The Three Colours of Motivation Revisited


In the winter of January, 2010, I wrote a blog called “The Three Colours of Motivation”. Little did I know at the time that this would become my most popular and searched-for blog! What I think surprises me so much about this is that the blog is not “informative” in the same way as many other articles I write for this Motivational Memos series, but more symbolic. Actually, more poetic. To me this suggests something very hopeful and important indeed: that people want more poetry and beauty in their lives! As we enter another (dreadfully cold) winter, after a very trying and strange year, I thought it would be good to revisit this blog; hopefully, it will give you some motivation, or even inspiration, to make it through to next year!


The idea behind the “three colours” of motivation is based on the three clusters of motivators. There are “Relationship” motivators, for example, which are centred around security, belonging, and getting recognition from others. These are green in hue because they represent our roots, our connection with the world around us.


Then there are “Achievement” motivators, which are about work: having control over resources, material gain, and knowledge. These are red because red is the colour of human endeavour, both physical and intellectual; it’s the colour of war, of martial prowess, of triumph and achievement.


Finally, here are “Growth” motivators, sometimes thought of as “Self” motivators, which are about personal development. These are focused on creativity, independence, and making a difference to others (sometimes called transcendence). Blue is the hue of the Growth motivators, as it is the colour we most associate with the divine (a heavenly blue sky), and with the spirit. Blue is a colour of deep introspection, of an ocean we delve into to get to know the real inner self.


Most of us have a predominance of one colour in our profile. In other words, a colour may call to you! This predominance or preference can tell us almost as much as what someone’s individual motivators are. The colour of our motivation could, for example, indicate whether we like a lot of change in our life, whether we prefer take things fast or slow, or where our overall focus in the three principle domains of life lies: relationships with people, achievements at work, or developing oneself. Of course, unlike prescriptive psychometric “personality colours”, which are fixed and stereotyping, we believe that our motivations change over time and with experience. In addition, it is not merely about which cluster or colour is most dominant in the profile, but also how that interrelates with the motivators themselves. Having said that, you may feel that one or more of the colours speaks to you very deeply, and perhaps that could help you? So, here are the original colour descriptions I wrote back in 2010. Why not read them and see which one appeals to you most?


First, there is Green motivation. Green motivation is very strong – perhaps the strongest of all. If it were a sound it would be a big deep bass note – vibrating and resonating in the very core of us. As a colour it refreshes us – it makes us comfortable. We like to wear green. And when we see it outside, we hardly notice it because it is part of the texture of life itself.


What did your mother say when you were young? Eat your greens. Yes, the green energy comes directly from the sun, and this is woven into our being. It is the energy of relationships – feeling secure with someone else, belonging and friendship, and getting recognition for simply being us.

Green motivation is a real therapy. Is that what you feel like this winter?


The second colour of motivation is Red. Red motivation is not so much strong as dynamic – it glows with its own intensity. You notice Red; you cannot help it. In times past, Red has always been the martial colour: the God of War, Ares/Mars, is Red. The note here is a loud middle note – we cannot help but clearly hear it. It is a clear note struck in our working day.


It is the colour of stimulation and achievement. As we start the New Year, have you made those resolutions of achievement? They’re Red motivators. You want power and control – you want money and things – you want expertise and mastery? You want Red – wear that Red badge. Make 2010 (or indeed 2021!) the year you achieve your dreams – all fuelled by the Red motivator.


Finally, there is Blue motivation: cool Blue. If Green is strong, and Red is dynamic, then Blue is heroic. The note is high – ethereal – sometimes even difficult to hear, but when heard so sweet and inspiring.


Blue is not about achievement but more aspiration. We want heaven – the blue sky above us is where humans belong. When the Blue motivators are in us we are seeking to realise all we can be – we want creativity – we want freedom – we want meaning. At our heart the Blue motivator demands growth. And strangely, here there is a paradox: as we get seriously Blue motivated we find that the changes we want only lead us into the eternal now, which never changes. So what do you choose for the next few months? What motivators are obsessing you? How will you feed them?


