April 2011 – Behavior Matters!

Month: April 2011 Page 1 of 2

4 ways great leaders can impact employee motivation using the 4-Drive Model

In order to maximize motivation leaders need to provide an opportunity for employees to satisfy the four drives: Acquire & Achieve, to Bond & Belong, to be Challenged & Comprehend, and to Define & Defend.  Leader’s can begin to influence and start to fulfill each of these drives by using  some of the systems and processes they already have in place.  Alterations and enhancements to those systems and processes can help the organization be one in which employees can satisfy their drives and become highly motivated!

We attempt to map the connection between each of the four drives and the different organizational systems/processes that impact them.

 Drive A: Achieve & Acquire

This drive is primarily satisfied through a company’s Reward System. This drive is met when companies have a total reward system that: highly differentiates top performers from average performers and average performers from poor performers; clearly ties rewards to performance; recognition is given for outstanding performance; pay is above competitive benchmarks in the city/industry; and top employees are promoted from within.

 Drive B: Bond & Belong

This drive is mostly met through an Organizations Culture. Organizations who’s culture is one that: embraces teamwork; encourages the development of friendships and bonding; one in which employees can depend on their peers to help them; a culture that values collaboration; a culture that celebrates and shares; and a culture that is focused on the “employee first” are crucial to this drive being met.

 Drive C: Challenge & Comprehend

This drive is fulfilled primarily through Job and Organizational Structure.  Organizations need to ensure that the various job roles within the company provide employees with stimulation that challenges them or allows them to grow.  Job roles that satisfy this drive should: be seen as important in the organization; jobs should provide personal meaning and fulfillment; roles should engender a feeling of contribution to the organization; organizational structures that provide growth opportunities within the company; learning offerings (training, seminars, etc) that provide employees with new skills and knowledge,  job sharing/rotational opportunities that can provide new challenges are the key to fulfilling this particular drive.

 Drive D:  Define & Defend

This drive is met mostly through an employee feeling alignment and connection to the organization.  This can be done through a company’s Vision/Reputation and their Performance Management System. Organizations that have a strong vision or positive reputation in the marketplace can help create that alignment with employees.  The company should be perceived to be: fair; providing a valued service or good; ethical; and good stewards.  Organization’ performance management systems can also help through giving insight into the company’s vision.  Performance management system should be one that is: open and transparent; perceived to be fair; provides direction; and that is trusted by employees.

What great leaders need to do:

Rightfully or not, many employees look to the company to provide them their motivation for work.  While many of these motivations are inherently in a company, good leaders know that they have to work at it constantly to ensure that they are satisfying all four drives.

1. Focus on all 4 Drives:

It is important to understand that all the good work that a company or leader does in these four areas can be ruined if one of the four drives is lacking. Research shows that weakness on fulfilling one of the 4-Drives “castes a negative halo” on how the company or leader performs on all the other 3 drives. It is important then for a leader to ensure that they are identifying and addressing any issues that they see in any of the four drive areas.

2. Individualize motivation:

It is also important to know that individual employees each have a unique 4-Drive Motivational profile.  In other words, some employees will respond or require greater satisfaction of the A drive, while others will focus in on the C drive (or B or D).  Each employee will perceive how the company or leader is performing on these differently.  Good leaders are one’s who understand those differences and can focus specific employees on the satisfiers of their specific needs.

3. Communicate effectively:

Leaders need to be able to effectively communicate how their systems, policies and structure align with the four drives.  In other words, they need to be able to explain to map out the connections between what the company is doing or providing and how that would satisfy one or more of the drives.  For instance, a leader could discuss the reason that they are sponsoring a community service event is not only to help the community (drive D) but also to provide an opportunity for employees to get to know each other and their families (drive B) and to give them a chance to learn a new skill (drive C).

4. Experiment:

Good leaders need to constantly look for ways of enhancing each of the four drives.  This is an ongoing commitment that requires leaders to be focused on looking for different ways in which they can provide the opportunities for employees to satisfy their needs.  They should implement new structures and processes and see how they work.

