Motive Is Everything.

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
3 min readJun 19, 2024


Photography By Fabian Blank On

If you understand someone’s motive then you will be able to assess their capacity, capability, and their likelihood to succeed. In fact, you will know the ceiling to their success. And this applies in Organisations as well.

The core strength of any business is the combined talent and effort of all those who work with it — employees, contractors, suppliers, everyone. What determines the strength and impact of that core is motive. The right motive magnifies and compounds that strength, whereas the wrong motive disperses and neutralises it.

The culture of your business is seeded with the purpose for which it was founded. That purpose is either reinforced or washed away by subsequent leadership teams.

Many businesses today have no real purpose for their existence and that vacuum is filled with profit as the motive. Profit-first is the worst motive that you can allow to exist in your business as it only seeds self-interest, politics and short-termism. Each of which is destructive to the competitiveness of your business.

People need a ‘moral righteous’ purpose to come to work at your business each day if you are to have any prospect of them giving their all in making your business a success. Again, in the absence of that purpose the best you will gain is that they come to work because they need the money and have a few friends at work. If they have brought into your profit-first motive then they are there for what they get out of it. They will only give what they need to, to get what they want and only as long as it benefits them. Not really the making of a competitively-fit business.

So, what then is your motive? Well, it is to serve the needs of the community in your chosen market to the greatest of your capability. This capability is under continuous improvement with the mantra, ‘better every day’.

It does fall out of your business’s sense of responsibility to the community, and no I am not referring to corporate social responsibility programs or the concept of social licence. I am speaking to the strategic need for businesses to do good for their communities and the symbiotic relationship that such builds between businesses and communities. Once the profit-first motive is removed, it allows businesses to truly connect with their communities, their needs, and to seek to improve those communities. It is through this lens that the purpose of your business will become clear and evident.

A ‘moral righteous’ purpose allows your employees to connect with outcomes at a deeper personal level and to live a purpose with real meaning. ‘We are doing real work that is benefitting our community. I feel so proud of the contribution that I am personally able to make to that’. This is the connection that will lift and grow the competitiveness of your business to a level you never thought possible.

It starts with motive, and it ends with motive. And you set the motive.

Here is a brief video clip that speaks into this theme with links to the full video and resources: