The Truth about motivation and Motivational Maps

April 25, 2016

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

I’m usually up for a challenge, and so I particularly enjoyed being challenged by both a Managing Director and a Chairman about the Maps recently.  And good for them!  I’m all for doing your homework first – after all my passion for growing sustainable businesses started when I was a Finance Director.girl-429020_1280

The truth is I knew that I didn’t know what motivated my team AND furthermore, I’m not convinced that I was particularly interested in engaging people in other teams.  After all, I was having too much fun trying out my own ideas to invite others to contribute.

It was too good to last… by which I mean, that strategy worked brilliantly in my own team where we worked closely to deliver results.  However, it limited the impact of the business improvements I was creating when I struggled to engage some key people.  In all honesty, I don’t think anyone else noticed – but I know, and would have loved to have seen just how much we could have increased Net Profit!

Now I’ve been advised not to speak about my own weaknesses – but I’m a bit old school.  I think the best teachers are those who’ve experienced it for themselves, have invested time, effort and money into finding a better way and then want to share that learning.  After all, we have a bit of a moan about politicians who haven’t experienced real life.  And all good leaders know you can’t learn management from a text book – people just aren’t that predictable.  And when I moved from Nottinghamshire to Poole (yes that’s where part of my accent is from), and found Motivational Maps – I immediately joined as a Business Practitioner (the highest level at the time).

And I spent another 2 years testing out the tool before I was trusted the tool to be able to recommend it without reservation.  That was 3½ years ago and a few hundred clients, so that’s why I enjoyed being challenged about the Maps.

I’ve kept you hanging on for long enough, so what is the truth about Motivational Maps?

Question:  Isn’t everyone motivated primarily by money?

Brief answer:  No – money (the Builder motivator) is just one of nine motivators, and rarely makes the top 3 somewhat surprisingly.  Of course people don’t know that, so they’re tempted by money because they think they’re supposed to be motivated by it (it’s more like they’re motivated by feeling valued) – but for most people, once they’ve got enough, it simply stops motivating them.  NB:  Builder is a great motivator for sales people as they’re motivated by winning, targets and commissions.  But there are no rights and wrongs – see ‘same behaviour – different motivator’ below.

Question:  Do the Maps reflect how someone’s feeling on the day, so tomorrow’s results could be completely different?

Brief answer:  No.  The Maps do reflect significant changes in someone’s life, e.g. a new job, a promotion or change in role, a first child, saving for a bigger house or first car, retirement and the death of a loved one.  We’ve seen all of these, and it’s always a relief for the individual to see how those changes are impacting what’s important to them.  For example – a bigger house, first car or retirement usually create a greater motivation for money (Builder), whilst a first child or death of a loved one usually increases the need for certainty (Defender).

Question:  Wouldn’t doing these frequently be a great way for you to make money?

Brief answer:  No – as it’s not in our interest or the clients.  We recommend repeating the Maps annually at most – unless there’s been a significant change (for the reasons described above).  The whole point of Motivational Maps is to measure and improve motivation – so demotivating people through over-testing and not using the information undermines both their organisation and the Maps.  It’s a matter of integrity.

Question:  Can I use the motivators to manipulate people?

Brief answer:  You can try – but that will only decrease your team’s trust in you, and they’ll work around you or leave.  So what’s the point?  You’ve a golden opportunity here – step up, or step out.

Question:  If someone’s 35% motivated (or even less!), does that mean they’re not performing their job well?

Brief answer:  Surprising no.  We’ve got clients who’ve been astounded to learn that people they perceived to be highly motivated, aren’t.  The individual wasn’t surprised and said they were bored by the job.  Performance, and feedback from clients, for these individuals can be very good – it’s just not sustainable as their ‘batteries’ are nearly empty.

In our experience there are 3 typical reasons for a score that’s in the Action Zone, i.e. 35% or less.

  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).

Question:  My report shows my ‘Creator’ motivator is very low – but how can that be true when I’m really innovative?

Brief answer:  So this is where the motivators get interesting.  You see many of us believe that other people are motivated by the same things as us, particularly if they’re interested in the same things.  That’s not true.  One of our favourite sayings is “same behaviour – different motivators”.  In this case, the individual was correct – evidence proves he’s extremely innovative, but it’s not driven by his Creator motivator.  It’s driven by his top motivators of Searcher (need to make a difference) and Spirit (need to break free and not conform), and with Creator low in his motivators he struggles to come up with a completely novel idea and doesn’t like change being imposed upon him.

Question:  Can we fake the answers?  I’d love to show I’m more customer focussed.

Brief answer:  Somewhat disappointingly (from a personal point of view) – no!  Let me explain that.  I keep trying to be excited about motivators which are low in my profile – in particular Star (public recognition which is great for PR) and Director (which is great for managing teams), but I just want other things more (like making a difference), darn it.  So if someone’s being honest, then it can’t be faked.  And if they’re trying to create a better impression of themselves, it comes out in the feedback – as they won’t be able to explain what the motivators mean to them personally.  I have experienced individuals ‘faking’ their motivation score, but they often go round telling people – so that doesn’t work either, and people in the Optimum Zone (80% or more) exude passion and that’s not easy to sustain if faked.

