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.
According to the Four-Drive Model the drives to acquire, bond, comprehend, and defend motivate every human being and should all be addressed in the workplace. However, it is critical for managers and leaders to recognize that employees are motivated by the four drives at differing levels. My recent study, which is discussed in the post “New Research on The Four-Drive Theory of Employee Motivation”, revealed that a person’s demographic background effects which of the drives he or she values the most.
This information could have three potentially significant effects on the way managers implement the Four-Drive Model of motivation.
First, managers can use the results from the study to fine-tune motivation techniques in order to best fit the strongest drives of each employee. Workers should be tested to determine which of the drives is most motivating on down to which provides the least motivation. This will allow managers to not only implement all four drives, but to build custom motivation plans based on what drives the employee the most.
Second, managers can find ways to fulfill each of the drives in order to increase motivation. For example, employees who had sought higher education valued the drive to comprehend more than those who had not obtained a college degree. Managers can make note of employees with higher educational levels and ensure that they are given ample opportunity to express ideas, problem-solve, and engage in challenging and meaningful work. Those with a strong drive to acquire should be given recognition and opportunity for advancement. Employees with a strong drive to bond need opportunities to work in teams and collaborate with coworkers, while those with a strong drive to defend need to see fairness and just processes in the workplace. Research has shown that increasing fulfillment in all four drives leads to much higher motivation in the workplace, but if that is focused specifically to what drives the employee the most without disregarding the other three drives, I believe this would have additional positive impacts on motivation.
Finally, managers should have some way to assess employees in relation to how they perceive that each drive is being fulfilled and they are being given enough opportunities to excel in those areas that most strongly motivate them to go the extra mile. Whether through employee questionnaires or informal meetings, it is a critical step to get feedback from employees so that any necessary changes can be made to further increase motivation in the workplace.
Feel free to comment with any questions or feedback.
Ms. Swadley recently completed her thesis titled: Managing Motivation in the Workplace: A Demographic Dissection of the Four Drive Theory. She is currently at Missouri Southern State University. This article is based on the research that she completed in her thesis.
Every year people make New Years resolutions. For too many people, those resolutions are too soon forgotten and ignored.
Does that have anything to do with motivation?
To a degree – yes! I believe that it is about how we channel our motivation and keep it going.
I believe that most people are highly motivated to achieve their New Years resolutions whether it focus on weight loss or being a better parent. Just as we are motivated to achieve certain goals at work, and yet often fail. The problem is usually not in the initial stages where everyone is excited about the new resolution or goal (go to a gym in the next week or two and see how crowded it is). The problem occurs when that initial excitement wains, and we fall back into the comfortable and routine. We might try to regain that edge after one or two fall-off the wagon episodes, but pretty soon we tend to just ignore it or forget about it all together.
What we need is to have a motivational engine that keeps us going. We need to fill that motivational engine with the right type of gas and make sure that the engine is tuned up and ready to go. We need to make sure that we have enough gas to refill when it starts running low. We need to know when to get it tuned up and change the oil. We need to make sure that we can fix it when it breaks down.
I think all of our motivational engines are within us. It is the scheduled maintenance and filling it up that we so often lag on. What type of gas do you run on? Is it a personal motivation? Does it require a reward? Is it social? Does it need the turbo power of passion? Is it a mixture of all four?
In order to achieve our goals we need to understand this about us and put elements in place to ensure that we fill our tank regularly and do all the scheduled maintenance required.
What about you – what’s your motivational fuel for 2011?
Ok, this is a little bit of a teaser…we are in the process of doing a major overhaul of how we look at the 4-Drive Model. We’ve talked about the need to update this model before (see here and here). We are underway in getting that developed and should be launching it the first quarter of 2011.
