Last week the fantasy television drama Game of Thrones returned to our screens. Once again, powerful kings and queens play their deadly leadership games to outmanoeuvre their foes and form alliances, to win the Iron Throne.
In their warring dragon filled world, the key to victory is the ability to unearth the motivations of your opponent, predict their actions and react accordingly.
Knowing the personal motivation of others is essential to driving success in the real world too.
For example, you are trying to get your CEO’s support behind your sustainability strategy. It can be relatively simple to get support at an emotional level but progress with action requires more than that.
To sell your strategy, you’ll need to tell it in a way that catches the attention of the CEO and speaks directly to what matters to them.
So how can you do this?
Most of CEOs and leaders share the same key motivators- the need to increase shareholder value and to leave a legacy.
Shareholder value is critical to the company’s success, therefore it’s the main motivator when deciding which direction to take and which projects to support. Choosing the right projects and building a solid track record can be advantageous for future career opportunities.
In order to sell your strategy, the ideas and actions must reflect on these two motives.
Imagine you’re proposing to reduce lighting on a factory floor.
The finance department may be happy to sign off the project based on a simple payback investment. Whereas the CEO needs more than this – it may be more effective to sell the project by telling it in terms of increased profitability per tonne of product through the plant, which will increase shareholder value.
You can also engage the legacy driver by stressing the forward opportunity that this success could provide for business expansion.
So the answer to gaining attention lies in the ability to recognise others’ motivations and communicate in a way that attracts their attention.
Unlike Game of Thrones, you don’t need to remove heads, you just need to get into heads with a good idea!