There’s SO much more I could share with you – like how can we get motivated by something we’re not motivated by, or how do the different motivators interact, or what’s the average motivation score for a team (60% in my experience), and why are leaders more motivated than their teams, will poorly motivated people leave and what are Organisational Maps and Change Index Scores ….  but for now, I’ll sign off with probably the most important lesson I’ve learned:

“Work with someone’s motivation rather than with what motivates you. And not everyone wants to be rescued – sometimes they’re just going for a swim.”

The grass really is greener on the other side!

September 28, 2015

Janine Pattison Studios (JPS) featured at Aspirin Business Solutions’ latest seminar and shared their novel approach to running a business which attracts and retains both high-quality clients and a powerful, cohesive team.

With a unique combination of humour and creativity, Janine, Denise and their team of vibrant garden and landscape designers not only treated guests to popcorn, but also an exclusive behind-the-scenes film-inspired insight into this successful high growth business, which is driven by innovation.

Seminar attendees at the Aspirin Business Studios - garden designed by Janine Pattision Studios

Seminar attendees at the Aspirin Business studio – garden design by Janine Pattision Studios



With a clientele that includes heads of global businesses, premier league footballers and TV celebrities, JPS are renowned for their highly creative and stylish landscapes. Their projects range from cutting-edge contemporary gardens in and around the Sandbanks area (including a rather unique Huf Haus) to country estates in the New Forest.

They attribute their success, in part, to Aspirin Business Solutions who are co-creators of their growth strategy and talent development. In addition to JPS, Aspirin Business Solutions’ clients include owner-managed, often technical, businesses throughout Dorset and nationally they include both John Lewis and Waitrose.

Denise Wright, Managing Director at JPS, says, “Our work with Aspirin over the past five years has all been about consolidating our personal ethos about owning and running a business. A great team brings with it, besides great energy and happiness, a roster of great clients. Sue, Heath and everyone at Aspirin have played a central role in helping us to embed that philosophy into the culture of JPS”.

As well as being a mlakeside-1ulti-award winning practice that attracts high calibre clients, JPS have created a tremendously talented & proactive team.

To achieve this, they’ve developed a refreshing & challenging approach to recruitment, established the JPS Academy for ongoing training and fostered a culture of respect and trust, alongside creativity and professionalism. For instance, team members were given the opportunity to manage the day-to-day business of JPS, which has provided a fantastic opportunity to develop their management skills and experience.

Managing Director of Aspirin Business Solutions, Susannah Brade-Waring, says, “Working with JPS is always a pleasure. They certainly push the boundaries of tried and tested methods of management and, as a result, are achieving profitable high growth with a team that inspired all the attendees at our seminar”


The next Aspirin Business event is a workshop on Motivation and Engagement on 18 November.

Friday September 18, 9-12:30 pm: Presenting with Confidence – Introductory Workshop

July 9, 2015

Secure your place for just £150 inc VAT, using using the ‘Make Payment’ tab on our website.


“If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence you can change lives.”  

Rob Brown

Paul has 11 years of experience in hosting the national awards ceremony for the Newspaper Society of Great Britain.  He’s the host of 3 regional business awards ceremonies, the host of the Dorset Tourism Awards and Dorset Wedding Supplier Awards

Paul has 11 years of experience in hosting the national awards ceremony for the Newspaper Society of Great Britain. He’s the host of 3 regional business awards ceremonies, the host of the Dorset Tourism Awards and Dorset Wedding Supplier Awards

Being able to present with confidence is a required skill for most managers and business leaders.


However, there is a huge difference between being able to speak … and being able to put together effective presentations quickly and deliver them with a high degree of confidence, credibility, trust and flexibility.


Join us for this convenient half-day workshop, where Paul will be sharing his simple and effective techniques to give you a strong grounding in Presenting with Confidence.


Designed for maximum results AND your convenience:

  • We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ – so we’ll start by identifying the reasons why Presentations Skills are an essential component of every effective manager and leader’s toolkit.
  • We’ll then identify the everyday opportunities we have to communicate, influence and build trust, including meetings, networking and the dreaded elevator speech.
  • You’ll leave with 5 ways to start presenting with confidence that you can put into action straightaway.
  • Secure your place quickly and easily using our website.

AND we’ve packed this all into a convenient half-day, so you can be back at work after lunch!


Venue:    St. Leonards Hotel, 185 Ringwood Rd, St. Leonards,

Ringwood, BH24 2NP

Investment:  £150 (including VAT) or 10% discount for members of Dorset Chamber, Business Scene and Lewis Manning’s 100,000 Club, making this investment in yourself just £135 (including VAT).

Secure your place using the ‘Make Payment’ tab on the right hand side of our website.