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August 2009


One of the curious anomalies of my life is being introduced as a ‘motivational speaker’; I always have to make it clear that I am not a motivational speaker, but an expert on motivation. I am not there to motivate the audience: I am there to inform them how motivation works and how they can get themselves or their teams motivated using the language and metric that is Motivational Maps.

Bizarrely, we don’t have a lot to do with ‘motivational speakers’ by and large, because we do ‘our thing’. But may be that is about to change. We were contacted recently by the adventurous adventurer, Alastair Humphries - - who is, technically, an Adventurer, an Author, and a Motivational Speaker; and if you read his stuff you cannot help but be impressed. He is currently most famous for spending 4 years cycling round the world and covering 46,000 miles – phew!

Delightfully, Alastair has also completed a Motivational Map – the first Adventurer I am aware of to do so – and has given permission for me to analyse it publically through my blog. So, we like Alastair, and feel that an important link has been made to the other side of motivation, and therefore we want to go on talking about him and promoting his activities.

So, what do we learn about Alastair from his Motivational Map? First, he is only 72% motivated, which for someone who is effectively self-employed and doing the thing he loves, seems actually low. (One must say, however, with nearly 5000 Maps now done, most organisations would regard 72% as wonderful if their staff were on average at that level).

His top 3 motivators are in order: Searcher, Expert and Creator. This means: Alastair wants to make a difference, wants to be a specialist, and wants to innovate. In fact his fourth motivator, which is scored almost equally with his third (and which is a long way ahead of the fifth) is Spirit – the desire for freedom. In short, three of four top motivators are for Alastair all about self-actualising. He is on a journey of personal growth. Hmm – can he be a team player, then? Watch out, Alastair!

The first two motivators, however, are so heavily scored they are what we call ‘spikes’ – intense motivators. Radically, it is in the area of purpose/making a difference that Alastair feels not motivated enough. This is essential to him.

If we could help motivate Alastair more, what would the Reward Strategy  be for a Searcher like Alastair? The answer to that is very simple: quality feedback. And if you look at his website and its links to Facebook +, you realise just how important feedback is to him. For all the RSS feeds – he needs more. So, please: comment on his blogs, buy his books, and express interest in what he is doing, because that is what he loves and needs.

His lowest motivator by far is the Director – Alastair is not motivated by power and control. He knows already … but stay away from management, Alastair! You won’t like it.

James Sale


I had lunch on Thursday with my friend, the great Steve Jones, aka ‘Jonesie’ – check him out: - and as usual there was something, apart from the food (Chinese actually) to delight me. Steve always has something interesting to say, but Thursday he was on especially good form. As regular readers of my Blog will know, innovation is a pretty important concept to Motivational Maps Ltd: how can we improve what we do? It is therefore particularly pleasant when someone else comes up with the idea.

Steve has been training coaches in London for a major coaching organisation and casually told me about one of his processes. Steve is a Business Practitioner of Motivational Maps – which means he is one of our most senior, level 3 exponents of the product. As he proceeded to explain to me what he was doing, my eyes popped open, and I garbled something like – Tell me that again, Steve – that’s brilliant!

What he’d done was to dovetail two widely differing ‘products’ into one seamless process. Basically combining the Map technology with the T-GROW coaching model. As I said to him after I realised the scope of what he’d done – well, Steve, perhaps we need another level within Motivational Maps – the Coaching Practitioners!

For those who don’t know the T-GROW model it is basically a non-directional coaching process (first, I think, outlined by John Whitmore in his book, Performance Coaching) that follows five simple stages:

          T – what is the Topic to be discussed?

          G – where does the client want to be? Agree a Goal they want to achieve by the end of the session

          R – what is the Reality of the situation? Get as much background information as possible

          O – generate some Options – be creative, brainstorm, mindstorm, use thinking hats and try to get fresh ideas about solutions

          W – When is it going to happen or Work out your action plan

Given that the client has done a Motivational Map, the coach can then identify which motivator, based on the information provided by the Map, is the key one to work on with them. Then, treat that motivator as T: the Topic. For example, the motivator that the client needs working on is the Searcher: the need for meaning, purpose, and desire to make a difference. So, beginning the process: our Topic is how you can make more of a difference (in your work, your relationships, your self-development, your …).

With that clearly established we can now run through the GROW process of goal setting, unpicking the reality, creating options, and setting deadlines.

The beauty is, of course, not only does the coaching tap into the motivational energy of the client, but better still, provides not just one motivator to focus on, but two more. In other words, whilst adding value to the client in a highly defined way, it also potentially adds work to the coach. And all coaches want more work, don’t they?

So, well done, Steve – a brilliant innovation and I look forward to developing this further with you.

