September 1999


Values-Based Networking - Jim Cathcart

Jim Cathcart

Years ago I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I remember talking one day with a friend about the topic of motivation. He told me that if we could ever figure out how really to motivate people, we could make a fortune. But those who have taken any leadership training at all know that people do things for their own reasons, not ours. And that's the real definition of motivation. It means to stimulate a motive. So if we want to motivate somebody-- a prospect to get started, a distributor to keep at it-- what we've got to do is not come to him with motivation, but rather look inside him for his motives.

Primary motives develop very early in life, as do other individual characteristics. Have you ever noticed the differences in infants even when they come from the same parents? A lot of times I will ask my audiences to comment on how different their babies were one from the other, and they'll cite differences of all types. I'll ask, "At what point in the second child's life did you notice that this child was really different from the first one?" Some people say the first year, others say six months, still others say at birth. One person even said, "I think I could tell about halfway through the pregnancy."

There are differences in how active the children are, how they take their food, how they respond to touch, how they interact with others, how they relate to their toys and their environment, and many other things. These differences become even more pronounced as they mature. Therein lies the key to people's motivation.

There are two kinds of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation occurs when we try from the outside to provide a motive for some action or behavior. Maybe your company is offering a bonus to the top individual volume producers of the month. That's extrinsic motivation-- the outside trying to get the inside excited.

Intrinsic motivation occurs when we are moved to action because of our internal motivation. For instance, maybe when you were a kid you really wanted a new bike but your parents said they wouldn't pay for it. So you got a paper route, sold cookies door to door, baby-sat, or started a lawn-mowing business, anything to get the money because you really wanted that bike. You were internally motivated to find a way to get the money.

That's intrinsic motivation-- when we make a conscious effort to achieve a goal because we want it, not because someone else sold us on it. The secret to great leadership is to find out what the intrinsic motivations of your followers are, then gear the extrinsic motivation to appeal to those. The key to intrinsic motivation is in the person's value system, because values shape who you are and direct why you do what you do.

It's a common error for Networkers to focus on content rather than intent when they're presenting to prospects. Intent motivates much more than content does. Instead of dwelling on what we want to get across-- content-- we need to focus on bringing benefit-- intent. The only way you can know what those benefits are is by finding out what those people care about right now. That's where values come in. It's not enough to just think in terms of common denominators that apply to everyone, like the desire for more money or more freedom. This is even more important once they've joined your business-- that's when the real opportunity to get to know them comes. If distributors stay in the business and become successful, they probably see a direct connection between their value priorities and what they're doing in Network Marketing. Distributors who don't see such a connection are the ones likely to give up.

Each of us has a unique set of values. Value denotes the importance of something relative to other alternatives. Values are what you care about, the qualities you find desirable. Values are the not attitudes or behaviors, though they form the basis of our attitudes and behaviors. Every decision we make is based on our own set of values.

For example, some personal values are loyalty, wisdom, love, honesty, justice, and there are many more. When we make a decision or when we act, we usually do so in accordance with our personal value system. Now, I don't want you to confuse values with virtues. Virtues are standards of excellence, morally the right, best actions to take. With values, however, we look at what you care about most, right or wrong, good or bad.

I'd like to focus on a value system model based loosely on the works of Edvard Spranger of the University of Berlin and the more contemporary work of Gordon Allport. I initially developed this system in concert with Robert Horton of the Carefree Institute to build on some of the seminal work Horton did with Dr. Pat Fellows on what they called "the Pars." Since then I've retitled it the Natural Values Model.

In this research I have found seven values that are common to everyone. These aren't values we've learned; rather, they're part of who we are. These seven natural values are with you at birth and stay with you throughout your life. These values are in the acorn, part of your very nature. They are as follows:

  • Sensuality-- the relative importance of one's physical experience
  • Empathy-- the relative importance of feeling connected to other people
  • Wealth-- the relative importance of ownership and worth
  • Power-- the relative importance of feeling control and recognition
  • Aesthetics-- the relative importance of beauty, balance, order, and symmetry
  • Commitment-- the relative importance of being committed to something, having a cause or mission, doing the "right" thing
  • Knowledge-- the relative importance of learning and understanding

You and I share all seven of those values, but if we were to rank which ones were most important to each of us, your top values may be different from mine. If my top value is power and yours is knowledge, we will respond to a stimulus in different ways.

For example, say our most successful upline offers us a chance to attend a seminar on value systems. Your main reason for attending might be simply to gain the knowledge because you love to learn-- you have a high knowledge value. But if my highest value is power, my main reason might be to find ways to use this new knowledge to advance my position and better lead my team.

