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Vol. 6 No. 12
(626) 350-1500 Ext 102  


Extraordinary achievements demand extraordinary leaders.

© 2008 William A. Cohen, PhD


This month’s free downloadable book is Generalship: It’s Diseases and Their Cure by J.F.C. Fuller. J.F.C. Fuller was probably one of the most brilliant, yet controversial and convoluted military writers and thinkers of the 20th century. A graduate of Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst he fought first in South Africa, and then during World War I helped form the British Tank Corps. He planned the first successful combined use of tanks with other arms at the Battle of Cambrai . He invented searchlights for use against aircraft and commanded an experimental armored brigade.  After the war he developed plans for tank armies which were adopted by the Germans and employed as “Blitzkrieg” during World War II. He wrote many books about war, leadership, and strategy which are still considered brilliant analyses. However he also studied and wrote about the occult, including a book on Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah, and yoga, then seen as anti-Christian. He retired from the British Army in 1933 under some what of a cloud due to his truculent behavior and probably some of his non-traditional beliefs, but continued to write and campaign for military reform in Britain. Then, impatient at the inability of democracy to adopt the military reforms he felt necessary, he joined the British Union of Fascists and became an executive member. This act  made it impossible for him to be used by the British during World War II and he became a journalist. After the war he recanted many of his more extreme pre-war political positions.

Fuller left behind 45 books. Generalship: It’s Diseases and Their Cure which focused on top management leadership was probably the best on this subject. It is a good investment of time to read for any rising leader and especially for those at the top. It also contains an interesting age comparison of top generals from ancient times through World War I. The link to this free downloadable book can be found. HERE.

Recent Articles by Dr. Cohen published by others:

A Sure Way to Fail from

What to Do about the Crisis from

Drucker: Every Leader Must Declare his Expectations from

Peter Drucker of the Value of Ignorance from Performance and Profits

Peter Drucker’s Story of Two Vice Presidents (Why What Everybody Knows Is Frequently Wrong) from Moving Ahead

Webcast: The Lost Lessons of Peter Drucker from The American Management Association

Five Things William Cohen Has Learned From Peter Drucker from CIO Magazine

How the World’s Most Celebrated Management Consultant Got His Title from Industry Week

The Night Peter Drucker Declared He Was Not My Father from

Drucker’s Lost Lesson from Training Magazine

Effective Leadership in Leadership Excellence


by ã William A. Cohen, PhD 2008

Why are people motivated to do things for you or for your organization?  The truth is there is no one single factor which motivates all of your people all of the time. Also, different people are motivated by different things at any one point in time. But the biggest mistake that leaders make with motivation is not even understanding what motivates most of their followers most of the time. And the worst situation is thinking that those who follow you are motivated primarily by one thing, when in fact they are motivated by something entirely different.


What Do Employees Consider Most Important About Their Jobs?

Social scientists studied many industries to determine what factors employees consider most important in their jobs. My psychologist-wife tells me that over the years, their questionnaires have been given to hundreds of thousands of employees. The results have been known for sometime. They are not secret. One study was done by the Public Agenda Foundation and noted by John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene in their book Re-inventing the Corporation.

Before I give you these results maybe you would like to take the test yourself. I’ve given it to thousands of leaders in my seminars. All you need to do is to rank the following factors in the order of importance you think your employees would put them. Take a couple of minutes to do this before going on. You can write your ranking order of importance right in the book. Rank each factor in its order of importance to those who work for you, “1” being most important, “2” being second most important, etc.


          Work with people who treat me with respect

          Interesting work

          Recognition for good work

          Chance to develop skills

          Working for people who listen if you have ideas about how to do things


          A chance to think for myself rather than just carry out instructions

          Seeing the end results of my work

          Working for efficient managers

          A job that is not too easy

          Feeling well informed about what is going on

          Job security

          High pay

          Good benefits


Now, go over your answers. Don’t look below until you are certain you have these factors in their order of importance to your employees. Then take a look below:

   1   Work with people who treat me with respect

   2   Interesting work

   3   Recognition for good work

   4   Chance to develop skills

   5   Working for people who listen if you have ideas about how to do things


   6   A chance to think for myself rather than just carry out instructions

   7   Seeing the end results of my work

   8   Working for efficient managers

   9   A job that is not too easy

   10 Feeling well informed about what is going on

   11 Job security

   12 High pay

   13 Good benefits


Why Job Security, High Pay, and Good Benefits May Not Be As Important As You Thought

That’s right, the factors are exactly in their order as listed. These are the results after interviewing hundreds of thousands of employees in a large variety of industries and companies. How many did you get right? Ninety percent of those leaders that I survey put one or more of these job security, high pay, and good benefits in the top three or at least the top five. That is, they thought that these factors were the most important to their employees. But these three factors are usually far down the list.

