newly promoted to CIO (Chief Information Officer) Jane needed to backfill her old position quickly. This was the first decision she would make in her new role, so selecting the right candidate was truly critical.

While Jane was still in her previous position, she had worked with a leadership coach. The coach introduced Jane and her direct reports to the concept of EQ or Emotional Intelligence. The concept of EQ really resonated with Jane. She wanted her replacement to be technically savvy and people smart. She knew that EQ could be developed, but she wanted to start with someone who was already good at building strong working relationships.

Both candidates for the Director of Software Development position had interviewed with members of Jane’s management team and key members of the Software Development team. Jane had discussed the candidates with person who participated in an interview. The group truly liked both candidates and there was no clear favorite. The consensus was that either of them would be a good fit and do an excellent job. But only one of them could have the position.

As Jane reviewed her notes from the interviews, something was troubling her. At first she was not clear what it was that bothered her, then she had one of those ‘Aha’ moments.

Candidate one stated that he loved the idea of working toward a bonus. In fact he shared that the bonus program at Jane’s company was a very attractive part of the employment package. He also wanted to be part of a very prestigious company, one with a well recognized and respected name. That was another attractive part of the employment package. The idea of taking an executive level position was something he could not wait to share at his upcoming high school reunion.

Candidate two had a passion for developing software that was brilliantly designed and simple to use. What made him get up and go to work in the morning was the opportunity to lead a team who would create software to make their end users lives easy. He liked to spend time planning enhancements that would streamline business processes. In fact he confessed to thinking about tough work problems during his morning run. He felt that with the right team and attitude, anything was possible.

Jane realized that she wanted to hire candidate two. There was absolutely nothing wrong with money and prestige being a strong driver for candidate one; but Jane knew that one of the important components of EQ is motivation. She had learned that a person with a passion for achievement and the desire to pursue goals persistently and energetically could be a highly successful leader. She had learned that a person who measured high in motivation (from an EQ perspective) worked for reasons that went well beyond money and status. They worked for achievement whether it was tied to a bonus or not.

Jane picked up the phone and called candidate two to discuss his start date.