Meaning is the New Money

In her article for Diversity Executive, Tamara Erickson (2012) provides what could be a revolutionary process for capitalizing on diversity: embrace the differences of employees and bring individuals together as one working unit.

Erickson (2012) reminds us that the old method of monetary bonuses for extra work toward the company’s goals is dying out. She notes that business models are moving from individual task completion to group-based. However, individuals within that group still need incentive to do their best work within the group. Erickson notes that “money is not a motivator in this type of discretionary effort, nor does it bind a community into a collaborative whole”. She pushes for a new incentive, which is found in a “clear set of values that we share with colleagues.”

In his book on leadership, Craig Johnson (2012) notes that there are eight global values, including: love, truthfulness, fairness, freedom, unity, tolerance, responsibility, and respect for life.  Erickson (2012) knits this idea together, saying leaders need to move from “adopting and enforcing best practices to crafting unique experiences that reinforce the organization’s values.”

“Meaning is the new money,” says Erickson (2012), moving us away from observable and unobservable differences. Leaders should craft groups based on commitment to a unique company value set, so the power of the group’s individual members can be harnessed. Instead of seeing differences, the group will see what they can bring to the project at hand, based on the value set to which they’ve each committed themselves. This mindset could change the business world.

Erickson, T. J. (2012, January 30). Meaning is the new money. Retrieved from

Johnson, C. E. (2012). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

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  1. LeaderNine says:

    It is nice to see that companies are moving away from monetary bonuses for extra work towards companies goals. It seems that many organizations are starting to realize the importance and value of their employees. It is interesting to compare how servant leadership has a greater effect on building a strong company rather than utilizing the golden parachute method for gaining incentives through corporate mergers.
    Servant leadership puts the needs and priorities of others before themselves. With this concept service leaders strive“…to serve first. Then by conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead” (Northouse 2013, P. 220). When we sacrifice our own selfish desires and focus on helping others and being strong Christians we can then “make it to the top”. It seems as though this style of leadership is not as popular amidst all the corrupt companies that are seen today. According to Brown, Abraham Lincoln was considered a servant leader during the civil war (Brown 2013). Some examples of common day servant leaders include Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines, and Starbucks. According to Buchannan, servant leadership is making a comeback due to the wide mistrust of corporate CEO’s (2007).
    The Golden Parachute on the other hand is a term that refers to benefits being given to a top executive in the case of a merger and as a result that executive is terminated (Retrieved from Some examples of Golden Parachute include: Time Warner Cable, GE, AT&T, and Exxon Mobile Corp.
    I believe that servant leadership is more effective in that it encourages leaders by gaining the trust of their employees. Especially with the rise in unethical CEO’s I think that Servant leadership will be more successful in the long run because it aims at looking at long term goals, visions, and gaining the respect of their employees and customers.
    1 Corinthians 4:1-2 “This is how one should regards us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy”.
    Brown, J. (2013). Who are These Servant Leaders?. Retrieved from
    Buchanan, L. (2007). In Praise of Selflessness. Retrieved from

    Kloeffler, D. (2012). Golden Parachutes: 21 CEOs Landed $100M Plus. Retrieved from

    Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership Theory and Practice (6th Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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