Now this doesn’t mean that job security, high pay, and good benefits aren’t important. They are. But these other factors are more important.

I once worked as an executive recruiter. It was my job to find unique top executives for my client companies according to detailed job specifications that we prepared together. Usually the candidates for these positions were already employed at high positions in other companies. So a good part of the job was convincing these high-flying executives that it was worth their time to look at a new opportunity.

Yes, compensation, benefits, and security played a part in their decisions. But even though inducements to move in compensation alone could be an increase of 30% or more, many executives just weren’t interested. For those that were interested, the increased salary and benefits were usually more important as signals that the new job was truly more important and a better opportunity. And yes, some executives left for jobs at lower salaries, fewer benefits, and less job security. This was either because the position presented a greater opportunity to them in other ways, or because they were so dissatisfied in their former positions that they were prepared to leave despite the higher pay and benefits in their previous positions.

Max DePree, is former chairman and CEO of Herman Miller, Inc. That’s the furniture maker that Fortune Magazine named one of the ten “best managed” and “most innovative” companies. It was also chosen as one of the hundred best companies to work for in America. DePree says, “The best people working for organizations are like volunteers. Since they could probably find good jobs in any number of groups, they choose to work somewhere for reasons less tangible than salary or position. Volunteers do not need contracts, they need covenants.”[1] DePree wasn’t the only one to recognize this. One of Peter Drucker’s strongest recommendations for leaders was to treat all workers as if they were volunteers.  This is because even during an economic crisis, workers have more options and alternatives today than have ever been present.


What Do People Want From Their Jobs?

Go back over the list. Look at items in the upper half of this list. These are:

n  Working with people who treat me with respect

n  Interesting work

n  Recognition for good work

n  Chance to develop skills

n  Working for people who listen if you have ideas about how to do things better

n  A chance to think for myself rather than just carry out instructions


What do these all have in common? Well for one thing, none of them will cost you very much to implement compared with pay, benefits, or providing perfect job security. For another, these are factors which you can improve regardless of restrictions or limitations on salary or benefits placed by your parent organization. Think about what this means to you as a leader who wants to motivate his people to higher performance. Most of these factors considered important by employees can probably be improved by you today, and they will probably cost very little.


Treating People With Respect Wins Over People and Wins Battles

Isn’t it within your power to treat people with respect and insure that others that work for you do the same? Certainly every human being deserves to be treated with respect. Many outstanding leaders maintain you should treat those that work for you with even more than respect. Like Mary Kay Ash, you should imagine everyone you see wearing a large sign saying, “MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT.”

The night before the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon went from campfire to campfire in his army. At every stop, his men gathered around him. Napoleon joked with his men and thanked them for their loyalty. He assured them of victory and explained how he had arranged for medical aid to come to them as swiftly as possible if they were wounded.[2] Do you think Napoleon treated his men with respect? You bet he did, and you can bet this respect was returned as well.

“‘Promise us,’ shouted a veteran grenadier, ‘that you will keep yourself out of the fire.’

‘I will do so,’ Napoleon answered; ‘I shall be with the reserve until you need me.'”[3]

James MacGregor Burns, an American political scientist, wrote an outstanding, scholarly, book called simply, Leadership.[4] In fact, the book was so outstanding that it won the Pulitzer Prize. Listen to his succinct advice: “In real life, the most practical advice for leaders is not to treat pawns like pawns, nor princes like princes, but all persons like persons.”[5]


