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.
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.
- They want to make a statement (not common, but it does happen).
- They genuinely don’t find their job fulfilling at a deep (soul, if you like) level, but they’re generally okay.
- 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.”