And I know what you are thinking – and you are right! You are thinking, “Got you James – there’s a fourth motivator, isn’t there?” That’s right, what if I want a bit of all three colours? Of course. Let’s call that the Rainbow motivation!




MOTIVATION & THE GREAT ESCAPE or 'building our ability to persist'




The old masters used to observe the natural world and discern what lessons could be learned from it. We see this evident in our western tradition of poetry, where many of the great writers of their respective ages had a seeming affinity with the natural world and human nature that led to them creating scenes and images of profound beauty. We see it even more strongly in the martial arts traditions of the east, where individual fighting styles are often named after animals: tiger, monkey, crane, etcetera. I learned one such lesson from the natural world a few decades ago, albeit it was rather less grand and beautiful than the past ones I have cited!


I was lying in bed, almost on the verge of sleep. My wife snored (I mean, breathed very quietly and beautifully) next to me, obviously deeply asleep. Suddenly, the fabric of the universe didn’t seem quite right. There was some disturbance, a small noise that was almost imperceptible at first, but slowly it gnawed at my consciousness until I became fully alert – eyes wide open – listening for danger.


Scratch, scratch, scratch. Rustle. It was so soft that I doubted for a moment, was it my imagination? No! I turned on the bedside light, “Linda … I think …”


Pandemonium broke out. We leapt out of the bed in a frantic search. There! There!


Our son’s hamster, Nicky, had broken out from his cage.


It was 2:00am in the morning. We frantically scrambled to follow his tiny, scurrying body, then scrambled again for a box to gently return him to his metal bastion.


After a stressful search and capture, we securely locked him back in his “Gulag”. Our son Joe snored on, happy and oblivious.


We returned to bed, congratulating ourselves. But an hour later, 3:00am, Nicky escaped again – making a second dash for freedom.


The search began again. Finally, we got him back in his cage and gave him a grape. There was a pause of deep bliss, of calm, and in this moment I wondered: how did he do it?


The cage looked as secure as Alcatraz (albeit for hamsters). It had a metal frame, hard plastic locks, and a weighty cage lid that had to be twisted to be opened. We’d had Nicky for a year at this point, and he’d never escaped before; had one of us made a mistake? A careless oversight?


Examining the evidence, dreamily entertaining the notion of myself a kind of pet detective, I realised this was not the case.


Nicky had moved one of his toys to the centre of the cage. When standing on top of this cage, he was able to place both of his little paws on the lid. By applying his bodyweight from this vantage, he was able to turn this lid and open the cage. He had learned, presumably by watching us, that a twisting motion was needed to open the lid. The ingenuity left me pretty speechless. It’s then that the lesson struck me.


To be successful, we may utilise many strategies, such as strengthening our purpose, taking responsibility, committing to excellence, being of service to others, and seeking synergy from co-operation, and of course increasing creativity… but there is another factor that is vitally important, one that Nicky demonstrated in abundance: persistence. Nicky tested that elaborate cage to destruction – every crevice, every corner, every angle. His teeth gnawed here, gnawed there, and importantly he never gave up. We see this in the success stories of famous athletes, writers, musicians, and others—they keep going no matter how many setbacks or rejections they suffer. It was something I “already knew” in some sense, at least at a conscious level, but the image of that determined hamster, tiny and seemingly powerless, cracking out of the “Gulag” was much more potent than any of those celebrity stories. It was purer. The message finally reached me at an unconscious (and hence far deeper) level.


Nicky knew nothing of discouragement. Even after his two great escapes, he was still looking for the weak spot, the next opportunity. That’s how we should be in business. We cannot afford to stand still and accept our fate. We must test the boundaries, create solutions, and never lose heart. As Thomas Watson Snr, founder of IBM, said, “If you want to increase your success, increase your failure rate!”


