Thursday, January 15, 2015

2006 SEP | Navigation of the Motivation of the Self and the Organization

SEP 2006 | PDF
Navigation of the Motivation of the Self and the Organization 

One seeks "to be true to one's own nature, to trust oneself, to be authentic, spontaneous, honestly expressive, to look for the sources of one's action in one's own deep inner nature." And "capabilities clamor to be used and cease their clamor only when they are used sufficiently."  - Abraham Maslow

In 1999, on a cold January day in Castine, Maine on the campus of Maine Maritime Academy,  you could see by the looks on people's faces that "lightbulbs" were turning on inside their heads.  I was attending a workshop on motivation and recognition at a statewide student leadership conference.  People were looking at each other from across the room like they had never looked at them before.  People who had worked together for years looked like they were seeing each other for the first time.  We had been given a simple tool to guage our motivation.  Then we grouped by motivation for an exercise which illustrated how people with different motivations approach the same situation.  

The tool is found in the, "Red TAXI Trainers’ Guide: Training Volunteer Managers to Get Going" (1994).   It has only eleven questions which will show who in your organization are motivated by achievement, affiliation, or influence.  Some 4-H groups use this tool to tailor their volunteer recognition program to individual volunteers and their personal motivation.  The conceptual framework is from David McClelland's Achievement Motivation Theory.  McClelland actually uses the terms achievement, affiliation, and power.  He theorized that we all have these three needs but one tends to stand out more for each person.  

Another major theory of motivation is Abraham Maslow's Theory of Human Needs.  A summary on Wikipedia states that there are 5 levels of human needs which range from the most simple, basic, lowest, and earliest  up to the most complex, highest, and latest - Physiological, Safety and security, Love, Self esteem, and Self actualization.  The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show. 

A more contemporary approach is nicely summarized in an article in O Magazine entitled, "HOW TO BE WILDLY SUCCESSFUL”, by Martha Beck: 

"It came from a no-nonsense bundle of kindly energy named Kathy Kolbe, a specialist on the instinctive patterns that shape human action. Kathy's father pioneered many standardized intelligence tests, but Kathy was born with severe dyslexia, which meant that this obviously bright little girl didn't learn in a typical way. She grew up determined to understand and defend the different ways in which people go about solving problems."   Kolbe describes four styles: 1) Quick Start, 2) Fact Finder, 3) Implementor, 4) Follow Thru.  Her 30 years of amazing and innovative work can be accessed via: .

An organization full of people who are unclear about their own motivations let alone those of others is not sustainable.  It will be full of confusion and conflict.   However, there is a raft of fun and interesting information which can help you chart a course which facilitates smooth sailing!

WEB-LINKS to Navigational Aids for Sustainable Organizing:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David McClelland

Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rewarding Team Members

Kolbe Learning Styles

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