We both would benefit from the training, but we would have different primary motives for learning what was taught. If commitment were my main value, I would go to the seminar because it was the right thing to do, or because it was a way to show my commitment to the organization. If empathy were your main value, you'd probably be attending to find new ways to connect with your people and help them more.

If sensuality was your main value, you might want to attend so you could be in a new surrounding with a new meeting room or new environment. With aesthetics as a main value, you might attend because of the beautiful location of the seminar or the architecture of the building. A high wealth value would cause the seminar to be seen as a vehicle for gaining more worth in the marketplace. Is this starting to make sense?

None of the values is better or nobler than the others in and of itself. It's how they're acted upon that determines that. Our values don't determine whether something will appeal to us nearly as much as they determine how that thing will appeal to us.

Incidentally, there's no importance to the sequence in which I've listed these values. The reason they're listed this way is because they're easy to remember if you use the acronym SEW PACK: Sensuality, Empathy, Wealth, Power, Aesthetics, Commitment, Knowledge. Think of those little sewing kits that they give you as an amenity in a hotel room. Picture one with seven different colors of thread. The threads hold things together. Each color does the job as well as the other, but their difference is noticeable to the naked eye. This analogy gives you a convenient way of remembering the words.

Seeing and Hearing the Values

People show their values all the time through what they say and don't say, what they do and don't do, what they approach and what they avoid. Here are some indicators to watch for to identify people's top values:

Sensuality. A person with a high sensuality value shows an interest in and affinity for physical experience: taste, touch, smell, fit, comfort, temperature, humidity, sound, volume, light, etc. There's a sensitivity to the physical aspects of an experience that stands out for this person. He or she might choose a certain restaurant for the feel of its dinnerware or its seating comfort as well as for its food.

Empathy. People with a high empathy value need to be around other people they care about. The helping impulse is very strong in these folks. They're drawn to the needs of others and are sensitive to their reactions and experiences. They may buy a product as much for their sense of connection with the salesperson as for their actual need for the product.

Wealth. People with a high wealth value find that the worth of a thing or its fair price value matters a great deal. They may wear an expensive ring even though they don't particularly care for how it looks. They evaluate the sincerity of your words by looking at what you do with your money. People with a high wealth value really care about accumulating things, because that's how they evaluate how things are going. It's not greed to them; it's just putting value on acquiring or owning things of quality.

Power. People with a high power value find acknowledgement, praise, special privileges, honors, titles, and prestigious things of prime consideration. Position and control matter a lot. These people evaluate information by its source, and the title and position the person holds. They may find the fact that they were seated in the VIP section even more pleasing than the concert. High power value types love to be in charge.

``People show their values all the time through what they say and don't say, what they do and don't do, what they approach and what they avoid.''

Aesthetics. People with a high aesthetic value would find beautiful sunsets, organized systems, certain color combinations, paintings, landscapes, and architecture of strong appeal. The look or graphic layout of your proposal may carry as much impact as its contents from their point of view. They may feel that the meeting would have been much more productive if it weren't in such a dull looking room. People with high aesthetic value truly care how things look and feel. They want to make life aesthetically pleasing, whether that means reorganizing things or increasing the beauty of their surroundings. 

Commitment. People with a high commitment value have strong convictions. Beliefs and affiliations are at the center of their attention. Working to advance a cause, crusading, and campaigning feel good to them. These people do things because they feel they are the right things to do. They like being part of an organization or a group that they believe in. As a matter of fact, to them, it's critical that they believe in it. They make statements like, "I trust her because she demonstrates her commitment. If she says it, you can take it to the bank." They willingly make sacrifices in other areas to do what they feel is right.

Knowledge. People with a high knowledge value love to learn. Knowledge is valued as an end in itself. Books, seminars, discussions, and problem solving are things they enjoy. They may tend to listen to learning tapes or public radio rather than music stations. They seem to have an endless curiosity, being constantly amazed at how little they know on each subject. They say, "So many books, so little time." Someone with a high knowledge value considers going to a seminar a benefit in and of itself, whereas someone with a lower knowledge value might find it to be a burden, an inconvenience.

Behaviors That Grow from Each Value

Certain behaviors are driven by our value system. Here are some characteristics for each value. See which ones you identify with.

High sensuality value. These are people who are acutely aware of their physical experience. Before they get involved with a task they take a few moments to get comfortable, what in the South we used to call "fixing to go to work"-- adjusting the chair, adjusting the computer screen, getting their tools in order, and so on. They tend to be touchers, enjoying very much the physical aspects of everything.