We need, then, to strengthen our resolve to persist. One way that we can do this is by increasing our motivation levels. When we are motivated, we have the energy to keep going and the resilience to bounce back from setbacks. We’re also more highly aware of our purpose. When we have this focus on purpose, we’re prepared to put up with the setbacks, because we can reconnect with the reason for doing what we’re doing: the end-goal, perhaps even reward for our long labours. The key, however, which is again something Nicky demonstrated so brilliantly, is that we must not merely persist doing the exact same thing over and over again, but trying out different methods until we come up with the one that works, thereby creating a new and ingenious way forward. They say the definition of madness is “doing the same thing and expecting a different result”, after all.


The first step to increasing our motivation, which in turn will build our ability to persist, is to become aware of what motivates us: is it security (Defender), belonging (Friend), recognition (Star), control (Director), material gain (Builder), acquiring and passing on knowledge (Expert), creativity (Creator), making a difference to others (Searcher), or freedom and independence (if little Nicky could complete a Motivational Map, surely Spirit motivator would be his number one!), or even a combination of several of these? These are the nine primary drivers that influence human behaviour, and by recognising which ones are acting on us most strongly, we can harness more energy, more enthusiasm, and the endless optimism of Nicky the Hamster: guru of the Gulag!







MOTIVATION & THE CENTIPEDE or 'taking care of the details'...


In the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” We see this time and time again where one small overlooked element causes the whole house of cards to come crashing down. It is often in the small things that the telltale signs may be read about the state of an organisation or relationship’s health. We have to get the small details right, and in doing so, will often fix the big things.


Take motivation as a case in point. For many organisations or leaders, motivation is considered a relatively unimportant factor, a “nice-to-have”. If they’re making profit, and everyone is being paid on time, then surely the minor issue of a few disgruntled employees is no major issue? Of course, they fail to see that over time this “small” issue will become a major one, and indeed, if it is not redressed, possibly cause the collapse of the organisation. In addition, the issue of staff motivation, whilst on the surface seeming to be purely a “people” or “HR” issue, will in fact cause knock-on effects in every other department and facet of the business. Demotivated people don’t sell, which leads to loss of revenue. Demotivated people leave, which leads to the extortionate costs of recruitment multiplying. Demotivated people spread bad press, such as “It was awful working for XYZ, don’t apply for a job there.” Or, in some ways even more disastrous, “Don’t by XYZ products, they mistreat their staff!” This is detrimental to the strength of your brand, loses even more revenue, and closes down new opportunities. As you can see this “small” issue of motivation, left unaddressed, suddenly affects everything and everyone.


Of course, motivation is particularly important to me, but motivation is not the only “small detail” that can make a colossal difference to your organisation. There are many small upkeep factors that we must pay due attention to. In the light of Covid, and all the big things going on in the world, we are more likely than ever to overlook these small things as we’re overwhelmed with these crises and large challenges. However, arguably, it is still more important to focus on the little things; we have no control over Covid, after all, but we do have control over whether our staff feel valued and rewarded, whether our website is optimised, and whether we decide to put those extra-personal touches in all we do, in relation to customer-service or otherwise!


This principle is not only true of the business world. We can see it in our personal relationships and self-development as well. When you think about your relationships, whether friendships, family relationships, or romantic ones, don’t the small details count for so much more? It’s the little things our partners or friends do that make a difference to us day-to-day. When the little attentive things stop, often this precipitates a serious calamity or deterioration in the relationship.


Likewise, when we think about personal development, it’s the little things we do – a ten-minute yoga practice each day, a mindfulness or meditation routine, a regular creative practice – that becomes transformative over time. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bootcamp, where you go away for three weeks and study or train in an intensive fashion. But the learning we acquire from a bootcamp cannot be maintained without these small habits and elements in place.


There is an American story I came across a while ago and love, that illustrates this attitude perfectly, I’ll share with you now…




One day, not so long ago, two teams of animals decided to compete to see who was best at football. It was a case of the large animals, The Lumpers, versus the small ones, the Tiny Team. Elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions and tigers versus rats, skunks, hedgehogs, frogs and, well, a centipede.


Naturally, there was a lot of animosity and name-calling.


“We’ll crush you, small fry!”

“You big lumpuses!”


The day arrived. The coach for Team Tiny was very excited.


