How Do Motivational Maps Fit In With The Enneagram?

Is there really a difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation?

Leaves and light bulb

All the way back in 2009, a friend of mine, Pascoe Sawyers, sent me a link to a TED Talk by Dan Pink, delivered in Oxford. In just eighteen minutes, he delivered a tremendous talk and covered a lot of ground. A year or so later, I read his book: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, which is a fascinating and insightful work that gave me much to think on.

The essence of Pink’s argument is one that we at Motivational Maps passionately agree with: business does not deploy the real science of motivation when dealing with staff; and businesses (including not-for-profit and government organisations) tends to use a limited carrot and stick approach that only works in a narrow set of circumstances.

Put even more forcefully, Pink argues that the “If  [you do this]… Then [you get that]...” model destroys creativity. In fact, “If... Then...”  only works when dealing with simplistic activities—potty training comes to mind—certainly not anything requiring innovation or creativity. He goes on to remark that we in the West need to be creative if we are going to compete with the East.

Pink cites a lot of scientific evidence for his assertions and these are pretty compelling. One of his most telling points came at the end of his talk: he asks us to compare and contrast two products, Encarta and Wikipedia. If you were to ask in the late ‘90s which one would come to dominate the market—the product with all of Microsoft’s R&D behind it, a whole lot of highly paid managers and professionals, and marketing experts, or a self-help product produced by amateurs and “nerds”—who would you bet on?

The counter-intuitive fact is: Wikipedia won, and an essential part of this winning is down to motivation. They were/are a highly motivated team of people bent on a mission versus a bunch of professionals doing a job, earning a living, expecting a pay cheque. The controversial subtext of this is big pay cheques don’t work. In many case studies, Motivational Maps has seen organisations offer pay rises (either across the board or to a select few) only for motivation levels to decrease.

Pink goes on to say that the money motivators—extrinsic motivators—are weak compared with what he calls the intrinsic motivators. He identifies three core intrinsic motivators: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

At Motivational Maps, we are gratified that there are three – our system is built on nine motivators in three blocks of three. And we have a special language for Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose: we call them the Spirit, the Expert and the Searcher.

However, there is a problem with this separation of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. The problem is perception.

Motivational Maps’ nine key motivators are partly derived from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. These needs are our true motivators and although they are placed in a “hierarchy”, they all come under the umbrella of a need. At Maps, we take this one step further and recognise all motivators as being equal. We actually have all nine motivators, but each individual’s unique makeup means that we prioritise one motivator over another, and we experience the different motivators in varying degrees of intensity.

While all motivators are equally valid, some are more complex than others. At the apex of the hierarchy, we find the most complex needs, such as the quest for meaning (which we call The Searcher). The need for meaning isn’t a need in the same way as food, but the lack of either can kill us. Similarly, the need for money and status (The Builder) may not, on the surface, seem as important in the evolutionary scheme as our relationships with others (The Friend)—the instinct of belonging that is derived from our mammalian ancestry—and yet we all know that where you live and how much money is in your bank account impacts your quality of life in a thousand different ways. Poverty can kill just as easily as war or famine.

How my point about perception ties in is this: every motivator is intrinsic from the standpoint of the person motivated by it!

For the person who has The Builder as their number one motivator, money really is a deep need, as important as breathing. Likewise for The Creator, the act of creation is as essential as water and must be undertaken daily.

This may not seem like a major difference in the grand scheme, but on closer examination, and following the thinking to its appropriate end point, we see that the two models are worlds apart. To further illustrate this, we should examine Motivation 3.0.

In Drive, Pink introduces the idea of Motivation 3.0, a model that is simultaneously evolutionary and digital. Pink posits that human beings’ need to “upgrade their software” and reach a higher level of motivation and awareness by operating on the basis of intrinsic motivators rather than merely survival or command-and-control regimes. To me, this thinking is utopian and profoundly unscientific.

Whilst I absolutely agree with Pink on the issue of the importance of motivators beyond the command-and-control / carrot-and-stick model, this is not about an upgrade to human consciousness or some kind of quantum leap evolution (for let’s keep in mind Allan Bloom’s profound observation in his The Closing of the American Mind, “Human nature must not be altered in order to have a problem-free world.”). One man’s motivator is not better than another’s. The desire for meaning isn’t inherently better than the desire for a faster car. What really matters is whether or not people are acting in alignment with their motivators.

Because the world will become a better place if more people, firstly, become cognizant of their motivators, and secondly, begin to move in accordance with their motivators. Motivational Maps does what it says on the tin and gives people and businesses a road map they can follow. Our goal is not to chastise people for how they are wired, but to liberate them with self-knowledge, which will allow them to pursue their real desires and motivators, which are often obscured by societal conditioning and debilitating psychological narratives. Meeting your motivators leads to greater happiness, contentment, satisfaction, and energy levels—and when you have these things, you no longer need to engage in destructive behaviours. Motivation is not about changing who you are according to an academic paradigm but revealing who you are.

The way to Motivation 3.0 is not by shunning so-called “extrinsic” motivators in favour of “high level” intrinsic ones, but precisely the reverse. By engaging more deeply with our true motivators, whatever they may be, we can rediscover the purpose and joy of life, which will enrich not only our own lives, but the lives of everyone around us.

Find out more about Motivational Maps from our community of licensed practitioners

And if you want an opportunity to meet Motivational Map experts in person, you are welcome to attend our UK  Summer Conference



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