If You Want People To Go All Out, Make Their Work Interesting

Can you provide interesting work, or can you make the work that your people must do interesting in some way?  There are many opportunities to do this if you think about it. This is why making striving a competitive activity can increase the productivity of your organization.You would think that a battle is just about an interesting endeavor as you might imagine. How can a battle be made more interesting? Well English Field Marshall Montgomery found a way. Listen to Montgomery’s famous order to his men before the Battle of Al Alamein in World War II:

“The battle which is now about to begin will be one of the decisive battles of history. It will be the turning-point of the war.”[6]

Who wouldn’t want to do their best in one of the decisive battles of history, in one that would be the turning point of the war? Montgomery motivated his army to top performance and they defeated the Rommel and his “unbeatable” Africa Korps. The importance of interest in motivation is not a brand new concept. Almost a hundred years ago, Professor Warren Hilton wrote:

“It is not enough to have a mere general passion for success. Mere indefinite wishing for success will never get you anywhere. Besides this general passion, you must have definite interests continually renewed. You must give the mind something specific and tangible and immediate to work upon. You must incessantly add new details. Otherwise interest, attention, and activity will wane. Your biggest problem is how to keep your efficient output of mental energy at a high level. The solution lies in maintaining interest . . . . You must continually devise new ways of renewing the interest of your men and inspiring them to concentrate their attention upon…the mission. You cannot give a young man …monotonous and routine duties to perform and expect him to take the interest that you take in your business. You must make his work interesting for him. . . . Keep his and your interest alive by trying to discover new things in old surroundings and new aspects to everyday tasks.”[7]


Recognition For Good Work Is Only Fair . . . And It Pays Dividends

How many different ways can you think of right now to recognize good work? How many different awards and rewards can you give to those who work for you? How many different ways can you think of to publicize your followers’ success? How many different personal ways can you say “congratulations, we’re proud of you?”  Ezer Weizman, once President of Israel was commander of the Israeli Air Force in the early 1960’s. In those days, the Israeli Air Force was poorly equipped. It was a small Air Force flying mostly outdated aircraft and with no reputation outside of Israel.

General Weizman knew every pilot in his Air Force by first name, and that’s how he addressed every pilot. He knew every man’s personal problems and interests. He sent flowers to every pilot’s wife who gave birth. He coined the Air Force’s recruiting slogan, “The Best for the Air Force.”  Whenever he picked up the phone, his opening sentence was always, “Well, what’s news in the best Air Force in the Middle East?” Gradually, his men became convinced that despite their small numbers and obsolete equipment, they were the best. War came about a year after General Weizman had left his post as commander of the Air Force and was promoted to Chief of Operations of the Israeli Defense Forces. His pilots didn’t let him down in combat. They destroyed 352 enemy aircraft in the first few hours of the Six Days War and won a worldwide reputation.[8]


Everyone Wants Recognition

Believe me, I don’t care who they are, everyone wants recognition. Connie Podesta and Jean Gatz, two management consultants, wrote the book, How To Be The Person Successful Companies Fight to Keep. In it, they report that one CEO confided his frustration and distress: “I have worked so hard to turn this company around. I have managed to keep our profits up without laying off one person. I provide excellent benefits, and I’m willing to pay for my employees to go to school. I spend a great deal of money on picnics, parties, and celebrations because I want them to enjoy their jobs and feel as though this is a family they can count on. Very few of them have ever said thank you or even seem to appreciate how hard I try to make this a great place to work. On the other hand, if one little thing goes wrong or I have to say no to any of their ideas, some of them threaten to quit. And others won’t speak to me.”[9]

“Tough,” you say. “The guy has to learn to be more thick-skinned.” “If he can’t take the heat, he should stay out of the kitchen!” Oh yes, that’s all very true. But my point is here is someone who has made it to the top of a company.  He’s making good money and has power and responsibility. And yet, even he craves recognition. If this is true of a person in a position of considerable power, think how true it must be for everyone else . . . including everyone who would follow you! Yet, there are so many ways to recognize your employees. Management expert and fellow Claremont Graduate University alumni Dr. Bob Nelson actually identified over and thousand! He published them in a book entitled 1001 Ways to Reward Employees.[10] Better get a copy!