Here is a sneak peak…the four main motivations as we’ve defined them are now renamed and constitute different elements:
1. Personal Motivation- focus on the intrinsic motivators that we have and encompasses the Drive to Challenge & Comprehend
2. Reward Motivation- focus is on the extrinsic motivators that we have and encompasses the Drive to Acquire & Achieve
3. Social Motivation- focus is on the social drives that motivate us and includes the Drive to Bond & Belong
4. Passion Motivation (this name is still being hotly debated – but for now its what we are running with)… – focus is on the motivational element of purpose and passion – including defending one’s honor and tribe
We do a lot of work helping improve how teams operate. Some of it is straight old fun team building – you know the type where you go off-site for a day and do different types of games and activities (note – some people love these types of programs and others detest them with a passion). Other programs we do are much more intense and involve really working on specific team issues and developing action plans for greater collaboration, communication, or productivity.
We’ve worked with big teams. We’ve worked with small teams. We’ve done programs for executives and for line-workers. We’ve worked with teams that are working well and just want to get to that next level and teams that really are on their last leg and need immediate urgent care or they will implode.
We have done one hour fun sessions. We’ve created on-going programs that last months and require intensive work by the participants.
Regardless of the type of team development we are doing – it is also part of building a more motivational organization.
First, if you have not watched Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion – please, please do. It is funny….ha, ha, ha, he, he, ha…. (ok, I need to work on my laugh – you’ll see the connection after watching).
Joss Whedan on why he developed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog:
I was in South Dakota last week on a family vacation. First off, I forget how beautiful South Dakota is and all that it has to offer. Secondly, there are some really, really humongous carvings there…
The original idea for Mount Rushmore is credited to South Dakota historian Doane Robinson who thought that it would increase tourism (he was a pretty insightful man). His idea was to carve local famous people into some of the granite mountains of the Black Hills. In 1924, after working on Stone Mountain, GA, sculptor Gutzon Borglum was brought in to carve the mountain.
Borglum expanded on the original idea and wanted it to be a National monument that focused on our presidents. He insisted that his life’s work would not be spent immortalizing regional heroes but insisted that the work demanded a subject national in nature and timeless in its relevance to history.
Borglum started work on Mt. Rushmore in 1927 at the age of 60. He worked the rest of his life on the mountain.
I was reading an the transcribed copy from a conversation between Ira Flatow and Dr. Paul Bloom on the NPR show Science Friday. This show was titled, “Why we like the things we like” and I think it highlights some very interesting insights that we could all learn from.
The following excerpt is a great example of the Drive to Challenge and Comprehend.
FLATOW: Well, you led into a topic I wanted to ask you about, and that is the pleasure of just learning about things. It’s – you know, just knowing more. I mean, I find that extremely pleasurable, and I’m sure a lot of our listeners do, or else they wouldn’t be tuned to this program.
Salespeople who are engaged in their roles, who are motivated to succeed, and who’s goals are aligned with the organizational goals have been shown to have a significant impact on helping an organization succeed (Badovick, Hadaway, & Kaminski, 1992). Successful organizations understand this and try to keep their sales employees motivated and engaged through a variety of motivational methods – mostly involving extrinsic rewards.
While much has been much written about how extrinsic rewards may have a detrimental effect of on a sales person’s intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, Kohn, or Pink – note: there is also a lot of research on how this extrinsic/intrinsic effect can be mitigated) there is little disagreement on the short-term impact that extrinsic rewards can have on a company’s performance . The short-term benefit of extrinsic rewards assures us that these rewards will be used in businesses no matter what Dan Pink has to say on the topic. However, this does not mean that these types of programs can’t be improved.
Successful organizations and leaders of the future not only need to focus on the optimization of extrinsic reward programs but also on moving other levers within the organization that can drive sales motivation. Using the Four-Drive Model of Employee Motivation (Lawrence and Nohria, 2002) provides a clear framework for how to do this.
This was our most viewed slideshare presentation with over 14,000 views – I’ve now turned it into a 4-minute youtube video….with music and everything. Hope you enjoy and please forward on to anyone you think would benefit from watching.
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