Everything they do is experienced initially through a sensual filter. They could be gourmets, fitness enthusiasts, auto mechanics, bungee jumpers. High sensuality is a noticeable value ranging from passive sunbathing to the excitement of downhill skiing. Prospects like this are likely to be drawn to companies with products that appeal to the senses, like beauty or health care lines, rather than to companies whose products appeal to the intellect, like legal or internet services. Little things matter to them-- the overall impression of your presentation, from your appearance to the comfort of the room in which you meet, to how much they enjoy the coffee you drink together all will influence their response to a degree.

High empathy value. Empathy leads a person to be more compassionate and understanding of others. A New Yorker cartoon showed a boardroom in which one fellow was hugging another one and saying, "Oh, that was a wonderful report, Bob, a wonderful report!" The caption read, "Vice President in Charge of Sincerity." People with a high empathy value tend to be that type. They often feel it's better to give than receive and are willing to take care of other people's needs before their own. These prospects will be drawn to Network Marketing for the sense of community it offers, for the chance to make a difference for people. As Networkers, they're likely to send frequent personal notes to people in their line and foster familial organizations.

High wealth value. People with a high wealth value demonstrate maximum interest in the security of their money. They direct their efforts toward their job and economic security. They want to know about benefits, bonus plans, stock purchase plans, retirement plans, etc. They'll work at a job they don't enjoy as long as the pay is good, because their primary motive is wealth. Likewise, they'll be attracted to Network Marketing almost exclusively for its income potential. As far as they're concerned, the profit motive is a valid basis for work as well as a legitimate organizational purpose. Ask them the purpose of business and they'll say "to turn a profit." They prefer tangible goals with financial numbers attached to them. They really dislike monetary waste; a spendthrift makes them very uncomfortable.

High power value. People with a high power value exhibit two elements, control and recognition, as primary appeals. They want to be in charge of whatever they're involved in, get things done and meet goals, eliminate disagreement and questioning. They are intolerant of errors and tend to blame others. They like direct confrontations and enjoy winning arguments. It's not that they're mean-spirited; they just enjoy being in charge and making things happen.

``Be aware that we tend to oversell our top value, and that can be a blind spot.''

They also like to be the center of attention; as a matter of fact, they can seldom get enough of that. They tend to avoid situations where their achievements won't be recognized. The first thing these Networkers do when they get the company newsletter is scan it for their own names. They need regular reinforcement, like displaying status symbols, and strive for fame or accomplishment. These people will likely be drawn to Networking for the opportunity to be their own boss and the chance to lead others. They'll be focused on progressing up the compensation plan until they reach the top. 

High aesthetic value. People with a high aesthetic value are drawn toward beauty, harmony, balance, blend, symmetry. They're distracted by disorder or ugliness; they feel a need for closure; they like systems and structure; they like the completion of an act. "Everything in its pace, a place for everything" works for them. It doesn't particularly have to be neat and tidy, but it does need to fit together nicely. These people are more likely to be artists at what they do, even if that's mathematics or computers. They seem to be deeply moved and renewed by exposure to beauty. As prospects, the visual appeal of your product line and marketing materials will be important to them. They'll be considering if the company image is one they want to associate with. As Networkers, they're the ones who dress sharply, have laminated display charts at their presentations, and send out attractively designed newsletters-- no stapled photocopies for them.

High commitment value. People with a high commitment value really think that doing what you believe in is the essence of being a good person. They live a purposeful life and will sacrifice for their ideals and standards. Doing what's right takes precedence over doing what works best. They have a zealot's enthusiasm for what they do-- as Networkers they'll say things like "This is THE way." These folks tend to be patriotic and often strongly religious. They'll be attracted to Network Marketing for how it coincides with a mission beyond themselves.

High knowledge value. Those with a high knowledge value have an intense drive to discover. They need a way to explain things in the world and want to better their situation through learning more. They are seekers of the truth, wanting to make sense out of things. As Networkers, they'll have lots of questions, but won't expect you to have all the answers. They'll study the product ingredients, they'll know the comp plan inside and out. They may be attracted to Network Marketing because learning the concept of leverage excites them, for example.

Be aware that we tend to oversell our top value, and that can be a blind spot. If wealth is my highest value, for example, and I simply focus on how much money can be made in Network Marketing, I'm likely to notice distributors with high empathy value dropping out of my organization. Nobody has just one or two of these values. All seven are in you and everyone you meet, but their order of priority varies. We all have each of these values, but it's in recognizing your own highest values and the highest values of others that you'll create the best, most effective and mutually beneficial relationships.

What About You?