Next steps:

We can help you or your company use the 4-drives to increase motivation.  We offer assessment, consulting and workshops on this.  You can contact us at 612-396-6392 or kurt@lanterngroup.com

Let us know what you think – leave a comment below!

Using the 4-Drive Model to Customize Incentives

The 4-Drive Model of Employee Motivation as we’ve discussed (here and here) provides a very robust theory that when applied, can help companies increase the motivation of their employees.  One of the key tenants of the Four Drive Theory is that each individual is motivated by all four drives (A: Acquire & Achieve, B: Bond & Belong, C: Challenge & Comprehend, and D: Define & Defend) but that each individual’s motivational profile will be different (i.e., one employee might be driven more by drives A & C compared to another employee who is more motivated by B & D or B & C).

The important thing to understand here is that everyone’s motivation is different!

Which can be a problem since most companies don’t customize their incentive plans down to the individual.  Often an organization’s customization comes down to offering a few additional spurts throughout the year.  So unless the company hires only people with a specific motivational profile, some employees will not be as motivated as they could be.

Read More


I enjoyed this…thought you might as well.

From the employee engagement network.

WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.

The motivation of Calvin and Hobbes

Oh the motivation of a Saturday morning when I was a kid…need I say more?

Saturday Morning Motivation

Wouldn’t it be great if we all woke up with this type of enthusiasm everyday!

Motivational T-Shirts – YOU need one today!


RU Motivated?

Ok, here is some fun stuff you can get and impress your friends!

Do you need a t-shirt to keep you or your team smiling and maybe even a little motivated?  How about a coffee mug that gets you going each morning?  Check out these:

You can order these and many more at http://www.cafepress.com/ru_motivated

For every t-shirt bough in the next 10 days, $1.00 will be donated to Japanese Tsunami relief!


You can order these and many more at http://www.cafepress.com/ru_motivated

32 ideas to make life a little better

Over the last few years I’ve used 3×5 index cards to jot down things that I need to do more often.   These were often written in response to a particular need I felt I had or a specific situation.  Some where just thoughts that I had to try to make my life a little better.   It started simple with a note to “Go outside and play with the dog.”  It expanded to 32 ideas that have helped me stay grounded.  Here is what the two cards look like (notice they are stapled together – I should have used a larger index card):

Whats important to me

I have this posted on my bulletin board in front of me everyday.  I don’t always do these…but I often do.  It helps ground me and keep me motivated.  It helps me escape the trap of working all the time.   I hope that it helps keep me balanced.  I thought you might enjoy.

Here are the items in case you can’t read my bad handwriting along with some additional commentary:

1. Go outside and play with the dog

2. Take a five minute stretch break

3. Focus on the BIG stuff

4. Drink tea

5. Write thank you’s

6. Call old friends [We never seem to do this enough]

7. Eliminate the trivial

8. Clean up after yourself [this was in response to my overly messy desk]

9. Appreciate the moment

10. Get involved

11. Surprise someone by doing something nice

12. Take a walk

13. Notice the little things

14. Cook a good meal (at least) once a week [ok, I just added in the “at least” – really, just once a week isn’t nearly enough]

15. Enjoy the mundane

16. Have coffee with acquaintances

17. Escape e-mail

18. Drive out and watch the sunset [I live in the city and it is hard to see a good sunset on the horizon like in my youth in Iowa]

Moving to the second card…

19. Think ahead, not behind [I tend to worry too much about what I should have done and not what I need to do]

20. Make a commitment a week

21. Watch less t.v.

22. Keep a journal

23. Buy flowers

24. Appreciate touch and smell

25.  Take big breathes [I find that it helps to calm one self and refocus energy]

26. Change the negative patterns

27. Move around – change the scene

28. Motivate yourself

29. Embed beauty in your memory

30. Stop-think-act

31. Pay for memories [not things]

32. Write down good stories

33. [Express your gratitude] – I need to add this to the card!

If you have other ideas or comments to add to this list – I would love to hear them.  Add them to the comments section below!

