The Four Drives That Underlie Motivation


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The Four Drives That Underlie Motivation

According to the article, the four drives that underlie motivation include the drive to acquire, the drive to comprehend, the drive to bond, and the drive to defend. Seeing that these four drives are often ingrained into the human brain, the extent to which they are satisfied gets directly affected by behavior, extension, and emotions. The first drive that underlies employee motivation is the drive to acquire. It is the nature of human beings to want to acquire goods that are scarce to boost their sense of well-being. A person is likely to experience delight when this drive is fulfilled and discontentment when thwarted. The phenomenon does not only apply to goods that are physical such as housing, food, clothing, and money, but also experiences such as entertainment and travel. Additionally, it applies to events which improve social status, like securing a corner office, getting promoted, or getting a position on the corporate board. The desire to acquire is usually relative and insatiable. In essence, people tend to compare what they have with what others have and always want more. This is why people tend to care not only about their remuneration packages but also about other people. This also explains why imposing salary caps are difficult.

The drive to comprehend is based on the fact that, as human beings, we strive to understand the world around us as much as possible to come up with accounts and theories that are scientific, cultural, religious, and cultural. All these factors make events understandable and suggest responses and actions. People get easily aggravated when things seem senseless and are re-energized by the challenge that lies in getting answers. At the workplace, employees get motivated by jobs which challenge and enable them to grow and discover. At the same time, they get demoralized by jobs that seem monotonous and most likely push them to dead ends. The employees that are talented end up feeling trapped and leave their employers to find new and exciting challenges in other places.

As regards the drive to bond, when met, it is linked with strong and positive emotions such as love and care and when it is not met, it is associated with negative emotions such as anomie and loneliness. The drive to bond represents the high boost in motivation at work as employees tend to feel proud to be associated with the organization. They also feel demotivated when their institution betrays them. This explains why employees struggle to break out of functional and divisional silos. The ability to form connections with larger collectives pushes employees into caring more about an organization than the local group within it.

The drive to defend has its roots in the basic fight-or-flight response that is common with animals. In people, the drive to defend manifests itself as both defensive and aggressive behavior and a quest to form institutions that have clear intentions and goals, promote peace, and allow people to express their opinions and ideas. Fulfilling the urge to defend leads to feelings of confidence and security, while not fulfilling it leads to strong negative emotions such as resentment and fear. The drive to defend speaks a lot about the ability of people to resist change. Change is the one reason employees get distressed by the prospects of an acquisition or merger, even if it is the only hope that the organization has for survival. For instance, one day, an employee might seem indispensable because they are a high performer and the next day, they are being dismissed to make room for restructuring. It is no wonder that headhunters normally target workers during such transitions since they know that it is when they feel most vulnerable and at the mercy of managers that seem to be in charge of making decisions pertaining to personnel.

The Organizational Levers of Motivation

The four drives that underlie emotion are each met by a unique organizational lever. As such, the four levers of motivation include the culture, job design, reward system, and performance-management and resource-allocation processes. The most effective way to fulfill the drive to bond is to create a culture that promotes collaboration, teamwork, friendship, and openness. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) defied NatWest’s silo mentality through bringing together employees from both firms to collaborate on revenue growth projects and well-defined cost savings. The experience was a departure for both companies as the new structure helped people break away from old attachments and form new and meaningful bonds. To set a good example, RBS and ex-NatWest executives often convene every Monday to address any outstanding matters that cut through the political and bureaucratic processes. Job design, on the other hand, has to do with the drive to comprehend. It entails developing jobs that are challenging, meaningful, and interesting. For example, despite RBS taking a hard attitude on expenses during its collaboration with NatWest, it invested in a state-of-the-art business school faculty located adjacent to corporate campus to which employees had access. The move did not only advance RBS’s success in attaining the drive to bond, it also challenged the workers to think more outside the box concerning how they help make a difference for customers, workers, and investors.

An organization’s reward system tends to easily satisfy the drive to acquire. A reward system has to do with the way a company ties rewards to performance, discriminates between poor and good performers and provides employees with the best advancement opportunities. For instance, when RBS took control of NatWest, it acquired a company whose rewards system was subjugated by employee tenure, status, and politics. RBS developed a new system that held managers accountable for specific goals and reinforced good performance and not average performance. As a result, former employees of NatWest started embracing the new company following the acquisition partly because although the system was tough, it recognized and rewarded individual achievement.

Performance-management and resource-allocation processes that are transparent, fair, and trustworthy are usually helpful in meeting their drive to defend. For instance, RBS worked hard to make sure its decision processes are precise. At RBS, endeavors pertaining to new technology are often assessed by cross-business teams that tend to make decisions based on precise criteria like its effect on the financial performance of a company. In surveys, workers report that processes are fair and that funding criteria are transparent. Despite RBS being a demanding organization, its employees also view it as being just one. Aflac is another perennial favorite that dominates Fortune 100 Best Companies that illustrates how to match emotional drives on multiple fronts with organizational levers. Aflac recognizes and rewards stellar individual performance in a highly visible way, hence targeting their employee’s desire to acquire. Culture-building activities like Employee Appreciation Week are aimed at developing a sense of bonding. Through investing significantly in training and development, the company is better placed to meet the drive. Regarding the drive to defend, Aflac takes action to better their employee’s quality of life by offering scholarships and trainings. Additionally, it provides benefits like on-site child care that enhances work-life balance. Aflac also observes a no lay-off policy and is starting to become more employee-centric by taking care of its workers fast. This way, the company also believes that the employees will extend the same level of care to clients.

The Link between Motivational Concepts Personality Types and Motivational Preferences

Without a doubt, I see a lot of truth and similarities between the motivational concepts presented in the article and the results of the MBTI personality test. The article mentions company supervisors’ effect on culture, management, job design, and management. The personality results show that I am not very assertive and lack a forceful personality. This profile describes me precisely. I struggle a lot when it comes to making decisions. I am usually not very confident in the way I make decisions. I think it has to do with the example that is set by other leaders within the organizations. If my supervisors set a culture of redundancy, then the rest of the employees tend to follow in their footsteps, but if they create an environment of effectiveness, then employees tend to behave in a similar manner. Additionally, the article also brings out the concept of being employee-centric. This means that for the employees to take good care of the customers, the company must first take care of its employee. The association with the personality test is that I scored 53% in terms of the tactics I use to approach planning and work. This makes me lean more on the judging than the prospecting side of the scale. If, by my judgment, I feel that my employer is treating employees unjustly, there is a possibility that I will extend that same energy in the way I handle clients.