Make Sure Your People Have The Opportunity To Develop Their Skills

Do you create the opportunity for those in your organization to develop their skills? Can you provide special courses in-house?  How about a few hours off every week to complete a college degree? Maybe can you hire a physical fitness instructor to work with employees during lunch or after work. Sometimes an employee has the ability to do this, or has unique knowledge about which he or she is willing to instruct other employees. All you need to do is ask. Please don’t forget the requirement for you and other leaders in your organization to act as teachers. Of course by teaching, you also learn. One of the most famous German aces in World War I was a young Captain by the name of Oswald Boelcke. Boelcke is especially noteworthy because the tactics he developed during World War I are still in use by fighter pilots today. Boelcke went to extraordinary lengths to insure that new pilots assigned to his squadron were broken in correctly. He would do everything possible to insure a victory for one of his student-pilots. That included giving up an opportunity to run up his own score of airplanes shot down. It was Boelcke who developed the idea of “Hunting Squadrons.” We would call them fighter squadrons today. He was given command of one such squadron himself. Though he spent much of his time teaching, he managed to down 40 aircraft. He died fairly early in the war on October 28, 1916 from an aircraft accident. Had he continued to serve, he might have topped the more famous Von Richthofen who lived two more years and died with 80 victories. Boelcke’s teaching probably helped his country’s war efforts more than his personal aerial victories. And his teaching might have helped him gain his victories as well, despite lost opportunities. To quote the New Testament: “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” (Romans 2:21).


Listening Motivates

There is little question that listening motivates. It may be far more important in leadership than you ever realized. Some time ago I had the opportunity to talk about top level military leadership with seven four-star generals and admirals. These were individuals who had reached the very top of their profession before retiring. They had been Chiefs-of-Staff of their Services, Commanders-in-Chief, and one had been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. One of the very few factors, which set them off from other highly qualified combat leaders who did not reach the top, was their ability to listen. In one way or another, every single one of them mentioned this as an important, if not critical factor in leadership.


Two Air Force Generals Say: Listen!

General Curtis E. LeMay, was one tough cookie. He had seen his share of combat, and combat command when he was given command of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), our nuclear retaliatory force. He built it into the most devastating and effective military organization the world had ever seen. And he had the image of the tough commander he was, with a constant cigar stuffed into his mouth at all times. He was known to be absolutely no nonsense. His modus operendi was to land at a SAC base unannounced and really shake things up when they weren’t up to his very high standards. After his impromptu inspection he would gather the troops around him and speak and answer questions while he stood on a raised platform. And LeMay, tough as he was, really would listen to the comments and concerns of his troops. On one such occasion he had begun to speak from the platform when a young lieutenant interrupted him. General LeMay listened politely and he answered the young lieutenant’s question. He had barely started to speak when he was interrupted again by the lieutenant. Again he listened politely, and answered the question the lieutenant had put to him. Then he began to speak a third time, but for a third time the lieutenant interrupted him before he could get started. This time, he made a mild comment about the lieutenants interruptions. But the lieutenant was not to be put off. “You didn’t get to a general by keeping your mouth shut,” retorted the young lieutenant. There was a shocked silence. What would LeMay do? Would eat the lieutenant alive on the spot. LeMay paused and then commented: “No, that’s true. But it is how I got to be a captain.”

General Bernard P. Randolph was the Commander of Air Force Systems Command. Before the cold war ended and this command disappeared to be replaced by Air Force Material Command,  this organization did all of the Air Forces research and development work. This included all of its advanced airplanes, missiles, satellites, and “Star Wars” . . . everything.  In addition to being selected to command an organization that was crucial to the nation’s defense, General Randolph was unique in being only the second African-American Air Force officer to earn four stars and he was also the only navigator to achieve this rank. When asked to explain his leadership philosophy in an interview, he answered: “Ask your people what’s important to them, and  then listen.”[11]


Listen To Motorola

When Robert W. Galvin was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Motorola, Inc., his company did $ 1.5 billion in annual sales and employs 50,000 people around the globe. What did the head of a $ 1.5 billion dollar company emphasize in his leadership practices? “I emphasize listening,” says Chairman Galvin. “We strive to hear what other people want us to hear, even though they don’t always come out and say it directly.”[12]


Mary Kay Ash Listened

Mary Kay Ash maintained that listening is an art. She said: “If I’m talking to someone in a crowded room, I try to make that person feel as though we’re the only ones present. I shut out everything else. I look directly at the person. Even if a gorilla were to walk into the room, I probably wouldn’t notice it.”[13]


