35% motivated or less! Take action.

April 16, 2016

Q&As for our Accredited Motivational Map Practitioners

by Susannah Brade-Waring, MD and Business Growth Coach & Facilitator at Aspirin Business Solutions

Map Action Zone

Q:  How do I provide feedback to someone with a very low Motivation Score, and how do I manage that within a Team Debrief?

A: Firstly – take heart.  Each time we’ve encountered this (which is about 2% of the time), the individual has confirmed the score accurately reflects their feelings.  So it’s not a surprise to them.  However, it can be a surprise to their manager, “If you’d asked us beforehand, we’d have said she was highly motivated.  She’s so bubbly and chatty.”


Let’s close out the Team De-brief first

We choose not to disclose personal Motivation details during team de-briefs.  We NEVER reveal an individual’s score, although they may choose to do so.  We only reveal an individual’s motivators (and de-motivators) with their permission.

So – what do we reveal?  The most common objective of a Team Motivational Maps Workshop is team-building, i.e. to increase the trust and understanding between team members.  Therefore, we:

  • reveal the motivators and de-motivators of the whole team,
  • (if it’s appropriate) their Motivation Score, and
  • their Change Index score (i.e. how change friendly or averse they are).

Then we discuss with the team how they can improve their own motivation, support each others’ motivation and how the motivators help and hinder achievement of their Team Objectives.

Keeping the Manager on-board

Sometimes it’s useful to state the obvious, just to reinforce or remind ourselves.  At the end of the day, it’s the manager’s team – so it’s our duty as coaches and trainers to keep the manager informed and on-board.

We always agree the way forward with the manager.  This is particularly important with someone’s whose motivation level is 35% or less (known in Motivational Map terms as ‘the Action Zone’), as it’s less easy to predict outcomes.

Finally, providing feedback to the individual

In our experience there are 3 typical reasons for a score that’s in the Action Zone, i.e. someone whose energy battery is only one-third full.

  1. They want to make a statement (not common, but it does happen).
  2. They genuinely don’t find their job fulfilling at a deep (soul, if you like) level, but they’re generally okay.
  3. They have significant challenges in their whole lives (including their personal lives) and, possibly, some level of depression.

In all 3 cases, the individual knows they’re not particularly happy.  As with all coaching, we know the answer lies within the individual, so we ask.  We ask if they’re surprised.  We ask what it means, or what’s happening?  And they tell us.

Our absolute Golden Rule, especially with Motivational Maps, is to be very respectful of the insight we’re privileged to have.  There are no rights or wrongs with the Motivational Maps (just one of the reasons we love them).  They are an accurate reflection of how the person is feeling, and we can help them to work WITH their motivators.  So, given the respect we show, the individuals open up and share what’s going on.  Now depending on how much they share and how quickly, will give you a rough indication of whether their reason is 1, 2 or 3.

  • Reason 1s will usually tell you straight away as they’re either looking for action, or they’re in the process of taking it.
  • Reason 2s will often offer to explain, and
  • Reason 3s will often talk around the subject, at least initially.

Then we rely on our skill and experience as coaches.

A few key points:

  1. The lowest possible Motivation Score on Motivational Maps is 10%.  So 35% or less, is very significant.
  2. People with this level of motivation have ‘allowed’ their motivation to get this low, indicating they don’t have the energy, the motivation or the strategies to know how to improve this.
  3. In our experience, Reason 2 and 3 individuals tend to stay with their current organisation.  It may be because they’re comfortable in their current roles, they like the organisation or have friends, or sometimes it’s because they don’t feel the need to be motivated at work – “It’s a job”, “I’m doing okay”, “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t need to be.”
  4. Small changes – tweaks in job roles, extra support etc… don’t improve motivation at this level.  As one individual told her manager, “It’s not your job to motivate me.”  This came as a surprise, but a relief to him, as he really wanted to help.  She was basically saying, “There’s a bigger challenge here, and it’s mine to deal with.”  Helping these individuals to find their own solution, e.g. believing they can, is often the only way their motivation scores will improve.  Hence the requirement for highly-skilled coaching.

SIGNIFICANTLY, these individuals can be productive – hence why their managers are often surprised.  They can be delivering on their role and loved by their customers.  It’s just unlikely to last (because they can’t sustain the energy requirement), they’re more likely to have extended time off (because of their low energy and therefore resilience) AND they have so much more potential – if only they had more motivation.

For more information, or to talk through specific Motivational Maps in confidence, please get in touch.

Creating Strong Bonds through Employee Engagement

April 12, 2016

Employee Engagement

If you’ve been in business in the past 15 years then the phrase ‘employee engagement’ has been as ubiquitous as the phrase ‘X- Factor’. Over the years there have been strategies, consultations, symposiums, innovations and exhortations as to the importance and implementation of ‘employee engagement’.

However, over the years, the top drivers of employee engagement have remained constant, and common across most of the globe. This has been recently reinforced through an excellent survey from Quantum Workplace in the US.

