Tag: 4 drive theory

Employee Engagement and the 4-Drive Model

Much of the work that I’ve done in the past has been on how the 4-Drive Model impacts employee motivation.  The research that we did as well as the work that we implemented, focused mostly on large scale initiatives / programs that helped to satisfy these different drives (sales incentives, contests, recognition programs, award trips, performance management systems, etc..).  Recently, I’ve been asked to develop some workshops, using the 4-Drive Model as the foundation, but that focus on helping managers better engage their employees – at a local level.

Putting these workshops together has been fascinating because it takes the 4-Drive Model to a much more specific place.  Working one-on-one with an employee to help them feel more engaged at work.  Even after 6 years of working with this model, I’ve identified a few new key pieces.

1. We all know that different people have different motivational profiles – but we’ve found that individuals motivational profiles can change very quickly (unlike someone’s personality profile – which changes little over time).  Motivation, we found, is very context dependent.  This is an important aspect when thinking about engagement.

2. Team environments within a larger organization are more important than any large scale initiative.  Again, this is not ground breaking, but it does go to how team cultures are created or destroyed.  One key piece that I’ve recognized, is that one bad-apple, can have an overly large negative effect on overall engagement of the team.  In the past, I would have suggested working with that person to help develop them and coach them to improve – now I recommend that managers get rid of them as quickly as possible once they are recognized.  It sounds harsh, but those individuals can poison the entire team to a point that makes it very hard to recover.

3. Most managers are too busy to focus on engagement.  They have a hard enough time getting all of the work done that they are tasked to do – much less spend time thinking about how they can or should engage their employees.  They often are so busy that they don’t stop to look around at what their employees are doing or saying.  It is important to help them focus a portion of their energy on understanding what makes their team tick.

4. Most managers have not developed the skills and knowledge needed to effectively engage their employees.  Some managers are naturally talented in this, like the sports phenom who at 18 possesses all skills necessary to be at the professional level.  Most managers are on the JV team (if they even make the team).  They need the coaching and time to develop their skills.  Engagement is not hard, it just takes time and effort.  

5. Probably the number one issue that managers have is that they don’t know what to focus on to increase engagement.  Is it purely recognition, is it collaboration, is it tying to the larger purpose, is it compensation?  This is where the 4-Drive Model really helps and can provide some guidance for managers and a way to understand their team.

Let me know your thoughts on this and any examples you’ve seen of good or poor management with regards to engagement.

Thank you!

How We Are Developing a Reward and Recognition System using the 4-Drive Model

I’m consulting with a 12 Billion dollar sales division of a Fortune 500 company regarding the future of their reward and recognition system.  Without going into much detail, they are trying to take a strategic approach to how they can improve the effectiveness of their reward programs.  As part of this process, we are using the 4-Drive Theory as a model to help guide how we build this system.

As one can imagine, the organization’s current reward and recognition programs rely heavily on the Drive to Acquire & Achieve.  By far, this was the predominant focus for over 90% of the components.  Additionally, our research showed that the current system has a number of legacy programs and other recognition items that are no longer strategically aligned with the organizational mission.

There are a number of ways that a reward system can be developed.  We aligned on developing a system that would tap into all four of the drives and focus on motivating actions on three specific sales behaviors.  With this in mind, we wanted to create a framework that would leverage various reward and recognition components.  That framework is shown below:

Reward and Recognition components

Within each of these four components could be a number of different programs that would be focused on driving one or more of the desired behaviors.  We also identified that while any of the components could activate any of the four motivational drives, that particular drives would be more readily activated by programs within specific components.  We’ve mapped this below:

R&R and the 4-Drives

So while both the incentive compensation and the non-cash components easily activated the drives to acquire and challenge, group trips and other recognition were more likely to tap into the drives to bond and defend.   This provided us with a framework to think about how we could leverage all four drives with various reward and recognition programs.

While this is a high level perspective, it does provide a company with way to think strategically about their reward and recognition system that aligns it with the 4-Drive Model.  We were able to map out specific programs within this framework that provided both a means for effectively driving behavior as well as leveraging all four drives.

To our knowledge, this framework has not been used previously within a large company.  We are very excited about how this is being applied and the impact that it will have.
Please let us know if you have any questions or thoughts by leaving a comment below.   Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-Drive Summary

4-Drives I found this summary of Lawrence and Nohria’s “Drive” and thought that it was a nice summation of the book.   Josh Kaufmann does a nice job of laying out the key insights to the theory and some good ideas on how to apply the theory into the real business world.  I really like the final comment by Kaufmann regarding adding a drive around “feel.”  It is an interesting concept that I’m going to explore in more detail.

Click through to link to read more…

http://personalmba.com/driven/

Let me know what you think – leave a comment!

Remember – you can always follow me on Twitter @WhatMotivates

Behavior is what matters

For all my passion and research into motivation I have to respectfully admit that motivation by itself is shit. By itself, motivation doesn’t do anything. The most motivated people in the world sometimes still just sit on their butts.

What is needed is behavior.

It doesn’t matter if motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. It doesn’t matter if my motivation applies to the A Drive or the D Drive (or the B or C Drive for that matter). If I don’t start or stop doing something (i.e., behavior) then the amount of motivation I have is a moot point.