Some Spicy Listening

McCormick & Company, Inc., is a specialty food company and as this is written produces almost two billion dollars in annual sales.[14] McCormack & Company has earned an international reputation as a company that knows how to listen to its people and integrate even lower level employees into decision-making. It calls itself  “The World’s Largest Spice Company.” Then Chairman and President Harry K. Harry Wells explained the company’s success in these words: “Because of an underlying attitude that the company has developed over the years about how people interact, we have an atmosphere that allows anyone here to sit down and have meaningful dialogues about our policies and our objectives for the future.”[15]

The Company That Got The Suggestion Box To Work

Can you create a program to enable you to better listen to new ideas? You say the old suggestion box simply gather spider webs and chewing gum wrappers? Well, the Dana Corporation, the auto-parts maker, found a way to make it work. In a recent year, each of Dana’s then 45,500 employees submitted an average of 1.22 ideas a months. Really. Then CEO Woody Morcott commented, “It’s a core part of our value system.” Well, how did they do it? First, they had classes on how to come with and develop new ideas. Then there were awards, luncheons, and much made over those who are prolific at generating good ideas. One plant in Mexico even rewarded an employee to the tune of $1.89 for every new idea submitted. By the statistics kept, some 70% of all suggestions made were actually adopted. According to leaders at Dana employee suggestions were making and saving Dana a fortune and keeping the company very competitive. [16] In one year, sales were $12.5 billion and climbing.[17] Why not go fifty-fifty on time? Maybe you can donate one hour of company time and your employee can give one hour of time after work to work on his idea using company facilities. Think up some way that the employee will benefit if his or her idea proves out. That’s one way to listen to ideas! I’m sure you can think of additional ways.


Let Your People Think For Themselves

Are you open to letting your people think for themselves? Tell people what to do. Let them decide how to do it for themselves. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t give help if asked…only that people have their own brains, experiences, and unique backgrounds. That’s why they’re assigned to the duties that they’re assigned and not you. That’s why they’re such valuable commodities. You can’t do all of the thinking for everyone in your organization. Try it and you are sure to fail. Even if you could do all of the thinking for all of your subordinates, you would be ill-advised to do so. If all of your people thought exactly like you, your organization would have a pretty limited source of ideas. Perhaps even more importantly, researchers have discovered that the product of many separate brains working together is greater than the sum of each considered separately. If you try to do all the thinking in your organization yourself, you lose this important synergism. Let those you lead do their own thinking, and you’ll be amazed and surprised at what they come up with and how they use their expertise to solve your problems.

Colonel Motta Gur commanded the Israeli paratrooper brigade that captured Eastern Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967. There was desperate fighting when Gur, in a vehicle called a half-track, led his paratroopers into the city.  His driver was a huge soldier from the Galilee by the name of Ben-Zur. With Ben-Zur, he passed a column of Israeli tanks and hurried on. At the Lion’s Gate to Jerusalem, the entrance was very narrow because of a burning car. Colonel Gur ordered only, “Ben-Zur, drive.”  His driver continued and without slowing down, managed to avoid the burning vehicle. As they got closer, they saw that the iron gate had been hit by tank fire and was partially opened. Gur assumed that he would be attacked with grenades as they slowed to open the gate. But he said only, “Ben-Zur, drive. Ben-Zur stepped on the gas. He hit  the door and it flew off its hinges. Stones flew in every direction, but the vehicle continued down the Via Dolorosa. They turned left and found the way blocked by a deserted motorcycle in the middle of the road. It could be mined. Gur ordered, “Ben-Zur, drive.” Ben-Zur didn’t stop and didn’t attempt to avoid the motorcycle. Instead, he ran directly over it. If mined, it failed to explode. Colonel Gur continued in this fashion. At every obstacle, his only order was, “Ben-Zur, drive.” The driver made the decision as to how to go over, around, or though the obstacle in order to continue. Eventually Gur, followed by his brigade arrived at the Temple Mount. For the first time in almost 2000 years, Jews controlled the Holy Temple.[18] Colonel Gur eventually became a general and Chief-of-Staff of the Israeli Army.


What Does The Combat Model Say?