Even though it’s been around for what seems like forever, the concept of employee engagement remains critical to business success.  So just how seriously do you & your organisation take it? Maybe the following statistics & findings from Quantum’s survey will provide either a confirmation of your people strategy or a stimulus to do more…

The Top 6 Drivers of Employee Engagement

The staff of the organisation trust & believe …

  1.  that the leaders of the organisation are committed to making it a great place to work.
  2. the leaders of the organisation to set the right course.
  3. the organisation will be successful in the future.
  4. that the leaders of the organisation value people as their most important resource.
  5. that there is professional growth and career development opportunities for themselves in the organisation.
  6. the senior leadership team to lead the company to future success.

The challenge for us as leaders is how we deliver on those six key drivers consistently, authentically and in a meaningful way for our people. The following graphs clearly indicate the benefits of doing so, in terms of improvements in retention, sales & profitability.

If you wish to receive a full electronic copy of the survey then contact supportcrew@aspirinbusiness.com

Employee Engagement graphic 1

Employee Engagement graphic 2 - change in profit

Employee Engagement graphic 3 - change in sales

Aspirin Business help “March For Men” to march onward & upward

April 12, 2016

March for Men temp


Royal Bournemouth Hospital Charity’s March for Men event returned to Bournemouth Seafront on 20 March with Aspirin’s Business Coach & Facilitator Paul Kinvig hosting the event for the second year running.

Money raised from the event which, encouraged over 200 men, women and children to walk, run or march 1km, 5km, or 10km walk, along Bournemouth seafront and lower gardens will be used to fund men’s health projects at the hospital including the purchase of a new Olympus image management hub that will benefit men with prostate cancer at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

Paul’s role was to help warm up the crowd & start the event with Fiona Castle, widow of Roy Castle & patron of Royal Bournemouth Hospital Charity. He also interviewed key people and spoke to the participants as they completed the course.

Barry Wilson, Community & Fundraising Officer at RBHC said “We were really pleased to have Paul on board for March for Men. He has become a great addition to our events and as always he created a fun & relaxed atmosphere with great interaction with the participants & spectators”

Paul Kinvig commented “As men we’re notoriously reticent about discussing health issues. This event not only raised awareness about prostate cancer but also vital funds in the fight against this vicious disease. It was a privilege to host the event – talking to the entrants (many of whom have fought & beaten cancer) was both humbling & uplifting.

Aspirin take an active part in supporting the community in which they serve, including work with other charities & organisations within the Dorset area such as Lewis Manning Hospice, Diverse Abilities and Broadstone FC.

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Releasing potential: I’m not ready to hang up the gloves

November 12, 2015

Susannah Brade-Waring, Managing Director and Coach at Aspirin Business Solutions


Floyd Mayweather has hung up his gloves, saying “I’ve been in this sport 19 years, been a world champion 18 years, broke all the records. There’s nothing else to prove in the sport of boxing”

To retire as a world champion, aged just 38, having never lost any of our fights, is a goal many of us would be satisfied with … and yet, it reminds me of a conversation with a friend, who’s recently retired.  He heartily recommended retirement to me.  I heard myself say “I’m not ready for retirement yet, my best is yet to come.”

I have a very strong sense that my life is still building.  My passion, focus and certainty are getting even stronger with time.  Part of this certainty, I’m sure, is the quality of the people who are coming forward to work with us.  Their passion, talent and belief fuel my own.

Our journey to success is very different to Mayweather’s.  He was born into a family of boxers and taught to box before he could walk.  Beyond the gruelling training were a series of ascending battles.  Each with clearly define ways to win and a declared winner.  Fuelled by frenzied media and pay-to-watch matches, his route to success followed a well-trodden, if intensely tough, path.

By contrast, our own route has felt at times more like fumbling around in the dark.  It’s not been helped by my own desire to reject the well-trodden paths.  I suppose I wanted to be in no doubt that I’d earned my own stripes, that I’d followed my own values and not played another’s game by another’s rules.  There’s something wonderful freeing and invigorating in knowing you’ve created your own success in your own way.

Instead of a ladder to success, my own has felt more like a diminishing spiral – of circling closer and closer to the truth.  That’s why my best is yet to come.  I feel it building and, unlike Mayweather, I’m still excited.

I love, with a passion, the difference we make for our clients.  On a monthly basis that may be seen through increased sales and profits.  But our passion is inspired by the day to day, sometime mere glimmers of transformation, that we see, hear or feel in our clients.

Sometimes it’s in the physical presence and engagement with our work of someone who was previously too busy and sceptical.  Sometimes it’s hearing of team members who, seemingly out of the blue, ask if they can research a new and potentially lucrative market.  (Both stories shared by our clients this month.)  For it’s the day to day, mere glimmers that build to create these increases in sales and profits.  It’s the butterfly effect, the turn of the tide that create ongoing success.

Yes, it’s about the great sales person or manager who spots an opportunity and races off heroically to ‘bring home the bacon’.  Of course, it’s about a strong and focussed Senior Team who’ve agreed which strategies will grow the business.  But – for every reaction there’s an equal and opposite reaction.  It might be the reaction of a competitor for having a high profile deal snatched from under their noses, who decide to squeeze you out of the market or steal your sales person; like an arms race.

