What Motivates You? Understanding Motivational Maps

What Motivates You? Understanding Motivational Maps

by Kriss Akabusi

Ask someone what motivates them and they might begin to give you an answer.  It might be the drive to provide for their family, the drive to make money, or maybe even the drive to be recognised in the future. But do you actually know how to identify your key motivators – and use them to your advantage?

The Motivational Map – the brainchild of James Sale – is a brilliant way to determine and understand our key motivators in life.  It’s just one of the tools I use as a Transitions Coach, as it helps me to properly understand a coachee’s key drivers at that point in time.

Through his research, Sale identified three categories of motivators:

  • Relationship motivators – how we are driven in terms of our relationships with those around us
  • Achievement motivators – how we are driven in our own professional development
  • Growth motivators – what drives us in our own internal, personal development.

Within these categories, Sale identified nine motivators that drive any human being at any one time:

  • Relationship motivators: The Defender, the Friend and the Star
  • Achievement motivators: The Director, the Builder and the Expert
  • Growth motivators: The Creator, the Spirit and the Searcher

As we’ll go on to see, we have all of these motivators within us, but two or three dominate us at any one time. And there will be quirks; no two maps are ever the same.  Our least preferred driver may reinforce our preferences for change or stasis, and, what’s more, our motivators are not set in stone; they are transient, fluctuating throughout our lifetime as our lives undergo change. The experienced manager knows it is unwise to put people in boxes.  Context and circumstances change – it might only take a second and the most rabid “Spirit” (typified by autonomy and self-direction) can transform into a Defender (exemplified by process, systems procedure) if the landscape changes and the need is for survival.

Still the maps give us a very good insight into our colleagues, and the most important resource in our business is our people!  The added appreciation of ourselves, our co -workers and even our customers and suppliers in this ever-increasing collaborative world is a strength – not a weakness – and is sure to give a competitive advantage if leveraged appropriately.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll take you through each of the categories of the Motivational Map and explain the traits of each motivator in turn.  Before we get that far, though, it’s important to understand how Motivational Maps work and how we can use them to our advantage – whether as individuals or managers.

How the Motivational Map works

To discover your key motivators, you first need to undergo the motivational audit.  Don’t worry – it’s not a test, and there are no right or wrong answers!  Instead, it’s a simple Q&A with 36 questions that scale your response to situations, choosing from four answers ranging from ‘Most Likely’ to ‘Least Likely’.

Once I’ve given my client access to the audit, and they’ve logged their responses, they will then receive their own Motivational Map, personalised according to their answers.  This profile grades the client in relation to each of the nine motivators, on a scale of 0-40.

If a client has scored 30 or above in any one motivator, it means that motivator is so strong within them – so stark and impregnated – that they will begin to experience problems if that motivator isn’t fed.  This is why a person may feel unfulfilled or despondent in elements of work or life – their key motivators just aren’t being addressed!

At this point, my role as a coach is to help the coachee unpick their profile.  I’ll work through the minutiae with them, helping them make sense of the Motivational Map and apply its findings to their life. 

Motivational Maps for the Individual

Once a person knows their core motivators – what drives them – they can begin to examine areas of their life to identify essential steps towards fulfilment.  

Perhaps you are considering a career change?  Knowing your key motivators will help you find a workplace or job where you will be fulfilled and happy.  Maybe you’re feeling at sea when it comes to family and relationships?  Understanding your relationship motivators will help you identify what you need from those relationships to be happier.

Motivational Maps for the Manager

Motivational Maps go beyond just helping us understand our own motivations.  If you’re a CEO or manage a team of people, using Motivational Maps for your workforce can help you truly understand your employees and ultimately get the best from them!

By knowing what drives your workers, you can motivate them in a way that suits them.  You’ll find out why some of your employees respond brilliantly to bonus schemes, but others don’t. You’ll realise which of your employees are perfect for leading others and which ones you’ll want to charge with developing new ideas.  You’ll be able to organise your teams to create amazing combinations that work, avoiding damaging personality clashes.

Ultimately, the Motivational Map could be just what you need to turn your workforce into a well-oiled machine of fulfilled employees – and fulfilled employees mean better results for your business!

Once you’ve learnt about Motivational Maps, you’ll wonder how you ever got this far without them!  In my next post, I’ll explain the Relationship motivators – will you be a Defender, a Friend or a Star?

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