The Motive


Once you pick up Patrick Lencioni’s The Motive and start reading, you won’t be able to set it down until you’ve completely read it cover to cover. Today, I did just that:  four hours later, I realized why Lencioni’s simple storytelling is so effective and anything but simplistic. It reads with the ease of a story a friend might share over lunch with a colleague and that’s exactly how the story of two CEOs unfolds. A narration of one CEO’s awakening as he looks into the mirror held up by his rival CEO during their day-long meeting, Lencioni shares valuable insight that uncovers why some leaders succeed while others fail horribly. It all comes down to their motive. During the Covid-19 crisis, Lencioni’s The Motive offers a timely message that can help us rebuild a better normal.

The story doesn’t fail to engage, as you turn page after page, you discover insightful takeaways from The Motive. In the last section of the book, Lencioni explores in detailed lessons how some leaders are motivated by ego-centric rewards that come with position and role while others embrace leadership as the responsibility of shouldering the tedious and unpleasant tasks that come with serving others through constant coaching and support, learning the skills of delegation and addressing the essential behavioural changes to form a cohesive team.

Through these lessons, Lencioni’s deep understanding and expansive expertise of leadership best practices from over 20 years in the industry really shines through the reflections and calls to action found in the latter pages of the book. He explains how successful leaders develop their leadership team; lead by example as they manage individuals and ensure their subordinates effectively manage the people they lead; brave the difficult and uncomfortable conversations with others; empower, engage and involve their team in decision-making during effective meetings; and communicate constantly and repetitively to employees with a consistent message.

But why is this message so relevant now?

Today, we are all experiencing a cleansing of sorts during this crisis. The world experienced a slowdown if not a near shutdown and while mergers and acquisitions still took place and dividends were paid out to executives and shareholders, many businesses took a harsh beating while others were shut down temporarily and some closed their doors for good.

If we can’t heed the humbling message brought to us by a tiny virus invisible to the naked eye, we will fail to grasp this opportunity to reset, reflect and renew and to work together to build a stronger and better normal.

We need to rebuild. Countries, governments, organizations, communities, families, and individuals alike are all experiencing a reset and a time of reflection. The urgent need for renewal as we deliberate on the best approach to come out of this crisis means we need to recognize that our comfortable and almost careless behaviours of old somehow led us to where we are and if we persist with such behaviours going forward, if people still buy and hoard supplies and deprive others during this time of need, if businesses continue to manipulate the price of goods and services at the expense of consumers who have little to spare, if insecure, egotistical executives still feel the need to manage others from a top-down approach that serves only to appease their own selfish interests rather than the greater good of the organization, we’ll not only revert to our old sunken ways, but we’ll find ourselves dealing with a worse kind of virus, one that spreads through greed, ignorance, and malice.

Today, this message is important because we need to reassess our own motive by braving the sometimes tedious and difficult responsibilities that come with shifting our own behaviour and creating a new paradigm.

Each one of us needs to lead to serve others and strive to bring about a positive future for all of us.

We are all leaders, whether we are in government, leading a business with a single employee, the head a multinational corporation with thousands of staff, or the head of a household, we need to set a good example for young people to help them understand what good leadership looks like. As Lencioni explains in The Motive, “if we can restore the collective attitude that leadership is meant to be a joyfully difficult and selfless responsibility, we will see companies become more successful, employees more engaged and fulfilled, and society more optimistic and hopeful. Perhaps people will stop using the term “servant leadership” altogether because everyone will understand that it is the only valid kind. And that is certainly worth doing.”


Mohamed Hammoud
Mohamed Hammoud
Mohamed Hammoud is a dedicated and driven community leader who believes that diversity is a fact, and inclusion is a choice: this is why he strives to break down taboos and misconceptions by using emotional intelligence to shift the landscape and create a positive impact. As an executive with a London-based tech company and a private consultant in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, Mohamed is a multilingual facilitator and engaging keynote and TEDx speaker, media commentator, and community activist. Mohamed is committed to progressive community-building and has served in various capacities as a board member to different not-for-profits and community organizations. He has recently been appointed as Chief Learning Officer with New Canadian Media in an advisory teaching and mentoring role leading NCM’s efforts to diversify the pool of candidates of journalists capable of working in Canadian newsrooms. A contributor to various media outlets, including the CBC and the London Free Press, and an award-winning Toastmaster, Mohamed recently gave a TEDx Talk about identity at the Awake and Aware TEDx Conference in Traverse City, Michigan. Working tirelessly to advocate a message of community inclusion through acceptance and diversity, Mohamed brings his ambition and drive for making positive changes to the Canadian multicultural community.

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  1. from the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency, the letimotiv that accompanies every reflection, from the economy to the environment, is the need for change. The pandemic has dramatically brought to light that we live in a world of extreme complexity, that there is a strong interconnection between people, but also between people and nature. Thinking of “returning to normal” as if nothing had happened, as if the pandemic were just an accident to overcome, is misleading and perhaps even a little silly. In this, the rhetoric of the state of war that accompanied the quarantine was not helpful: wars, for those who lived them only in history books, begin and then end, and life picks up where it left off. The truth is that the social, emotional, economic wounds of a war take a long time to heal, and in any case do not return to an alleged previous normalcy.
    It should also be noted that this event, the pandemic still ongoing, is so extraordinary that it cannot be traced back to known categories. It cannot adhere to past models. For some it was clear immediately, others are gradually getting there: we will not return to normal, because normal does not exist. What we considered normal was just a possible reading of the world. And everything seems to tell us, at this moment, how wrong that reading was.

    • Thank you Aldo for the deeply insightful reflection, so true that the “normal” we crave was probably never really there and we wouldn’t find ourselves in this pandemic if something had not completely broken, so to assume that we can repair what broke from what was already broken is futile.

    • Right? The fact that today we still value any other form of leadership is less indicative of diversity but our denial to embrace that leaders flourish when they serve others.