“Go out – give it everything you got,” he said. “Remember – you can do it – believe in yourself.”


So out they went.


They returned at halftime, bruised, crestfallen, and down 3-0. The rhino (the elephant’s run always tended to peter out) – once he’d gotten up steam – was unstoppable. But the Tiny Team’s coach was a real motivator.


“Go on,” he said. “Don’t quit now – winners never quit and quitters never win. Visualise that ball going in the back of their net – next thing, you’ll see it happen!”


So out they went. The game had barely kicked off when the rhino got possession and charged straight at goal. He was in the penalty area and on-side. The goalkeeper – the frog – had simply jumped aside. All the rhino had to do was shoot… when suddenly there was a green flash. The rhino, hypnotised, crashed over his own feet. The rest of the players were riveted watching him collide with the mud and into the goal post. Thud! And the ball, it went in the other end. 3-1.


A huge cheer went up.


“Who did that?” cried Team Tiny’s coach in ecstasy.

“Got ‘em that time, coach,” yelled the centipede.

“Well done, centipede, keep it up,” beamed the coach.

“Right,” thought the tiger. A neat bit of paw and claw work later and there he was, open goal in front, when … whoosh … a green blur, and suddenly a goal for the Tiny Team. The tiger hadn’t even felt the ball leave his control. It was now 3-2.


“Who did that?” cried Team Tiny’s coach.

“Got ‘em again, coach,” yelled the centipede.

“Well done, centipede, keep it up.”

That’s more like it, thought the coach.


Now the lion – who always saw himself as a cut above the rest – was really hacked off. He made it his personal business to score (usually he couldn’t be bothered). One roar and the small animals vacated the pitch on mass. He was just about to put it in the back of the net when … whoosh, green lightning … and the score was 3-3! Unbelievable!


“Who did that?” roared the coach.

“Showed ‘em again,” chuckled the centipede.

“Well done, centipede, keep it up – we can win this one,” said the coach. Then a quizzical look came over his face. “By the way, centipede, where were you in the first half?”

The centipede replied, “Putting on my shoes, coach.”






You see, the best vision, the most sublime goals, the most wonderful exhortations and inspirations in the world won’t work unless… we really ensure we’ve taken care of the smallest details! In the centipede’s case: tying their many, many shoelaces!


So, what small details might trip you up – at work, in your relationships, or in your self development?


Here are some typical examples:


At work – lack of punctuality, failure to keep promises, disorderly work habits and record keeping?


In relationships – lack of time spent with a loved person or friend, inattention to others’ needs, critical and blaming spirit, failure to generously praise and encourage.


For self development – lack of exercise, lack of sleep, lack of special hobby/interest, no ‘learning’ stretch built into future programme for your life.


Be honest with yourself – where do you need to tighten your focus? If you’re not sure, then ask someone you trust.


For more information on motivation, why not pick up a copy of Mapping Motivation.

MOTIVATION & THE DEVIL or 'the secret of demotivation'...


There are two distinct camps emerging in the world of business development. Firstly, there are those who believe that technology (AI, robotics, etc) is going to solve all of their business’s problems. For them, there is sadly little hope; they are in a hell of believing the future is always around the corner, the water nearly within reach, but never quite getting there (see the myth of Tantalus!). Certainly we need to update our businesses from time to time and explore what opportunities technology might bring, but there are problems technology cannot address, and never will, no matter how sophisticated our computers become. The second camp are those who are increasingly beginning to wise up to the idea that improving structure, strategy, or systems is one thing, but unless the people can ‘perform’, all their labour is in vain. Even in times of crisis, where performance is partly motivated by necessity, we recognise its tremendous value. People who can perform, despite the lockdown, despite the fear and obstacles, are indescribably valuable. They can keep entire organisations afloat with the value they generate!


Great businesses can nurture and encourage their staff to continue to perform despite these trying circumstances; this is likely to create loyalty and engagement, and lead to retention. And believe me, even now, where employment prospects are slim, maintaining staff is still a priority. I’ve encountered several businesses who have handled the lockdown so poorly they’ve had all their staff jump ship, leaving them rudderless and powerless. They left people feeling so undervalued, and unable to perform, that they would rather risk the uncertainty of a job search in lockdown than stay a moment longer. Now that is truly awful!


