The Ethics of What’s In It For Me


Before we move onto discussing the ethics of What’s In It For Me (WIIFM,) take a look at the last paragraph from my last blog post on what WIIFM is and why it’s so important.

WIIFM – Answer this question!! The acronym WIIFM stands for “what’s in it for me?” Decisions are made based on the specific answers to that question. Human logic and reasoning are in no small part based on WIIFM Have a GREAT Value Proposition and deliver on that value promise. My upcoming book, “What’s In It For Me? The Driving Force Behind Making Decisions & Better Leadership” discusses WIIFM in greater detail. Keep an eye out for information on how to get the book once it’s published (Spring 2016.)

Human beings are seriously complicated. We do things that make us feel better, look better, be better. We help others, we volunteer serving food to the poor and homeless, we donate to charities, and we drop a few bucks into the Salvation Army kettles at Christmastime.

One might think, “well, I’m just selfish if everything I do, every decision I make, and every action I take is to benefit me.” DON’T FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Look, humans as a species have been doing what’s best for them for many millions of years – it’s called, “Survival of the Fittest.” Perhaps you’ve heard of the concept? WIIFM is not about selfishness. It is about VALUE: finding it, proving it, living by it, loving it, and using it.

Because the WIIFM question has to be adequately answered before your brain will allow you to make a decision does not, in and of itself, make a person selfish. It makes you human. In a world that needs higher ethical standards, I’d say that acting like a human being is a good start.

If you’re still not buying any of this and if by chance you’re still reading this, look at it another way. Let’s say you volunteer at a soup kitchen once a month to serve meals to the poor. The reason you do it could be anything from the act of helping others makes you feel better or more hopeful for the world to you were once in an unfortunate position yourself and this is your way of giving back. No go back and read that last sentence again. The word “you” and its derivatives appear exactly 5 times in a rather short sentence. Yes, you are helping others. But you’re doing it to make yourself feel good in addition to rendering service to the other people. You donate to charity out of a sense of obligation to “do something.” Sound familiar? Each time you give a donation, no matter the size, a chemical reaction in your brain allows for the release of dopamine – that’s the “feel-good” stuff. It happens unconsciously – you cannot control it. But it only happens when your brain is the recipient of something good happening to ITSELF.

There is no need to be ashamed to recognize and acknowledge the possibility that the good deeds you perform provide direct and tangible assistance to others while at the same time make you feel pretty darn good about yourself in the process. THAT’S humanity! And it’s a beautiful thing. It is not something to be skittish about.

For all of its simplicity, WIIFM is an incredibly complex concept, isn’t it?


What are your thoughts about WIIFM? Share them by commenting. Let’s get a discussion going!


Is your organization’s leadership ready to get ABSURDLY great? Click here for more information about ABSURD! – A Leadership Thought-System. Complete the information form and you’ll receive a FREE preview of the book I mentioned above. I’ll send you the first 3 chapters!! No obligation!


About Your Full Potential, LLC

I am the President of Your Full Potential, LLC and the Founder of ABSURD! Leadership. I am a professional speaker and have addressed thousands of people throughout the United States and internationally on the topics of leadership, sales, service, business development, marketing, and strategy.
This entry was posted in Accountability, Building Relationships, Business Process Improvement, Coaching, Collaboration, Conflict, Credit Unions, Experiences, Gen X, Gen Y, Global Network, Human Resources, Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership, Leadership Development, Management, Millennial, Motivation, Networking, Performance, Productivity, Professional Development, Uncategorized, WIFM, WIIFM. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Ethics of What’s In It For Me

  1. Pingback: 3 Ways To Improve Service | Your Full Potential

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s