Thrifty Midwestern People and Utilitarian ROI
It’s not fair to say all Midwestern folks are “thrifty” or that you can’t be from elsewhere and enjoy thrift, but there are plenty of reasons why it’s attributed to us. When I look at the “why” of my motivation there is a utilitarian or economic factor. I’m high utilitarian and its shows up in lots of way—other than just money.
Utilitarian motivated people can be described as:
- Having an interest in useful & practical goals
- Enjoy rewards based on results
- Goal driven
Often the above are linked to making more money, high salaries, and financial rewards.
Their value to the organization is affixed to their impact on the bottom line. We like to ask “does this make sense? Help us meet goals? Make us better?” And if there is a “no” to any of the three—then why proceed? Yet, I’m not driven by money. I want to live comfortably. But I don’t think about money, read about or barely pay attention to it. When I think about ROI—I focus on time and resources.
I was at a conference last week and a woman was headed to the airport at the end and invited others to join her. That’s utilitarian too. My inner Midwestern was excited for a free ride but more satisfied that there were now 4 people sharing a ride—thus making the most of all our resources and time. We continued networking, debriefed the meeting and checked some email.
And then there is my compost pile. This makes me both very San Franciscan and Midwestern. It amazes me that I can take every little kitchen scrap, leaves, paper bags and throw it into a heap. Then the worms come in and do their magic. Months and weeks later I take that rich beautiful compost, combine it with my tired soil and grow a garden. That’s utilitarian. I save money—but I make the most of resources. I send less to the landfill and the waste serves another purpose. That’s a return on my time and energy.
I recently ended a ten year engagement with a client. I had many of their books and print materials—most of it out of date, with old logos and not in the best condition. They asked me to return everything. Of course this is fair, made sense, those are their materials. Yet, the shipping costs, effort to pack the big boxes, schlepping it all to the UPS store frustrated me. There was no value in the action. I knew when they received the boxes, looked at what was in there, most of the supplies would be tossed and no ROI on any of our actions. I didn’t want to waste my time on actions that weren’t going to benefit anyone.
There’s much more to utilitarian/economic motivator than simply money. When you are encountered with employees with this key motivator, cast a broader net. Think about the investment of their time as a key resource. It’s not their money that’s being spent—it’s their time and energy. They want to spend that time to make the best use of resources and to make money for themselves and the company.
Posted on January 30, 2012, in Behavior, Coaching, Communication, Consulting, Midwest, Motivation, Performance, Professional Development, Uncategorized and tagged Compost, Gardening, Midwest, Money, Motivation, Opinion, Utilitarian. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.