Naturally, people performing begins at the top. As the great Quality guru, Crosby, once put it: “Good ideas and solid concepts have a great deal of difficulty being understood by those who earn their living by doing it some other way.” Those at the top can be the most averse to realistically appraising themselves. But if they don’t, as sure as night follows days, neither will their staff.


Furthermore, given the importance of people to our long-term success, it really does pay off to consider recruitment, retention, and reward in-depth, and go on considering it. Paraphrasing Sun Tzu, Krause observes: “Leaders who complain about morale of their employees evidently do not realise that employee’s morale is a mirror of confidence in their leadership.” If we substitute the word “morale” for “motivation”, then we can see even more clearly how this applies. We often see this disparity in the results of Motivational Team Maps, where we find that the motivation of the team-leader should be higher than their staff, but often is not, which explains the negative trajectory of the team’s performance. This is a painful realisation for many, but if we can courageously accept the lesson it teaches, we are on the way to significantly improving our approach to people.


But how do we get the best performance out of people? How do we “nurture” them even in these trying times? Well, naturally, I think the key lies in motivation. Maintaining the motivation levels of our staff, of all levels, should be our number one priority, especially given the uncertainty of the future ahead. There is a folk story that illustrates this principle; it goes something like this…


The Devil realised he was never going to win in his battle against God, so he decided to throw in the towel. To this end, he held a car boot sale in order to flog off all his tools and assets.


The day came – it had been well advertised – and various colleagues and peers turned up looking for bargains. And, boy, were there some bargains!


There was this sharp, shiny, pointy spear called Pride that could shatter anyone’s armour. Very expensive, but a tasty piece of equipment.


Alongside this there was a mace with strange eyes set all around its head, so that it could see, in three-hundred-and-sixty degrees, everything that was going on around it; sometimes, if the mace spotted something it didn’t like, it would swing of its own accord. This was Envy.


All in all, the Devil had some fantastic, high-tech equipment – stuff that could really mess people up. All of it was very expensive. His colleagues were standing there, drooling over it, wondering which pieces they could afford to buy.


But in the centre of the collection was a large, nondescript, blunt, lustreless piece of metallic tubing – its only possible use was as leverage.


Beelzebub said, “How much is that old piece of junk?”


The Devil smiled and quoted a price. There was a gasp all round – the price he asked was worth more than all the other pieces put together.


That’s outrageous!” said Beelzebub, “that’s just a piece of junk.”


That,” said the Devil, “is Demotivation. Without it, none of the other tools work. When I want to tempt someone I always start with Demotivation. Buy it and you’ll see.”




When we are motivated, it inoculates us against negative emotions, against the bad experiences we have during the day, against doubt and fear. To continue the analogy of the story, when we are demotivated, we are more vulnerable to the Devil’s temptations. Nothing in heaven or earth can entirely remove the nagging voice of doubt in our minds. We’re human, after all. If we aren’t questioning ourselves, then are we truly thinking at all? But, the sway that nagging, doubting voice has on us is directly influenced by how motivated we are. When we’re highly motivated, we can tell the voice in our head, The Devil, that he’s wrong: we are good at what we do, we are going to succeed.


Motivation is energy, as I have often reiterated, and energy gives us resilience. Resilience is often described as our ability to “bounce back” from setbacks, but we cannot bounce back unless we are truly motivated and energised. Demotivation leads to low energy. Again, this leaves us vulnerable to The Devil’s metaphorical temptations. For example, if we are exhausted every day, are we likely to go for that run to keep our fitness up? Are we likely to put in those few extra hours to make sure the project is “done right”? No, we’re likely to cut corners and take the “easy path”, as Yoda might say.


