Emotion is a powerful force that ultimately drives people to be and to do better. And nothing motivates people to work harder than a mission, a common goal. Especially in the workforce, having a mission that really resonates with your team members is guaranteed to make a big impact on the environment, the community, and even the world. 


In our latest episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast we continued breaking down Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy of Needs. Alongside Ravi Toor, we talked about mission motivation and why having a team connected to the mission is better than having a team motivated by their own roles. 


Our guest, Ravi, serves as the leading advisor for guiding C-suite executive teams through the conscious leadership development process, helping them secure stability for their company’s futures. She’s an expert when it comes to motivating teams and helping them connect on a deeper level to the company’s mission.


So if you’re looking for ways to get your team completely onboard with your mission and wanting to make a real impact, this article is just for you!


What is conscious leadership and how does it affect your mission?


Amalie: I want to start with discussing how the size of the impact of business makes in the world is connected to mission motivation. So everyone is motivated by the overall mission versus motivated by their own roles. Let’s dive in and start talking about what’s the differences between the two.


Ravi: I think the umbrella term that I’m going to use throughout this episode is conscious leadership. I really think that conscious leadership and conscious business, they are the terms that business owners need to understand and utilize within their companies. When you talk about impact, the impact your business makes in the world is first and foremost, what you present or represent to the world, to the community, and to your audience.

So depending on the size of your company, and really you can be smaller or bigger, but if you provide something like a tangible product, a service, no matter what your sector per se, when you are providing a service that is completely valuable, that’s an impact. And employees want to be a part of that.

When you have a mission that is focused on impact, delivering impact beyond your service, beyond your product, that is there to provide more value to the world beyond profits, that automatically becomes an incentive for employees.


When I was doing a bunch of research at the beginning of the year, what I was looking into was the changing demographics. We know that there are millennials and gen Zs that are now rapidly entering into the workforce, and they are mission focused. They are value-driven, they are impact focused. They want something way more than a paycheck and a hierarchy. So if they see your company who’s got all these perks and benefits, plus is providing a great product or service. That’s awesome. But they’re looking for something more. What do you represent? What do you stand up for? What are your company values and what are you trying to do to better this world? Because it’s not just about a job anymore.


Amalie: I think that the impact is dependent on how motivated and mission driven the employees are too, and the leadership. So if it was just the leadership, your C suite, being mission oriented, gone forward on the right path. But if the employees were just sort of doing their thing, but not really feeling behind it. Because ultimately when they leave work, they’re still part of your business. But when you make them involved in it, they’re going to promote it and talk about it. If they’re just there to do a job, and then they leave, that doesn’t give them any incentive to really be part of the mission.

I don’t think it’s a matter of how many employees or how big your team is. It’s a matter of how involved you get them. And I think that’s the impact because a small business of 10 people could make a huge impact if everyone’s behind it and buying into it and together on the mission versus a business of 300 people who are just there to kind of do the job, leave, and that’s it.


Ravi: You really talk to some key aspects of commitment. One of the biggest, biggest things that companies are looking for is to retain talent, but not only retain them, but lessen the resources to find them and to retain them. And so one of the things that really works for companies to be able to acquire that high-level talent and then retain them without putting up so much of their own resources to find these guys is really focusing on the integration within your entire collective.

What this means is: so in traditional business there’s a leadership hierarchy. So there’s managers, directors and then VPs, and then C-suite, and you go on and on shareholders and so forth. And everything comes from the bottom down. What we’ve taught our employees, or what we’ve really adopted is in order to move up the hierarchy or in order to be really successful, you’ve got to focus on your job. 

So the big change here, especially in 2020, it’s just become a greater awareness, is that you have no hierarchy if you’ve got a really mission motivated and really impactful business that employees want to stay with, that your audience wants to be a part of. It all comes to a point where everybody is considered equal. Everybody from your employees running the mail room down to your directors, down to your shareholders are all the same. It’s one mission. We’re all focused on the same, the same goal and impact. What you end up doing is you create a flat organization, so there’s no longer that hierarchy. When you do that, you open up entrepreneurship. When you think of flat organization introduce entrepreneurship, you automatically take employees from that traditional mindset of just doing the job to thinking bigger ownership.


Is my team motivated by the mission or their individual roles?


Amalie: So how do you recognize if people are motivated by the mission or their individual roles?


Ravi: You can start to look at your hierarchy settings within your organization, look at them and take a look at what they’re doing. 

When they’re motivated by the mission versus their own role, they are so much more inclusive. They are building with the team, they start corresponding with the team versus just making the decision by themselves. They ask questions. They use words that are inclusive. When you are having someone who’s operating from a place where they’re specifically focused on their role, there is a lot more of “me, I,” and self-motivated focus.  And that’s pretty obvious when you start to look at how they’re interacting with the rest of the team, like, where are the ideas coming from? You look at the team below them and you can take a look, is the team motivated by this individual, or do you feel kind of like a plateau? 

And then there’s that individual in that hierarchy role when you start to see someone who’s operating in a level where everything is equal and they are way more motivated by the mission, what ends up happening is you don’t really see that managerial term, or that hierarchy role, it doesn’t become a part of the conversation more. So it becomes about how we, the team, how we have accomplished this.


