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June 2015

Why and Motivational Maps

I am currently reading a really interesting bestseller called ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek. Despite not understanding motivation much, and having a rather simplistic and dualistic view that motivation is somehow the poor relation of inspiration, and despite the fact that this is yet another of those interminable hagiographies which worship – you’ve guessed it – Apple and Steve Jobs, Disney and Walt Disney, Herb Kelleher and South West Airlines, Bill Gates and Microsoft, and Martin Luther King (the usual heroes from the American ‘success pantheon of gods’) there is, as I say despite all this, a core nugget which makes it instructive. For Sinek does make a compelling case for the ‘why’ of business (or any type of enterprise) as opposed to the ‘what’ or ‘how’, and furthermore his analysis is very much in terms of marketing and longevity, which means that one can run his idea through one’s own business.


To be clear, he argues that the ‘what’ of what we do, and ‘how’ we do it, is very much a part of the usual standard of features, benefits and quality that we offer our clients. Ultimately, he says, if that is all we offer, then clients will always drift somewhere else where there is a lower price or higher quality or a better deal. There is no loyalty in features and benefits, or in the ‘what’ or ‘how’. But when people understand ‘why’ you do what you do, and that ‘why’ represents a bigger idea than merely yourself or your business self-interest, then … you inspire loyalty, you command premium prices, and you create game-changing businesses. IMG-20140811-00305

As a sidebar issue on this matter of ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’, however, Motivational Maps itself does have an intrinsic angle; for there are three kinds of motivators: Relationship, Achievement and Growth. Respectively, they ask: how we relate with others, what can we do or achieve, and why is this important to me? So, with that in mind, let us ask the question, applying Sinek’s model to my business, Why Motivational maps?

We could talk about how innovative they are, intuitive to use, or speak about their accuracy or results-orientation, but if we did then I guess all I’d be doing is talking about the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ of Motivational Maps. Clearly, the ‘why’ is something much bigger.

It’s been brewing for a while, long before I read Sinek’s book, but I do think – feel and know – what the true ‘why’ of Motivational Maps is. We exist to transform how management works in the workplace by empowering everyone across the world. There! I’ve said it. What has been very clear to me for a long time, going right back to my days as an Investors in People consultant, and before that when I was a manager myself, is that so much management is wrong, plain wrong, because it is all top-down, or command and control, or – not to put too fine a point on it – too hierarchical. Now it is true that a command and control style of management – essentially a military style – does have its place in the world of management: usually in life and death situations and THEN we really do want to follow a leader who knows what they are doing. But in the commercial, international, interconnected world in which we now live and operate this is so wrong, so ineffective, so expensive in terms of time, money, lack of innovation and wasted morale.

No: Motivational Maps can ONLY work with a bottom-up approach. Attempts to understand employee motivators and then to subsequently manipulate employees are doomed to failure because essentially motivation cannot work that way. So any organization seeking to use Motivational Maps is tacitly admitting that they are seeking a bottom-up approach, a new way of understanding themselves and their employees, and for that to achieve a win-win result; for enhanced motivation will lead to happier employees AND increased productivity.

So why are we doing Motivational Maps? Because we’re transforming management and transforming people, in order that they and their organisations can become truly productive and a lot happier too. Indeed, as the Blues Brothers put it, we are on a mission God – to make the world a better place!