Anyone who has ever witnessed the affects of Demotivation on staff will know that it’s far more disastrous than lack of skills or knowledge. People without “hard skills” can be taught them. In fact, even soft skills can be taught to a degree. Clinical psychologists go through a vigorous seven year (and sometimes more) training programme which teaches them how to listen, how to ask the right questions, how to empower other people and validate their ideas (but also politely and gently challenge self-destructive ones). But motivation cannot be artificially instilled; it has to be implemented and worked on. If we fail to do this and become demotivated, nothing: no training, technology, or pep-talks will be able to get us to perform, and we lose our inoculation against negative thought patterns and damaging emotions that can lead to even deeper problems.


So, don’t let the Devil destroy your business. Use Motivational Maps, and kick him back to hell!


For me, success with a client, is not that somebody says ‘This is really interesting, thanks’, but ‘How can we imbed it in our business?’.”

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Cassandra Andrews is our eleventh and final instalment, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond.


Cassandra Andrews is a global Motivation and Employee Engagement Expert, passionate about helping business leaders engage with their people and understand and realise the power of Employee Engagement. She is the founder of Engaging Norfolk, to start a movement where Norfolk is recognised as a dynamic and great place to work.



HR Star (2017_08_02 10_18_52 UTC) HR Spirit (2017_08_02 10_18_52 UTC)


I did a Map in October, because I hadn’t done one in about a year. And then I did one last month, just to see what was going on! I’ve been on a bit of a personal development journey during lockdown. The shocking thing for me, was that they were almost identical! I have a high Star, and I’ve been working on a number of issues. It’s quite tough being a high Star, in terms of the pressure you put on yourself. I’ve been doing all this work with Bevis (Bevis is my coach) and he said he thought the Star would probably be less dominant in the profile. No! It’s exactly the same!”


That’s interesting, because in the light of coronavirus and lockdown, we’ve been having lots of conversations with Mappers about how people's profiles are changing in response to these dramatic circumstances.


I know, without a doubt, that my top three motivators, they’re really high scores, and they have driven me throughout my life. My Spirit is 37! I always joke it’s the reason I’m divorced. I really don’t like people telling me what to do! When I was working in my last job (before quitting to become a BP), which was a not-for-profit, I was permanently frustrated with the bureaucracy, the time it took anything to happen, and the way that I was managed. Everything about it frustrated me and now I see why.”


My Builder is a 33. I like stuff. And having an above average standard of living is super important to me. Often when I do debriefs with people, especially when I look at where their Searcher is, they can be quite uncomfortable with having a high Builder. I’m not ashamed of it at all! I like stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But then, my Searcher’s not as high! I think I’m actually the opposite of most of the people in the Maps community.”


Certainly! The majority of Mappers have Searcher in their top three or even number one, it seems. There are a lot of narratives around “materialism”, and the extremes of materialism that of course can be all-consuming, which has given rise to negative associations with having Builder in your profile, so it’s interesting to meet someone who has embraced it!


I think it’s really important, when you run your own business, that your Builder is high, otherwise where is your drive coming from?”


This is an excellent point, because not only is the Builder about material gains and success, but it is also the most competitive of the motivators.

My third motivator is Star, which is a 28. And then the next motivator is at 18, so there’s a clear priority there! The thing that is potentially a bit of an Achilles’ Heel for me is my Expert. It’s my lowest motivator.”


I asked if she felt it was difficult sometimes, because the Maps, whilst easily understood in terms of what they mean, are also a rich and detailed subject that require a lot of expertise to deliver.


I don’t, actually. I think that’s driven by my Star, how I want to be seen! So, I read a lot. In fact, I emailed James Sale recently, because I started getting into the Enneagram. And now I’m a BP, I feel it’s a missing link to help my LPs have a holistic understanding of where James was coming from [when he created the Maps]. I just love it! So, in terms of this Expert, what an Achilles’ Heel in terms of me learning about that, and it also impacts my Builder, because the way I’m going to make money is by showing my expertise at my craft! But, I think what it is for me, is I hate detail. Even in conversations, it can just switch me off. That’s my Achilles’ Heel when I’m dealing with clients. There are some people, usually Expert motivators, and they just always have to be right. It drives me nuts!”


