Sustaining Team Commitment: Part 1


9 connecting threads

It’s all very well having a brilliant product or service, but no matter how good that product or service is, if you can’t position it with potential clients, you’ll never get buy in. Likewise, if you’re a business leader and you want your employees to complete Motivational Maps, you have to position it correctly with them, otherwise, no matter how insightful and useful the Maps are, the body politic will reject it!

So, how do we recommend organisations position the Maps to their staff? Here are 9 crucial steps! 

1) Be frank and open

Okay, this one is fairly obvious, yet it’s amazing how easy it is to get wrong. Many organisations forget to tell their staff not only why they are undertaking certain initiatives but when and what too! I distinctly remember one morning walking into an office where I had worked for a year, only to find the entire place in chaos and all the desks re-arranged. Management had decided it was time to refresh the work-spaces and optimise synergies between departments. However, I only found this out long after the fact! No one had had any idea what they were planning except the COO (Chief Operations Officer). Management expected people to just turn up, find their computer, and carry on without asking a single question!

Therefore, if you are going to use Maps with a team, department, or even your whole organisation, make sure you clearly communicate what is happening to everyone involved via multiple channels (email, announcements during face-to-face meetings, bulletins on the pinboard, etc!).

2) Reassure staff that this is ABSOLUTELY not going to be used for evaluation purposes (or linked to pay reviews) but for developmental reasons instead

Many employees can—justifiably—feel suspicious about any form of assessment in the workplace as there are many tools used to evaluate staff productivity, and this frequently result in layoffs and pay-freezes (even when this was not the original and intended use of the tool!).

Sadly, many employees feel they are already being excessively monitored at work, and if you do not correctly communicate what Maps is and what you’re trying to achieve with it, you run the risk of the Map being viewed as another form of control and needless data-gathering.

Reassure your staff, therefore, that the Maps is not linked pay-reviews, is not an evaluation tool, and that the aim is to develop your people and empower the employee by revealing what really drives them.

3) Be crystal clear about, and stick to, a well-defined process

In your communications, you should clearly outline what the process is going to be. When will the Maps be sent out, when do people have to complete it by, what will happen next (likely, they will have a session with a licensed Maps practitioner either in a group or one-to-one depending on the number of people involved)? The next challenge is of course to stick to this process as closely as possible so no surprises are in store for your teams!

4) Discuss how motivation and performance are linked and how traditionally training is always about skills, and motivation tends to be ‘assumed’ or overlooked

Firstly, many employers mistakenly tend to assume that money means motivation, but our research reveals that less than 10% of the population are actually motivated by financial incentives! We only need to look at the sheer number of people working for organisations such as the NHS to realise the truth of this! By acknowledging it, you will curry favour with your employees, because rather than patronising them with the idea that they are “only in it for the money”, you will instead be inviting them to reveal their true motivations, which are likely to be more complex. Having said this, some people genuinely are motivated by financial gain, and this is okay—all motivators are equal. The only “bad” situation from a Maps’ point of view is when our motivators are not being met!

Secondly, motivation is not competency. For example, if you have Creator as your lowest motivator, that does not mean you’re “not creative”. What it means is that creativity is not real a priority for you. Therefore, measuring motivation is not about measuring the skills of your employees, but about measuring their inner drivers.

Having said this, when we are highly motivated, we perform at a much higher level (studies recently conducted by TeamStage have shown a 20% increase in productivity as a result of being motivated at work; older studies show much higher figures!).

Explaining this nuance clearly to your employees, who may be more used to traditional modes of training and skills acquisition, will help them understanding the importance of motivation and the Maps.

5) Talk about the benefits and insist on positive expectations, refusing to accept any opt-in/opt-out scenarios, while simultaneously respecting confidentiality and consulting on how Map results are to be shared and disseminated

If you give people a choice as to whether to complete a Map or not, the battle is already lost! Your employees will be busy people, working hard, and even if they are intrigued by the idea of discovering their inner motivators, they are ultimately likely to decide that it is a distraction from their “real work” and that they need to prioritise X or Y client, or X or Y task. Therefore, you have to insist that completing a Map is part of their job, part of their development, in the same way as a meeting or an annual review. Reassure your staff by continually emphasising the positive benefits of Maps: “Maps will help you (a) discover what is really driving you, (b) open up clear channels of communication between people and departments, and (c) create a non-judgemental language with which critical issues can be discussed.”