I frequently refer to what I call the combat model of leadership. It’s simple. It is mission and those you lead first; yourself last. Why does a private soldier making only several hundred dollars a month make a do-or-die assault on a hill, or drive a vehicle into danger as did Colonel Gur’s driver, Ben-Zur?  Colonel Mike Malone should know. He was once known as the Army’s leading expert on leadership, and he won the Army’s highest peacetime decoration, the Distinguished Service Medal, for his work in this field. According to Colonel Malone, a soldier goes all out in an attack because:

1.   his buddies are counting on him.

2.   he thinks his buddies will call him a coward if he doesn’t.

3.   he has learned that his leader knows the right thing to do.

4.   he wants to please his leader.

5.   he believes he will be court-martialed if he doesn’t.

6.   he thinks he will be left alone if he doesn’t attack.

7.   he believes that following orders is the right thing to do.

8.   he believes that he will be rewarded for attacking.

9.   he believes that attacking is less dangerous than not attacking.

10.he believes that he will feel guilty if he doesn’t.

11.he wants to prove his manhood, courage, competence, or worth as a soldier.

12.he enjoys the excitement and thrill of combat.

13.following orders has become automatic.[19]

Note that job security, high pay, or good benefits play a very small part here. This is consistent with results that Professors Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus from the University of Southern California in surveying leaders from all kinds of organizations. You can be a terrific leader in most situations despite poor working conditions, low compensation, and few benefits.


When Are Salary, Job Security, And Benefits Important?

Salary, job security, and good benefits are important. But they are not of primary importance. You may say, “Listen, in my company people work primarily for the pay and benefits, and that’s it.” Let’s see if that is true. If you’ve been in a company for any length of time, you’ve seen people leave voluntarily. If asked why they are leaving, they will almost invariably respond that they have better offers elsewhere. They may than begin to detail all the advantages of their new positions: higher salaries, bigger jobs, more benefits, bigger offices, etc.  If you listen carefully, however, you’ll hear a message, even if it isn’t verbalized. The message is this: “These people who hired me really appreciate what I have to offer. They recognize my real importance to a much greater extent than here. They are giving me all these benefits because I am especially important.”  In other words, although the higher salary and additional benefits were inducements to leave an organization, they may only provide the rationale for the real reason.

Recall again that there are many organizations for which pay, benefits, and job security are non-existent. Yet those that work in these organizations perform to their maximum. Did you forget the football team we talked about in an earlier chapter? There are also voluntary hospital workers, those who for low pay work on dangerous archeological digs, the Peace Corps, the “Big Brother” programs, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and hundreds of other organizations. What part than do salary, benefits, and security play in motivation?


What A Scientist Discovered About Motivations Being Interrelated

Back in the 1950’s, a social scientist by the name of Abraham Maslow developed a theory of how all motivations fit together. Maslow called his theory the hierarchy of needs. You may have heard of it before. But that’s see how it might affect motivation from a practical viewpoint. According to Maslow, we are motivated by various human needs. These needs are at different levels. As one level of needs are satisfied, people are no longer motivated by them. People seek to satisfy the next higher level of needs. Maslow’s first level consists of physiological needs like eating or breathing. Once these basic physiological needs are satisfied, people seek the next highest level. These are security or safety needs. That’s where salary, benefits and job security came in.  On the next level are social or affiliation needs. After this comes the esteem level. Respect and recognition are motivational at this level. Maslow’s highest level is self-actualization. That is, to be everything you are capable of. Maslow also identified two categories of needs not on his hierarchy. These were the desire to know and understand and aesthetic needs. Now what Maslow’s theory tells us is this. Once your people are above a certain level, they are no longer motivated by the levels below. Do you stop and worry about breathing? Not unless you have health problems affecting your ability to breathe. It is the same with salary, benefits, and job security. If an employee has salary, benefits, and job security in amounts he finds acceptable, of itself this may no longer motivate! Of course, if there is a threat of losing these three factors, they may become motivational once again.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is important to us because it helps to explain why high salary, good benefits, and job security may not be as important as other motivational factors, except as symbols of these other factors. Let me show you what I mean. Some years ago, a company I worked with gave a salary review every year. The amount of annual salary raise was keyed to performance. A top performer could get as much as a 10% increase plus an adjustment for cost-of-living. An average performer received a much lower percentage increase for the year. Someone performing below par didn’t receive an increase. One year the company had a very bad year. The company could have frozen all wages. Instead, what it did was to freeze salaries for management only. A pot was created and a formula developed for dividing the pot based on the previous year’s performance. As a result, a top performer may have received an increase of less than $700 a year! Still, the increase was a motivator because it was a symbol of high achievement and was not awarded to everyone.