This is really interesting because although the Maps tap into universal human drives, established with their roots in Maslow, there is a lot of individuality to how people interpret their motivators and the meaning they ascribe to the motivators.


I find the whole combination of motivators fascinating! I’ve done hundreds of debriefs. I’ve rarely done a debrief when people don’t have a “wow” moment. That’s why I love Motivational Maps! I think it’s so much more powerful than a personality profile, because it’s real time. And you can take action. You can’t really take action on your personality!”


I wondered how that connected to being a BP.


I fairly recently became a BP. I haven’t trained anyone yet! My motivation for learning about the Enneagram is because I’m now a BP and I take this seriously. The reason I became a BP is in part to grow my business. And, I’m a high Builder, so I like the idea of passive income.

I used to have a business a number of years ago. It was a recruitment business and it was a franchise. I ran that for 8 years. At the time, I thought ‘This is the way forward’, I wanted to run a business that I was a franchiser of. Supporting a network of franchisees was an exciting feeling for me. Probably because of my Star! Now, my Spirit’s so high, I just think ‘Oh God’!”


There’s way too much management there for a Spirit!


Yes! And, for me, the compromise is actually if I can train LPs. Firstly, my mission is to get Motivational Maps into as many businesses as possible and to embrace it. Predominantly, I want to do that in the States. Secondly, I really want to be able to support the LPs. I just see, every day when I’m working with a client, the impact it’s making, and I think: ‘This needs to be out there more!’ And the only way I can do that, because I have a ceiling on my time, is by training other people.”


A lot of Mappers have sought to bring Maps to the States, but for whatever reason, it has not quite had the impact that it has had in the UK, and indeed, in European countries such as Hungary. We discussed why that might be.


I love the States. I’m fascinated by the different cultures there. The fact that Maps don’t really exist there to me is a complete gap in the market. And I want to fill it! I have big plans to fill it. That is my purpose currently!”









As Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor and philosopher, observed: “The secret of all victory lies in the organisation of the non-obvious”. One of the “non-obvious” factors that we come across time and time again when working with businesses of all kinds is that one of the primary responsibilities of a leader is to motivate their employees and teams. This is only becoming more important as the majority of people move to remote-working conditions, where the “buzz” of a bustling workplace can no longer be relied upon to instil energy and confidence.


We have discussed leadership extensively on this blog already, but it is worth recapping just a little bit, because leadership is fundamentally intertwined with teams and team-building.


So, why do team-leaders need to motivate employees? Or in other words, “Why spend time motivating people who are already being well paid to get on with their jobs?” We encounter this sentiment frequently, but if you have been following this series of blogs at all, you will know that the answer is simple: motivation is energy. When we do the things we’re motivated by, then we have energy, which means attention-to-detail, productivity, and polish. When we’re demotivated, we’re just going through the motions; it’s like wading through tar. So leaders, as the “trend-setters” who are hopefully leading by example, must be able to motivate their employees and their teams, as teams play a vital role in any organisation.


But motivation is not just about delivering charismatic speeches or throwing wild parties; these might work for a small minority of people with certain motivational drivers, but certainly not for everyone. Motivation is a subtler art that requires delicate tools. It’s as much about the way you say things, for some people, as what you’re saying. And in some cases, it’s about saying nothing at all and just listening – a fact that is often forgotten by senior management!


In previous blogs we have given leaders tools to be able to measure and assess your teams’ performance in very simple and straightforward ways. In this blog, I want to provide a three more useful tools, all of which involve the Motivational Map of course!



It is important to consider that given teams need a strong remit (as we have discussed in previous blogs), then examining the Motivational Profile of a team is not simply an exercise in determining whether the team is motivated and whether there are an internal conflicts or “red flags”, but also whether the team’s motivational profile is “fit for purpose”. For example, if we need speed in the workplace, then ideally we would like a team with “faster” motivators (generally speaking the Growth-cluster motivators). When we say “faster” or “slower” here, we generally mean in terms of decision-making. Growth cluster motivators tend to be “gut instinct” driven, which means they make decisions fast and instinctively. Relationship cluster motivators, on the other hand, tend to weigh the decisions more carefully. On that note: if we require the team to be thorough, accurate and careful, then a predominance of slower motivators would not be amiss. There is no right or wrong set of motivators here, any more than there is a right or wrong motivational profile for an individual, but context is all-important. As a leader, if you need to determine whether the team you’ve pulled together is appropriate for the task at hand.