Today I Am Grateful For: Flexibility

I often wonder if I could ever go to work for someone again…here’s why:

Right now I can choose when and how I work. I realized how important this flexibility is to me today…I took the day off to take care of my kids. I didn’t need permission. I didn’t need to take a vacation day. I just scheduled it.

I got to spend the day with my two children. Taking my oldest to music class. Walking along the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis and seeing the Mississippi River roaring over St. Anthony Falls. Going to HolyLand Deli and getting hummus and pita bread. Talking about superhero’s.

All of this because I have flexibility in my current position. For that, I’m grateful.

Shaq and Snowfall

Ok, this is how information should be presented!

Too often we don’t have a reference point for data…really, do you know how tall 80.1 inches really is?  The Boston Globe (see here) created this info graphic to represent the snowfall in 2010/2011.  They did a fantastic job.


Here is why it works:

1.  Shows data relative to something that we know – we can put it in context

2. Graphically simple – yet conveys a lot of information

3. Fun – how can you not chuckle when you see the Shaq-o-meter


Today I Am Grateful For: Not Being an Ass

So I listened to an audio conference between Jon Morrow and Johnny Truant (two successful bloggers) on tips on how to become an influential blogger…

During the conference call they discussed that the number 1 sin of bloggers is to be boring – and in their minds (to some degree) that meant that you needed to be offensive at times. Jon talked about how he loved to get hate mail as it meant that he was touching a nerve…

Now I learned something from this conference call – that might not have been what they were trying to convey…although it was mentioned.

There is a need to be authentic – Johnny Truant stated that (FYI – he uses a stage name which helps him, he states, be authentic and also allows him to be offensive).

The insight that I got was that my authentic self is not to be an Ass. I realized that I wouldn’t want to increase readership by being controversial or mean or disrespectful…that is not who I am.

Now does that mean I have to be boring…I hope not, but it might. Does that mean that I won’t say something that someone will disagree with me on…no, I will state what I believe, but I’ll say it in a polite way (most of the time).

And I realized that I’m ok with all of that. I don’t have to have the largest readership out there. The people who read this blog should be here because what I say is interesting and helpful – not just because I can be controversial.

How come I feel old?


Gray, bald and old

I always think of myself as being young.  Might be because I was the youngest of five children.  Might be because I had my kids late, so I have little children in the house right now.  Might be because I just act that way most of the time.  Regardless, I usually think of myself as young (or at least young at heart and mind and attitude).


But then you meet a really young person.

Not a child or kid, but a young person who is entering the workforce for the first time. Suddenly, it can make you feel kind of old.

You are amazed at how different they are from you.  Different style of work.  Different focus.  Different on a lot of things.

Or at least I was.

Which at first was a little disheartening.  I can still remember being 24 and coming into my first “real” job and wondering what all these old folks were doing.  Back then we had one computer to share between five people (yes, hard to believe but that was how it was) and I was by far the most computer literate of any of my team (full disclosure – this meant that I knew how to work a spreadsheet and not just Word Perfect).   I remember how different I felt from them.

Now I was wondering what I looked like to these youngsters.

Did my lack of internet skills make them smirk (kind of like I used to do at the “old” folk).   Do they think my ways are antiquated – “just pick up the phone and call me about your multipart question – it will go much faster.”   Do they wonder where all my hair went?

But then I started thinking about when I was that young and what I learned from some of those “old” folks.  I remember being taken under wing by them and taught about how incentives work, how to put together a presentation for an executive, how to get up in front of a group and get their attention.  I was mentored by a few great people who not only taught me about business but also about life. These were people who went out of their way to teach and lead.  I am extremely thankful to have had those relationships.

So now maybe it is my turn.

Not that I want to be seen as an “old” person, but maybe I can impart a little bit of wisdom from my years of experience.  Maybe I can mentor and lead.  Teach someone how they can be successful in areas that they don’t even realize they can.

So I’ve reframed my thinking – not “old” but “wise.”

Yes, that sounds much better…

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