What’s In It for Me?

Posted 09.12.2008

Whats_In_It_For_Me Seth Godin recently shared some examples of individuals and businesses that clearly have problems and don’t do much or anything to fix them.  His list includes Joe Biden’s long-windedness, Verizon’s awful customer service and the interminable wait for food at a place that makes the best pizza in New York.

Seth asks the obvious question, why don’t they fix it?  His answer is lack of commitment.  So, maybe the next question should be, why the lack of commitment? My experience in working with successful leaders tells me that there has to be an answer to one more question, “What’s in it for me?”

Someone once said (and I paraphrase) that change only occurs when the cost of not changing exceeds the hassle of changing.  That’s why I ask my clients embarking on a process of personal improvement to ask and answer, “What’s in it for me?”  If the answer is big enough, they change.  If it’s not, they don’t.

P.S.  While the Sarah Palin phenomenon has drawn the spotlight away from Joe Biden lately, I’d argue that he is improving on tightening up his remarks and keeping them brief.  Why?  Maybe his answer to, “What’s in it for me?” is big enough.

P.P.S. Late breaking news – maybe not on Biden. See this morning’s Times.