Motivation is important in that it leads to behaviors. Motivation is one of the key elements in achieving behavior change (starting or stopping something). But it is only one part. The guys from Vital Smarts, Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzer came out with a book called “Change Anything” not too long ago. It sheds light on this problem. While it mostly talks about individual change, but their insights can be applied to all motivation. They state that when we fail to change, “…when it comes to personal change, we think first of our own lack of motivation.” The problem with this belief is that there are a number of other factors that influence whether or not we actually change.

Change is hard. That is why motivation is important. It is the gas that powers the change engine. We need it to push through the difficult times and persist with our change effort. Again, Patterson et. al., talk about the other influences on whether or not we change – there are social factors and environmental factors. We can be motivated to loose weight all we want, but if we hang out with people who are always going out and eating big meals and just watching T.V. and if we have a packet of Oreos in the cupboard and no carrots in the fridge – it is much harder (and some might say – even impossible) to change.

When we are designing motivational programs for our employees, we need to understand that no matter how good our incentive program is or how well we activate the 4-Drives – our employees will be hard pressed to change if the social and environmental aspects are stacked up against them. If we want greater collaboration and teamwork, not only do we need to design the compensation plan so that it supports that, but we might have to look at how we configure our work space and what activities we allow while at work. If we want to get people out in front of customers more, we need to explore what are the routines that we have our employees do that inhibit this or what are the social/cultural pressures that might get in the way of this behavior.

So it boils down to understanding that while motivation is important, it cannot be the only thing that we focus on. We need to broaden our perspective to understand how motivation fits into the larger behavior picture.

And so while you might be motivated to agree or disagree with me – I’ll only know if you leave a comment (and thus, do a behavior). Click on “leave a comment” below.

Thanks.!

New Research on The Four Drive Theory of Employee Motivation

Rising arrow 2011Our knowledge of the Four-Drive Model of Employee Motivation is constantly being expanded as researchers study it and organizations work with it.  This is exciting because it allows us to use this theory more effectively to drive performance and increase employees motivation.

Recently I have been in contact with Kristen Swadley, a student at Missouri Southern State University.  Ms. Swadley has added to our understanding of Four-Drive Model by conducting research to see if demographic differences such as age, gender, marital status, tenure, income,  job role, or education level impact any of the four drives.  Analyzing data from 315 surveys, Ms. Swadley found some interesting findings that point to both the robustness of the Four-Drive Model as well as how specific demographics correlate to some of the drives.

The following information is from the thesis she completed around this study:

Regarding gender the analysis showed that there was no difference between males and females in their tendency towards a particular drive.  Thus the four-drive model does not have a gender bias.

However, there was a relationship between the age of respondents and the drive to defend – older participants (over age 41) showed a higher correlation with the drive than the younger age (under 25).

The drive to defend was also found to be higher in married and divorced participants compared to those who listed their status as single.

Tenure showed a correlation only with the drive to bond where unemployed individuals rated that drive significantly less than those who were employed (specifically, those employed for 0-3 years and over 12 years – which is an interesting fact in itself).

Income levels showed a correlation between both the drive to bond and the drive to comprehend.  Those individuals who earned under $19,999 placed a significantly lower value on both these drives than those in the higher earning brackets.

There was a difference in the drive to comprehend between various work roles.  Specifically, there was a difference in how both middle management and trained and professionals viewed that drive compared to skilled labor  (with middle management and trained professionals placing a much higher significance on it).

Unsurprisingly, educational level also showed a correlation with the drive to comprehend, with those participants who had achieved a graduate degree valuing this drive much more than those with just a high-school degree or some college.

This information helps us as leaders start to understand how we can better use the levers we have to motivate our employees.  Ms. Swadley puts it best when she says, “While it is true by the tenets of the Four Drive Theory that all humans are motivated in some way by the four basic drives, it is important to take into account that all employees are motivated by the four drives at differing levels. A manager with the intention of implementing the Four Drive Theory in the workplace should have employees tested to find out which of the drives are most important to the individual on down to which of the drives provides the least amount of motivation.”

We hope to have Ms. Swadley right a guest post in the upcoming weeks to explore a little deeper what her findings mean for managers and leaders – until then, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment.  Thanks!

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!

Finding Motivation – the 4-Drive Model of Employee Motivation

New slideshare.net presentation…hope you enjoy!

What really motivates employees?

Harvard Business Review discusses a study that looked at what really drives employee motivation. While the study is really looking at emotions and what satisfies employees and makes them happy (and not really “motivation” per se), it does reveal some interesting findings. The most important is that employees having a sense of progress is a key driver in this aspect.

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Of course this ties right into two of the four drives: Acquire & Achieve and Challenge & Comprehend. As employees, we need to feel like we are Achieving something – i.e., making progress. When we feel we are stuck or not moving forward, we are not satisfying our drive to Achieve.  We also are motivated to be challenged – but we need to see progress in this arena in order to stay motivated by it.

While the study shed light on how progress motivates, it did not dig in deep to how this works.  For instance the HBR study did not explore what type of progress was greater motivator — progress on everyday simple tasks or those tasks that are challenging.  I would theorize that progress on the challenging goals has a higher impact.   Nor did it look at the effect of proximity to the end goal.  In other words, is it more motivating to achieve progress towards a goal at the very beginning or closer to the end (e.g., example of getting the first 1,000 miles towards your frequent flyer free trip or getting the 24,000 mile (when you need 25,000 to earn the free trip))?

Overall the HBR article brought up some key insights that will help us all in understanding what motivates us. Read the HBR article here

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