I imagine many of you joined the billion people who watched the Olympics. Some of you may have been lucky enough to join the crowds at the live events. Even though my mother was a proficient hockey player and gym teacher, I am no sportsman and have virtually no interest in sports. That said, I did watch the opening ceremonies and a number of contests from the comfort of my armchair. As I watched, I could not help but notice the outpouring of national pride from the medal-dominant United States to Kazakhstan, one of the world’s least populated countries with 15 million people and yet seven gold medals! My own Caribbean neighbor, Grenada’s Kirani James, took the island’s first medal ever, a gold, and the prime minister promptly declared a public holiday to celebrate. National anthems played like soundtracks to tears of joy and flags flashed colors and symbols of history that filled armchair-spectators around the world with pride.
“Our emotions are powerful motivators to support someone, or something, and in fostering behavior change.”
Think back to one of the events that moved you. Was it Michael Phelps’s record-breaking gold? What did you feel? I know when I watched my side winning, I felt an ache in my stomach (and it was not the Indian food I had just eaten). The feeling was less of a rational thought and more of an emotional tug: the power of pride.
Every Pride campaign strives to capture that feeling in the communities in which we work. A belief of having something special even against the odds is powerful. Little St. Lucia has a bird that no other country has; the 18-inch red knot flies 9,000 miles to winter on a Delaware beach.
As my dear friend and former trustee Dan Heath eloquently points out in his book “Switch” the decisions we make and the drivers of behavior change are not always rational; more often our emotions drive us. Jon Katzenbach, the author of “Why Pride Matters More Than Money,” notes employees who exhibit pride in their work prove more successful than those motivated by cash incentives. Our emotions are powerful motivators to support someone, or something, and in fostering behavior change.
As Rare’s programs evolve and deepen in complexity, they will always retain the foundation upon which they were built: pride of place. The power of pride supports upland farmers signing reciprocal water agreements or fisher’s adopting TURF-reserves (territorial user rights in fisheries). Pride also motivates the wider communities to create an enabling and supportive environment for resource–user behavior change, just as Olympic spectators encourage athletes to unimaginable success. Certainly, Kirani James knew that the entire island population of 105,000 was watching him run to victory. If pride of place motivates the audiences our campaigns strive to influence, it is pride in Rare that continues to motivate me.