James Sale


Recently I was introduced to James Brook, MD of Titan Talent – see – and James is a highly impressive person. A mutual acquaintance, Kate Turner of Motivational Leadership Ltd – see - thought it would be good if we connected as we seem to be in parallel universes: we both have recently developed self-perception inventories, both inventories are successful, and it was curious too that in comparing sales figures they too seemed about the same.

James had done via Kate a Motivational Map and was intrigued by the result, and as a courtesy offered me the opportunity to complete his inventory: Strengthscope.

Strengthscope is not a psychometric, but instead it works out what an individual’s strengths are in the workplace, so that these can be optimised, excessive strengths can be curbed, and perhaps most critically teams can be evaluated in terms of the group’s strengths – does a team actually have the requisite strengths that would enable them to deliver? This strikes me as an important area which overlaps with what Motivational Maps do, and what psychometrics do not – although psychometrics, perhaps less appropriately,  are frequently used for this purpose.

Of course, what strengths are we talking about? In this area there has to be some generic strengths that are universally applicable, and doubtless there may be debate over the exact definitions. But Strengthscope has defined 22 Strengths, and the report focuses mainly on your own top seven. The 22 are:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Common sense
  3. Compassion
  4. Courage
  5. Creativity
  6. Critical thinking
  7. Decisiveness
  8. Detail orientation
  9. Developing others
  10. Efficiency
  11. Emotional control
  12. Empathy
  13. Flexibility
  14. Initiative
  15. Leading
  16. Persuasiveness
  17. Relationship building
  18. Resilience
  19. Results focus
  20. Self-confidence
  21. Self-improvement
  22. Strategic mindedness

An interesting questions for readers of this blog might be: which are your top 7 ‘strengths’ – do you know?

Intriguingly, in completing the on-line questionnaire you are also invited to nominate up to eight individuals who know you and can independently and anonymously comment on their view of your Strengths. This is a sort of reality check on self-perception.

Naturally, because you need up to eight other people to log-in and comment on you (I actually used six from widely differing relationships with me) the report isn’t instant. However, it is extremely useful when you get it. I was fortunate in that James also kindly gave me a half hour mini-coaching/feedback session to help me address the issues that arose.

My top 7 Strengths are: Creativity, Decisiveness, Developing Others, Empathy, Leading, Persuasiveness, and Self-Confidence. This is good – but I need – we need – to consider whether a Strength is in ‘overdrive’? Hmm. And also, given the team, what is lacking? Great question. Given that list of 22 I could certainly find 7 things!

But in the anonymous feedback I found a real treasure for my self esteem – thank you whoever said: “James Sale has remarkable abilities to motivate and inspire others”. Whatever we lack, let’s focus on what we have.

So let me recommend James Brook’s Strengthscope to you – a fascinating new tool well worth a visit.

James Sale


I was asked a very irritating question recently. As some of you may know, the core business of Motivational Maps Ltd is licensing our product, Motivational Maps, to management consultants and business coaches, so that they can have a competitive edge in their respective markets. Clearly, like everybody else, we have a product, we sell it – and as a result of selling it, we meet objections to the sale.

Some objections are insightful, well founded, and useful – especially when they get us to review our ‘product’ and its position and thereby improve either or both. Some objections are frivolous, pointless or more often simply evasive: a way of saying, ‘I don’t want to buy – or I can’t afford – but I want to make it look as if the fault lies in you and your product offering’. All of this is surely par for the course.

A recent editorial in Money Week (a superb magazine, incidentally) – see – by Merryn Somerset Webb told a wonderful story. She tells how in going to buy a new car costing some £13K she gets worried about the possibility that between paying in full for the car and its delivery on the forecourt some days later, the firm could go bust, and they’d lose all that money. So, to prevent that, she offers to pay for the car on collection with a banker’s draft. But wait for it – the dealership refused to accept that as a form of payment for fear the bank goes bust!!! Business – don’t you just love it!!!

Of course, management consultants and business coaches know all about business – which is why they do what they do, don’t they?

So, what is the irritating question I received from someone considering taking out a license with Motivational Maps? Precisely this, “But what happens if Motivational Maps goes bankrupt?” Excuse me? What happens if Motivational Maps goes bust? Hmm, that’s a tough one.

I was discussing this difficult question with my friend and colleague, Mark Turner, of Motivational Maps Education Ltd, (see and he had a great solution.

“James, you’ll need to get a job in a super market”.

“Stacking shelves?”

“No,” he said. “Mopping floors.”

“Mopping floors?” I said, somewhat surprised.

“Yes, Motivational Mops Ltd.”

That’s it!!


What happens when Motivational Maps goes bust is: we have Motivational Mops – now as Gandalf may have said to Frodo, “There’s an encouraging thought.”

James Sale