The Man Who Found Two Categories of Motivators Which Accomplish Different Things

Another scientist by the name of Frederick Herzberg came along a few years later to build on Maslow’s work. Herzberg collected data on job attitude among employees in hundreds of companies. From studying this data, he concluded that people have two categories of needs which affect satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a job. The first category he called hygiene needs. He gave them this name because these needs serve the function of preventative medicine in the workplace. They prevent job dissatisfaction. They are also distinguished by the fact that these needs are never completely satisfied. You have to keep maintaining them, or you lose performance. You can’t increase performance with them. But if your organization is already performing well, you can maintain these high standards with the hygiene factors. Hygiene factors include money, status, treatment, and security.

According to Herzberg, motivators are satisfying factors that relate to the job itself. They involve feelings of achievement, recognition for accomplishment, challenging work, increased responsibility, growth and development.  These are the factors that produce job satisfaction as contrasted with the hygiene needs that only prevent job dissatisfaction. How can we use Herzberg theory to help us motivate people to be satisfied with their jobs?  We know if we reduce the hygiene factors, we’re going to get job dissatisfaction. How would you feel if someone reduced your salary? So to avoid job dissatisfaction, we maintain the hygiene factors at their present levels. Can we increase job satisfaction by say, increasing salary? No, not according to Herzberg. Remember, salary is a hygiene factor. If we want those we lead to be more satisfied with their jobs, we most use the motivators. That is, we must look for ways that we can increase:

  • feelings of achievement
  • recognition
  • challenge in the work
  • responsibility
  • growth and development


Every successful military leader has done this, and you can do it too. If there is adversity, so much the better.

Have you ever heard of Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller? Puller is the only Marine in history to win five Navy Crosses. Now the Navy Cross is second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. Very few men win one Navy Cross. It is extremely rare for someone to win two. Chesty Puller won five. He quit Virginia Military Institute in 1918 to enlist in the Marine Corps, and fought over a hundred combats in the Banana Wars of the 1920’s, in China in the 1930’s, the Pacific during World War II, and than came out of retirement to fight through the Korean War. So admired was Puller, that marine recruits would sing this little ditty to the tune of “Good Night, Ladies.”

“Good night, Chesty! Good night, Chesty!

Good night, Chesty – wherever you may be!

After you the Corps will roll, Corps will roll, Corps will roooooll,

After you the Corps will roll – on to victoree!”[20]

In December, 1950, Colonel Chesty Puller led a regiment in retreat to the port of Hungnam, Korea. Overwhelming numbers of attacking Chinese had cut off the entire First Marine Division. The Korean winter was bitter cold and there had been a snowstorm in the morning. There were many wounded. Conditions were grim. Puller stomped up and down the lines. He stopped often to herd men together.

“You’re the First Marine Division – and don’t you forget it. We’re the greatest military outfit that ever walked on this earth. Not all the Communists in hell can stop you. We’ll go down to the sea at our own pace and nothing is going to get in our way. If it does, we’ll blow the hell out of it.”

To others of his own regiment he exhorted, “You’re the finest regiment in the finest division in history. We’re not retreating! We’ve about-faced to get at more of those bastards. Be proud you’re First Marines.”[21]

When Chesty Puller finally retired from the Marines permanently, he retired as a lieutenant general.


Action Steps To Motivate Those You Lead

1.   Work on the most important factors first. High salary, good benefits or job security are of lesser importance.

2.   Treat those you lead with respect…always.

3.   Make the work interesting.

4.   Always give recognition for good work.

5.   Give those you lead a chance to develop their skills.



[1] Max DePree, Leadership is an Art, (New York: Dell Publishing, 1989) p. 28

[2]John Laffin, Links of Leadership (Abelard-Schuman: New York, 1970) p.189.