Yet the gentle flutter of a butterfly’s wings goes unnoticed until it build to a point where the competition are taken unawares and left behind.

For many including us, the sustainable joy in a career comes not from these quick heady, but soon forgotten, individual successes but in knowing you’re part of creating a winning AND happy team.  It’s in the joy of nurturing the spark of potential in your team into flames.  It’s in being proud of how you’ve spent your time here on this planet.

The best is yet to come.  I’m sure of it. I’m doing it right now in writing this.  There is plenty of potential left to be released.

If, like me, your best is yet to come, would that be worth a conversation?


Celebrating our clients’ success – Janine Pattison Studios

October 22, 2015

We are delighted to share with you our client’s wonderful news.  We have been working with JPS for 5 years, most recently on our FASTER Growth Programme which involved co-creation of their 3 year business strategy and implementation plans.

JPS Homegrown Talent

Sideways Thinking 2 – Intrapreneurs

October 6, 2015

Paul Kinvig, Coach and Facilitator at Aspirin Business Solutions

LightbulbsMany years ago, a senior figure in a company I was working for said in a presentation, “The best way to get a good idea is to get lots of ideas!”. He had a reputation within the organisation of always doing things differently and encouraged others to do the same. His ability was always to see across boundaries and almost as importantly, to inspire others to do the same – he really was comfortable “colouring outside the lines” and thus brought fresh thinking and ideas to what we did!

Part of “sideways thinking” is about discovering & nurturing these individuals within our organisations to deliver tangible outcomes. In recent times the title “intrapreneur” has been used to describe such people – Gifford Pinchot in 1984 defined them as “Dreamers who do – those who take hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind WITHIN a business”. The key in that quotation is the connection between “dreaming” & “doing” – that mix of seeing beyond the now and then bringing it into being.

Let’s be honest, by their very nature, these people are not easily managed and if we wanted an easy life then we probably wouldn’t either hire or encourage them. They tend to exhibit traits that create waves – recognise any of these?

  • They ask awkward questions – often starting with “why do we do this….?” or “why can’t we do this….?”
  • They often ask for forgiveness rather than permission
  • They work across departmental boundaries as a matter of course
  • They see change as something to be embraced and encouraged
  • Often they are no respectors of the chain of command.

So why on earth should we actively seek out and encourage these people to join or remain within our businesses? Well here are some things they “see”……

  • They “see” things about our company and the sector we operate in, that we (and possibly our competitors) do not!
  • They “see” things that our customers will want but as yet don’t even know they do!
  • They “see” collaborations with competitors that benefit both parties and are not afraid to pursue them
  • They “see” desired results and then come backwards to change the process, rather than be shackled by “how things are done”

It’s often said that if you want to see the next big leaps in science fact then look at science fiction 30-40 years ago. Don’t believe me? Go back and look at the original Star Trek communicators and then go look at the Nokia Flip Phone! Remember the definition “Dreamers that do……” – so intrapreneurs can give us both competitive edge AND increased profitability if we are brave enough to “let them loose.”

Who are the intrapreneurs in your business? Have you got any? How are you nurturing them? Do you and your leadership team have the culture, tools & skills to deal with them?

Here at Aspirin Business Solutions we help our clients foster a culture of intrapreneurship through assessing strategies, breakthroughs, innovation processes & understanding the motivations of the team. Worth us having a conversation about your business?

Sideways Thinking 1 – Colour Outside the Lines

October 2, 2015

Paul Kinvig, Coach and Facilitator at Aspirin Business Solutions

 Sideways Thinking 1


In a recent list of the 10 traits of creative people, number 3 was “They colour outside the lines!” In effect, what that means is they are not constrained by boundaries and are ready to explore what lies beyond the established norms.

When Steve Jobs talked about creativity in Apple, he said it was less about original thought and more about “connecting the dots of experience from a whole range of sources.” He also went on to postulate that the more “dots” people had to connect, the better their chances of producing a more significant solution.

Sideways Thinking is a powerful tool to enhance business growth, create a game changing shift or just improve a process. It challenges individuals & companies to look outside their sector and ask “What can we learn/adopt or adapt from other sectors?” It breaks the lines of established paradigms and encourages us to forget WHAT these different organisations do and focus on the principles of HOW they do it!

For example, what are the learning possibilities from the hospitality sector that could be picked up by the care sector?  Also, what can be learned from the experience of the private sector in delivering projects to public sector for the burgeoning third sector group?

So here are five key things to help you develop Sideways Thinking:

  1. Clearly identify the shift you want to create or the issue you want to resolve within the organisation.
  2. Identify someone who has both the courage AND the desire to “colour outside the lines” and let them loose!
  3. Identify opportunities to engage with successful businesses outside your sector – then network for information & business connections NOT sales.
  4. Focus on the principles rather than the processes – how they do it not what they do!
  5. Identify & challenge the paradigms as a result of the learning – remember it was less than 10 years ago that a certain computer company decided to go into phones!!!

One of the things we do at Aspirin Business Solutions is encourage & facilitate “Sideways Thinking” through connecting our diverse client base, focused seminars & training on specific tools to develop the process. Worth us having a conversation about your business?