In addition, and this correlates with point number 3 on this list, make sure your employees know how their Maps results will be shared, disseminated, or fed back on. Are you using Team Maps? If so, will that mean everyone in their team will eventually see their Maps profile? Or will only the licensed practitioner and upper management be able to see the results? Neither answer is right or wrong, but making sure this process is transparent is essential to get your staff on board with Mapping!

One other key aspect of the above is to set an example by completing your own Motivational Map! Employees are infinitely more likely to trust the process if you have taken the plunge first! We have noticed time and time again that the failure of the No 1 to do act, share a Map, or otherwise participate in the process proves extremely demoralising for most staff.

6) Especially emphasise the personal benefits of self-awareness and relationship building that staff will gain from the process and not only for work

The benefits of motivation go far beyond the realm of work, although work is where we predominantly tend to focus on the issue. The “shared language” Maps creates around motivation will allow employees to have real conversations around their behaviours without creating conflict.

This works due to the classic psychological principle of “distancing”. By talking about our “motivators”, they become almost separate from us. This means that if we want to give someone critical feedback we are no longer criticising themdirectly, we’re instead talking about these disembodied concepts.

For example, if Jane is a high Spirit motivator (so she values independence, autonomy, and freedom), and her boss, Mark, is a high Director motivator (so he values control of resources and people), then Jane can explain to Mark that his Director motivator is impinging upon her Spirit motivator—the Spirit does not like to be controlled! Or, vice-versa, Mark could explain to Jane that her Spirit motivator is causing him problems, as he likes to be certain about where people are at. This is much preferable to Jane calling Mark a “control freak” or Mark calling Jane a “loose cannon”, which is perhaps what would happen without the lucidity of Maps!

7) Explain that Maps are not a one-off hit but an ongoing programme

Unlike psychometrics which measure the 20% of personality that is fixed, Maps measures the 80% that is experiential and therefore changeable. We estimate that in periods of stability, a Maps profile can shift roughly every eighteen months. However, in periods of uncertainty and rapid change (like the one we’re living in now!) this process is significantly sped up. In addition, aside from changes in our profile—aka, the arrangement and order of priority of the nine motivators—our level of motivation can change. In fact, the whole aim of using Maps is to increase the motivation levels of our employees for higher productivity and performance.

Therefore, it’s important that you explain to your staff that this is not a one-off survey, a one-off event for a bit of fun, but something that will be continually revisited. At a deeper level this is about creating a culture around motivation at you workplace so that an understanding of motivation and a desire to perform highly are baked into the infrastructure of the organisation.

8) Explain the core superiority of maps over psychometrics/personality tools and specifically how Maps do not stereotype individuals, since motivation changes

Most people rightly fear that psychometrics and other personality tools will stereotype them. Many personality tools are falsely correlated with job roles (aka, X type of personality is suitable for a leadership role, but Y type of personality is a mere worker!). The Maps does not fall prey to this pitfall because it focuses on the 80% of our personality that can change, AND because unlike most psychometrics you are not identified as a type but as a preference. In other words, we have all nine motivators in our profile, but we prefer two or three of them at any given time! This is a subtle but essential distinction to make. Many employees express delight and relief when they realise that their Maps profile does not limit them, but on the contrary, shows the full extent of their potential!

9) Clarify that by focusing on motivation and performance these will grow in our collective experience and so we will all benefit accordingly

As mentioned in point number 6, the benefits of motivation go far beyond simply work. Whilst high motivation does generally lead to greater productivity which in turn correlates to high performance, when we are highly motivated we also begin to see benefits in other realms of our life. In short, we’re energised. If you were to ask yourself the question, “What would my life be like if I had 30% more energy?” the answer might stagger you! I have seen clients actually shed tears contemplating how much better their lives would be if they had more energy as a result of being fuelled by their activities rather than drained.

Shifting our focus from skills and efficiencies to motivation and performance is quite literally life-changing. Whilst you may not wish to “over-promise” to your employees, clarifying for them what a significant shift this change in focus represents will help them realise that you are not only trying to improve their work-lives but their entire lives—and what could be more compelling for your employees than that?

To get expert advice about Motivational Maps contact one of our licensed practitioners.




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