Three Ideas for Motivating Executive Stakeholders

By Greg Githens

Consider this situation: you are a leading a strategic initiative and you have identified a stakeholder who has the potential to add her influence to it.

This stakeholder is an executive who has not engaged deeply to this point: “It isn’t on her radar.” Where might you find some ideas for appealing to that executive?

One place to look is charitable organizations. The effective ones design their appeals to secure the support of business executives who may not have the economic rationale to support the charity. These appeals tap into the inner drives of people.

  1. People Desire to Part of Something BiggerEveryone feels lonely at some point. Most people find the draw to be part of a larger group a powerful motivator.

    To make this idea work, the leader needs to think expansively. Often it is helpful to throw in a nod to history or heritage.

  2. People Desire to be of Service to Others

    People find some value and redemption in giving to their community. Altruism can be a powerful motivator.

  3. People Desire Status and Appreciate Recognition

    Charitable organizations throw banquets for their contributors and armies provide their soldiers with ribbons.

    Consider how you can give a little extra attention or visibility, recognize and honor their participation and support, and give them the VIP treatment.


I was able to increase support for a strategic initiative for two key managers by extending an invitation to them to join me at a professional conference. I even arranged for them to participate in panel discussion. They returned from the conference energized.

  • They previously had not realized that they were experiencing the problems that many of their peers faced. They saw that they could become a part of a larger professional community of like-minded people (Factor 1).
  • They were able to share their learnings with others (Factor 2).
  • They received from appreciation from many, and returned with useful tools, contacts, and energy (Factor 3).

Greg Githens is Vice President Strategic Initiatives and Innovation. Greg is the authority on how organizations use strategic initiatives to turn vision into results. He has substantial direct experience in designing, developing, leading, and coaching strategic initiative programs. Greg resides in Findlay, Ohio USA.

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