Missionaries or Mercenaries?


Remember when you were young and you could hear a song, or watch a movie (like Rocky) and be extremely motivated?

I was so motivated by Rocky that at the age of nine, I asked for boxing gloves, and proceeded to challenge an older and bigger kid to a boxing match. Needless to say he kept asking if he could stop beating the literal snot out of me, but I thought I was Rocky, and would win in the end. I didn’t. So while motivation can be good, it can also make you get the snot the beat out you.

The other thing I learned is outside motivation doesn’t last. In other words, even if you motivate another individual as a leader, it will only last a short while, and something inside of them has to take over to keep it going, or it’s just a peak in an otherwise very long valley. I learned a long time ago that you might be able to inspire someone for a little while with words, but if they do not have the fire inside of them for whatever it is they are doing, the fire will go out, and you are back to square one.

I also learned this about myself.  I have to be passionate about what I am doing to give it my all and to be successful. When you are truly motivated and passionate about something, the failures you encounter look like stepping stones instead of walls.

Good leaders find already motivated people, which believe in, or have the desire to believe in whatever the mission is. The mission and the goals need to be clearly defined.  I have always said give me missionaries, over mercenaries any day.

Mercenaries are motivated by quick gratification. They don’t have to believe in the mission, they just have to get what they want from it, and they are done.

Missionaries have a belief in their mission, and are motivated to succeed no matter the cost.  They have an undying faith in what they are trying to accomplish, and this passion and belief is contagious and can help any type of organization achieve its desired goals, which means individual goals will be met too. This creates its own cycle of success, and it creates an environment that thrives on passion, and is self-motivated.

MissionaryIf as a leader you find yourself constantly having to motivate, you need to take a hard look at your team, decide whether the mission defined, and whether I have missionaries or mercenaries?

Photo credit: Jase The Bass / Foter / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images / Foter / No known copyright restrictions

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Jack Smith, President, Purity Technology, LLC; Mr. Smith has served in both corporate, and start up IT Staffing and Consulting Executive Leadership for the past 13+ years. He was a part of a major private corporation success story and served in production and executive management for a company that went from 180 million to 3 billion during a 10 year run. Mr. Smith served in every production role and received three promotions in 3 years from recruiter to Director of Business Operations. Asked by Upper Leadership to relocate to Dallas where he was responsible for over 175 direct reports in various roles such as sales, recruiting, and customer service.

Mr. Smith spent 2 ½ years, with GlassHouse Technologies, as a Director of Sales for the central US selling high end data protection and data center consulting services in 16 states. Mr. Smith’s region grew from $1 million in revenue to $10 million in the 2 ½ years he ran this region. He was asked by Glasshouse to move into a VP of Sales role and was considered the top Sales Executive selling strategic consulting and was tasked with training the other regions on how to sell strategy services.

In January of 2007, Mr. Smith was recruited by an executive search firm that Mike Willis Sr. and Mark Willis hired, to build them an IT services company. He was named President, given equity, and he named the company FACILITEK SERVICES in March 2007. In 3.5 years FACILITEK went from $0.00 to $8.5MM in revenue run during one of the worst economic downturns this country has experienced.

In October of 2010, Mr. Smith and his business partner left The Willis Group to form Purity Technology, LLC, an IT Services company that specializes in IT Staffing, Cloud Computing, IaaS, and Managed Services. Purity is a labor of love for Mr. Smith, and he sees this as his legacy, and intends to dedicate his efforts to making sure Purity becomes known for its service and its culture of servant leadership. Purity just turned 3 years old and is currently doing between $3 million and $5 million a year in revenue.

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