[3] Ibid.

[4] James MacGregor Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper & Row, publishers, 1978)

[5] James MacGregor Burns, quoted in William Safire and Leonard Safir, Leadership (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990) p. 202.

 [6]John Laffin. Op. Cit. p.265.

 [7]Warren Hilton, Applied Psychology: Processes and Personality (The Applied Psychology Press: San Francisco, 1920) p. 97.

 [8]Eli Landau, “Ezer Weizman,” in Moshe Ben Shaul, ed. Generals of Israel (Hadar Publishing Co., Ltd.: Tel Aviv, Israel, 1969) p.72.

[9] Connie Podesta and Jean Gatz, How To Be The Person Successful Companies Fight To Keep (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997) p. 184.

 [10]Bob Nelson, 1001 Ways toReward Employees (New York: Workman Press, 1994)

 [11]”AFSC’s New Boss, Gen. Randolph,” Airman (December 1987) p.9.

 [12]Chester Burger, The Chief Executive (CBI Publishing Company, Inc.: Boston, 1978) p. 48.

 [13]Mary Kay Ask, Mary Kay on People Management (Warner Books: New York, 1984) pp.30-31.

 [14] McCormick & Company web Site:, July 22, 1999.

 [15]Chester Burger, Op. Cit., p. 24.

[16] Richard Teitelbaum, “How To Harness Gray Matter,” Fortune (June 9, 1997) p. 168.

[17] Dana Corporate Data Fact Sheet, Web Site, July 22, 1999.

[18]Arieh Hashavia, A History of the Six-Day War (Ledory House: Tel Aviv, undated) pp.226-229.

[19]Dandridge M. Malone, Small Unit Leadership (Presidio Press: Presidio, California, 1983) pp.3-4.

[20]Burke Davis, Marine!: The Life of Chesty Puller (Bantam Books: New York, 1964) p.6.

[21]Ibid. p.3.


1. The Stuff of Heroes: Leading with Integrity and Honor

The eight universal laws are strategic. From them come hundreds of tactics and techniques that leaders must use in all fields including the eight essential influence tactics.. 

Combat leadership is extremely effective despite the terrible environment in which it is practiced. Under such conditions, old motivators such as pay, vacations, and job security aren’t much good. Yet, combat leaders help others reach very difficult goals and complete very arduous tasks. They build organizations that get things done ethically, honestly, and for the most part humanely, in many cases without giving direct orders.

 If business leaders could motivate their employees to perform at only a small percentage of the productivity achieved by combat leaders, what couldn’t their organizations accomplish? To develop this system, Dr. Cohen surveyed more than 200 general and flag officers who have since become corporate executives. This is our “flag-ship” seminar and the concepts and techniques taught have been recommended by U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, Admiral and former Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt, former Chief Staff of the Air Force Ronald Fogleman and many CEOs of major organizations.

Attendees learn how to put the eight universal laws and the eight essential influence tactics into practice plus a lot more.

2. A Class with Drucker: The Lost Lessons of the World’s Greatest Management Teacher

Dr. Bill Cohen studied under Peter Drucker from 1975-79 and became the first graduate of his executive graduate program. What Drucker taught him literally changed his life. In a few years he was recommissioned in the Air Force and rose to become a major general. He became a full professor, a university president, and authored 53 books published in 18 languages. He maintained a nearly lifelong friendship with the master. In this seminar/workshop Cohen shares many of Drucker’s teachings that never made it into his countless books and articles – ideas that were offered to his students in classroom or informal settings. Cohen expands on Drucker’s lessons with personal anecdotes and shows how Drucker’s ideas can be applied to real-world challenges that managers face today.

You will learn.

  • How to build your self-confidence step by step Drucker’s way
  • How to approach problems with your ignorance; not your experience
  • The organization that Drucker most admired
  • Why and how you must develop expertise outside of management
  • How to solve problems by approaching them with your ignorance
  • How to create the future
  • How to avoid fear of failure and loss of job
  • Many other concepts Drucker taught in the classroom and how to apply them


For more information, contact me directly by e-mail at or telephone (626) 794-5998. Yes we do give international seminars — The U.S. country code is 01.



“Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey?”

                The Bible Amos 3:4