What’s in it for Me?

GO is your organization.  It belongs to your community, which means that it belongs to you.

Members of GO have lots of discussions about what community ownership means.  If you own a part of GO, how do you exercise your rights and responsibilities?  How do we define boundaries around our community?  Do we draw boundaries geographically?  Locally, regionally, nationally or globally?  What about around our social or cultural communities?

How you exercise your right to GO is simply by belonging to the community.  The benefits of GO’s activities generally extend to everyone, and no one is intended to benefit any more than anyone else.  As an example, take for instance a solar power generation project owned and operated by GO.  The renewable energy generation will offset energy produced by polluting sources such as coal-fired power plants, thereby making the air cleaner.  This benefits the health of everyone in the community, regardless of demographic or ideology.

How you exercise your responsibility is by becoming involved.  If you want to see positive change in your community, be a part of it!  You can volunteer with GO, and you can become involved in decision-making with Committees or the Board that decide where and how GO’s resources get invested.

Why Would Anyone Do This?

In an RSA video titled “The surprising truth about what motivates us” (watch it above), Daniel Pink provides a fascinating explanation about human motivation. Explaining the results of multiple studies regarding performance and rewards, Pink concluded that money is a motivator for work – but only to a certain extent. If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated. However, if you pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table, then they are no longer motivated by money. Instead, the pursuit of autonomy, mastery and purpose – and success in attaining them – will lead to better performance and personal satisfaction.

Autonomy is defined as our desire to be self-directed. Pink uses Atlassian as an example: once a quarter on a Thursday afternoon, all developers are given 24 hours to do anything they wanted to do, and present the results of their work in a meeting. In those 24 hours of autonomy, a entire array of software fixes and new product ideas emerged in the workplace that otherwise may not have. Autonomy allows us to produce and complete things that we are unable to do, under more traditional forms of management.

Mastery is our desire to improve. In our pursuit to master our skills, we participate in activities that seem irrational economically. In 1991, a team of developers from around the world used their free time to develop a free, open-source operating system: Linux. While the emergence of Linux may be economically irrational, it was the human drive for mastery that ultimately led technically sophisticated, highly skilled, employed individuals to create it.

Finally, the search for a transcendent purpose in all the work that we do drives our performance and satisfaction. We seek to do work that contributes to an overall cause, or an endpoint. Purpose inspires us to work ethically, creatively and accountably.