Here is a quick values check you can do to determine your own top values. Answer the following six questions in writing. Quickly write what first comes to your mind. Trust your gut reaction:

  • What qualities do you most admire in a friend?
  • What traits do you want most in a mate?
  • What do you think kids should be taught in schools?
  • If you could change the world in some way, what would it be?
  • What drew you to Network Marketing?
  • If money was no longer a limitation to you, what would you do with your money?

Look over your answers, then look back at the seven natural values and look for matches. What you'll find is that the values tend to pop to the surface in your answers. Which values were expressed most strongly? Those questions all had the same basic inquiry-- what do you care about?-- but they asked it from six different points of view.

Once you've evaluated your answers you'll have a pretty quick sense of what your top few values are.

If you think you've figured out someone else's values and you want to apply some extrinsic, outside motivation in accordance with his or her intrinsic values, here are some incentive or gift ideas to appeal to those values.

Sensuality value. Appeal to her senses. Give her a dining certificate to savor a good meal, or membership in a spa so she can enjoy attention. Take her on a sports outing, on a ski trip, sailing. Give her tennis lessons, golf equipment, fitness coaching, custom clothing, or better tools to work with.

Empathy value. Give him ways to demonstrate his high empathy. Involve him in team activities and collaborations, include him in a special group of people like himself, give him the chance to help someone he cares about. Hold a social in his honor with his special friends.

Wealth value. Give her money: gold coins, cash, stock certificates, investment advice, membership in an investment group, seminars or books on money, financial management software, a subscription to a financial magazine or a collector's newsletter. Money motivates people with a high wealth value. But be creative in the way you provide it. Money may not be the only way they identify with wealth. They may find wealth in antiques or in money saving tips.

Power value. The sort of things that would appeal to this person are whatever he perceives as a mark of power. What does your company or organization use as a sign of power? Is there a pin or trophy? A car or some jewelry? Can you include him in a prestigious group? Give him a chance to run things, more responsibility. Publish a profile of him in your newsletter, engrave his name on the producer-of-the-month plaque, praise him in front of others, give him a certificate of merit.

Aesthetic value. This person really loves to help make things more beautiful, whether it's redecorating a lobby or redesigning a newsletter. Give her an opportunity to show off her sense of balance and beauty. As a reward, how about a trip to an art exhibit, a new filing system, membership in an art society, a painting or sculpture, designer services for her home office, a class in art or architecture, or custom designed jewelry?

Commitment value. Give him input on creating systems, give him a way to show his commitment to the organization through extra effort, delegate things to him and rely on him more. How much you rely on him, of course, depends on his level of mastery. But give him a chance to be more significant to the organization or the people within it. Build on the fact that he loves to work for a great cause or serve on a campaign of some sort.

Knowledge value. Buy her books. She loves to learn, so give her a chance with a library card, seminar enrollment, access to a mentor, personal training, a coach, learning software, participation in a discussion group, some education she wants to get. It will appeal to her primary value and draw her more strongly in the direction you would like her to go.

You could conceivably spend the exact same amount of money on each of the seven different people but provide a different reward for each one of them.

You might say, "I'd like most all of the gifts and privileges listed above, and so would many others I know. What is so special about giving according to values?"

Here is what makes it special: Everyone enjoys good things, but the things that are aligned with our values we not only enjoy, we cherish! The quickest way to someone's heart is through his or her values. With an ear to noticing someone's values, new ways to tailor your gifts, motivation, incentives, and rewards will become obvious to you. You'll see not only how to increase the appeal but also add impact to your leadership. People will be more likely to follow your lead because your lead follows their values. This applies to everyone.

To understand somebody and know how to use this value equation to relate to him or her, all you really need to notice is his or her top few values. If you know the top two or three, you've got enough to understand how you can appeal to him or her with whatever idea you are presenting.

What we care about most drives our interest and our criteria for decisions. Your highest values cause you to focus on certain aspects of a situation and overlook others until you've handled whatever it is you're concerned about on your top values. Only then can you effectively focus on the other parts of it. The better we understand what's important to others, the more we can attune our own preferences and information to their top values, and we'll be working in alignment with them-- from the start.

JIM CATHCART is founder and CEO of Cathcart Institute, of La Jolla, CA. As a business consultant, psychological researcher and personal development trainer for over 20 years, he is the author of 12 books and has been a featured speaker at over 2,000 conventions. He is past president of the National Speakers Association and recipient of their highest awards including the Cavett Award and the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame award. Mr. Cathcart is also co-owner of the Professional Speaking Institute and a board member for In Contact Systems, the creators of Mentor (Online) University. You can reach the Cathcart Institute by calling 800-222-4883, or visit on the web.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Values-Based Networking - September 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,


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