Motivating your people…

Let’s begin by demystifying motivation in relation to behavioral science.  I know, from 20 years as a development professional, some people find motivation to be fluff without substance. So, think about associating the concept of motivation as ‘drive’ towards any purpose: if your fridge is empty you’ll likely drive to a store to stock up produce or groceries. Everyone has drive towards purpose. And generally speaking we can put intrinsic motivation initially into 3 categories.


  • Chemical or biological – If you’re hungry you’re going to eat.
  • External – Being motivated by reward, recognition or punishment
  • Intrinsic – Self-realiasation, autonomy, mastery, and purpose.


As a leader, the 2 you can focus on are the external and intrinsic, with the latter being the more powerful.  After all, which goals are you passionately driven to achieve: ones someone else decides or tells you to do or the ones you’ve discovered and set yourself.

So now lets dive into better understanding intrinsic motivators. Imagine for a moment if you were to independently ask all individuals in your team an ideal travel destination, chances are you’ll get a variety of answers with possibly no 2 the same.  What you would get though would be patterns: Rome and Venice are different destinations yet they fall under Italy and the broader brochure known as Europe.

A key secret to therefore motivating your team is to learn that intrinsic motivators also still fall under similar ‘brochures’. And, like the continents, 6 categories, based on Workplace Motivators tool:


Knowledge – Love to learn, including new skills and personal development

Utility – Best use of resources, including maximizing ROI, money and time

Social – Driven to help or support others, professionally or philanthropically

Individualistic – Devising and implementing a personal winning strategy

Aesthetic – New experiences and adventures, (including travel!)

Traditional – Living by a set of values and principles


Once you learn to discover the truest, intrinsic motivators of your people you can then tailor or adapt external rewards & recognition (or even general language, positioning or context of any messages) to appeal to their driving ‘why’.

In business, I find a common mistake leaders frequently make is assuming the same motivator for everyone: In sales environments that misnomer frequently being associated with money, or ‘Utility’, as the primary motivation.

The final point with motivation to consider is that, again, like a favorite or preferred travel destinations, primary motivators may change over periods of time so be sure to regularly check in.


Some Key Tips And Further Actions:

External / Extrinsic Motivation:

Adapt any external rewards (incentives and short term bonus) to appeal to an individuals intrinsic motivator.

Be more adaptable and creative with your communications regarding rewards and incentives.

Be a little more inventive with your short term incentive plans.



Consider 3 primary levels of behavioral science , of which motivation is one, work in conjunction.  Here’s an overview:



Is a widely used behavioural assessment tool, measuring four behavioural styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. DISC measures HOW a person behaves. It is one of the most comprehensive and recognized assessments in market today; hence there are a variety of versions based on the same science. It reveals insights into how individuals (and teams or leadership) are likely to respond in certain situations. DISC provides an ability to measure behaviors of the individual. It expands awareness for understanding others, improved communication skills and possible areas for improvement. It highlights the preferred mode of operating for the individual – their HOW.



12 Driving Forces – WPMot – MOTIVATORS is the driver behind the behavior and 12 driving forces unlocks the WHY behind individuals’ actions. Rooted in Eduard Sprangers esteemed research, 12 driving forces reveals how each person is uniquely motivated if life and work. The 12 driving forces are relevant to the 6 archetypal themes for intrinsic motivation. Understand what motivates you (or team members) then take specific actions to align with these. Motivation and drivers can shift over time and at different stages in life. Awareness of motivators and driving forces means you can help tap peoples WHY.



The EQ assessments accurately measure a person’s emotional intelligence, which is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of overall emotional wellbeing to facilitate higher levels of collaboration, harmony and productivity. Emotional intelligence may well be a natural skill in some people, yet it is a skill that can be improved through attention and focus. Emotional Quotient increases an individual’s ability to adapt and DO.



A Tri Metrix report provides a 55 point analysis that uncovers and highlights an individuals behaviours (DISC), motivators and driving forces (WPMot), acumen, as well as an individuals unique competencies. Tri Metrix examines the behaviours the individuals leverage or bring to their roles and life, the motivators/driving forces that drive them, the ability to demonstrate the competencies required for a balanced, emotionally intelligent approach to life and whether they possess the acumen to perform successfully in a role.

We frequently leverage these reports when working with individuals and teams in coaching and peak performance.

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