Janine: There’s all these different philosophies on how the psychology behind how people are motivated and such right. People who are motivated by the paycheck, people who are motivated by the challenge, people who are motivated by titles, how do you square that with flattening the hierarchy? Or is it more that you’re filtering for people who are motivated by the mission?


Ravi: When you are looking at flattening the organization, what you’re doing is you have to rethink your business model in terms of inclusivity and a culture, right. You have to reshift the culture, and so that starts basically at the onboarding. So what I always say and what I always advocate is get an onboarding system set up and really push away from the traditional onboarding. So this beautiful slide presentation of who the company is, what the mission is, what the values are, and then how you’re a part of it, that used to work, but it doesn’t work anymore. Instead, what we’re doing is recreating the same presentation, but a lot more in depth. And having them really understand where they fit in within the mission and you’ve put in the parameters where you really build up and amplify that mission. 

And that need for conscious leadership. The moment you step into this company, we picked you because we think you’re wonderful and you’re a conscious leader, but also this is how we’re going to support you through your time here to ensure that we all are on the same page and hitting the mission. 

Then the next one is really, really training those individuals in hierarchy positions with conscious leadership traits. So taking real individuals in these positions and teaching them about how to be conscious leaders; some are going to have some real challenging conversations with themselves and with the coach or the individual that’s leading them through this process, but having those real and tough conversations to break the ego, to get away from role representation, and to get really focused on a collective bridging that kind of collective with the culture and creating a community that is mission-driven is how you approach this. 


Best ways to make your team motivated by the mission


Amalie: I also think it’s important for people understanding how they can get involved. What are the ways, not just what my job is and what my job description is, but, what’s the options? Because I think someone that’s mission motivated, that’s getting behind it and really believes in it is going to look for ways to get involved beyond just what their role is or their specific job description. So allowing them to have different committees, allowing them to get involved in different places and taking some of those initiatives that are inside the business and creating a committee around it.

Also letting them know how they can get involved in other areas. You have people that know how to do other things, and just having that cross training.

But if the person isn’t getting involved, that might be something you want to talk to them about. Is there a reason for it? Maybe they have their own idea. Do they have a new idea? Do you have an initiative you want to start? That’s a way to involve people. We are right from the beginning when you bring them in.


Ravi:  There’s a long game which is really being able to recycle the talent within different levels of your organization, because they’ve already been trained from the onset, they know everything about your company. And when you start to really create inclusivity and build that flat level of a flat organization, what you do is you start to breed entrepreneurs. They really are a part of the community. They want to do more because they appreciate the company, because they value the company, because they value their job. They’re motivated by the mission. They want to not only talk about it, but they want to do something with it. Innovation is what’s going to keep you alive, so being able to have these ideas, that slew of ideas coming through because you’ve got highly motivated individuals in different levels within your company, bringing you all these ideas, it is a perfect strategy booklet.


Amalie: What are the ways in which CEOs and business owners could get people motivated by the mission if they are not?


Ravi:  The first thing I always see as a red flag is when employees aren’t motivated about the mission, I wonder how motivated the top level stakeholders are, and typically they’re not. And actually when we break it down, even further, the first thing I do, we look at your values and your mission and we get really crystal clear. Do you even understand what your mission is? Is it clear? Are you on board? Because typically it’s not clear and they’re not completely on board and they’ve got their mind elsewhere. And it’s typically profit focused and profit is great, but you’re going to lose in the long game, because it’s just a short-term value. You need longevity behind you and to develop that longevity, you’ve got to really get clear on the mission and get that culture dialed in.  

Now, not every manager or person in hierarchy is really a coach or somebody who has a psych background – but if you don’t know how to have those conversations, you bring in somebody whose sole focus is to really, really help your team and your executives develop conscious leadership within the organization, not for specific roles, but within the organization. 

And typically what you’ll find is these unmotivated employees who, if you ask sincerely, and if you find out the root issue, you’re able to turn them around. And they typically are your most motivated employees at the end of it.


Amalie: And it’s so funny because doing this whole business hierarchy of needs series, all of these themes are just, they’re just all the way through all of these topics. Listening to your team, having conversations with your employees, having some vulnerability, having open conversations, being transparent, all of these things allow a business to run. You have to have these conversations, you have to know your team. Because if you align your mission with their mission there’s nothing better than that. 


In conclusion… 


Ravi: When I think about it, we are heading into a decade where there’s significant business transformation. So the way that we’ve been used to doing business, that model is becoming extinct. So what we really need to do as business owners, as communities and organizations, is we really need to start becoming agile and adapt to these new methodologies of operating. 

The same goes for the internal organs of your company. You’ve got a beating heart that’s probably your mission and your C-suite. Then you’ve got the different components of the organs of your company, working simultaneously together. It is important that we focus on that. And quite frankly, the workforce that’s entering into your organization. We are focused on millennials and gen Z and these guys are asking for a whole different type of a structure that really, really, really takes into account what they value the most and that is impact, both social and environmental impact, and having a greater mission than just profits.


And that’s it for today! We hope this interview has been as helpful to you as it was to us. See you on the next episode!


To listen to the full episode click here. https://amalieshaffer.com//podcast/


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