Just as in an individual Maps profile, it is worth considering what the dominant motivational cluster of the team is. This not only relates to “speed”, but also many other factors and potential traits. Of course, every Maps profile both individual and team-based will have its own unique cocktail of motivators which can mean numerous different outcomes. The Maps in no way stereotypes or “fixes” behaviours, so we are by no means saying that all outcomes are predictable, but specific drivers are more likely to lead to certain outcomes. As a team-leader, it is important to be aware of this.


When Relationship motivators dominate the team, motivation comes primarily from feeling secure with others orbelonging. Friendship is likely to be a very important part of the team vibe (we have discussed the Friend motivator’s vital role in teams before). A Relationship dominant team will therefore tend to be process and procedurally driven –i.e. efficiency over effectiveness. They are likely to value accuracy and doing things the “right” way. It is worth beingmindful that because they like security and predictability they may shy away from taking risks and avoiding change. This can mean lost opportunities and can effectively lead to a ‘country club’ atmosphere around work that may be underachieving. Could they perform at a higher level by approaching risk and change with a more positive attitude?


When Achievement motivators dominate the team, then motivation comes primarily from control of resources, people and technology, and mastery of the field. They will tend to be results driven and competitive; it’s about the bottom line and measurable indicators of success. Because they enjoy competition and achievement so much, however, they may quickly burn out, as it can be all work and no play. This can ironically also lead to lost opportunities, as well as leading to them missing out on fulfilling relationships within the team, relationships that can also have a significant positive impact on the team’s overall performance when people start cooperating and working together. Lastly, the relentless pursuit of objectives can also drive out creativity and innovation.


When Growth motivators dominate the team, then motivation comes primarily from innovation and creativity, autonomy, fulfilling “the mission” and making a difference. They will tend to be ideas and future driven, individualistic, and concerned with achieving their full potential and being all they can be. Be mindful that with such a growth and self-development focus they are unlikely to be team players by nature. Further, their focus on change and being involved with new things often means details are usually not their strong point; they can initiate ideas and projects, but sometimes fail to finish or follow through.


Finally, it is worth discussing when no cluster is dominant, and the motivators are mixed in the team. In terms of the actual scoring this means that there is narrow range between all three types of motivator, no more than a 4% difference. Remember that context is everything: all combinations have their strengths – and weaknesses. It could well be a strength in which a variety of motivators are effectively deployed through appropriate roles within the team. Alternatively, it could be a complete mess of internal conflicts and lack of unity. A warning sign that the motivational profile needs to be addressed would be that the team is indecisive or uncommitted or even unfocused.



Lastly, I want to talk about the tools that leaders have for assessing whether their teams are able to cope with change. Given the speed of change in our current climate, with new government legislations and rulings, new “normals” we are constantly having to adapt to, this feels more pertinent than ever!


The team map has what we call a Change Index: the property demonstrating a pre-disposition towards change (and actually an attitude towards risk as well; for our purposes these two terms, change and risk, are virtually synonymous). The Change Index is calculated via an algorithm based on a weighting of the motivators, which seeks to establish how receptive a team is to change. Change is not good or bad in itself, but if big changes are necessary – and increasingly they seem to be – then whether or not a team is emotionally ready or resistant to that change is an important factor to consider before implementation; it needs to be taken into account because even the best ideas will fail if the team motivationally or emotionally are not ready to accept them. And let us also be aware: teams that resist changes may have good reasons to do so, and may subsequently be proven right in their opposition if it was a bad idea!


So, now you have three new tools for developing your team! We hope this empowers you and your colleagues to stay motivated during these unprecedented times.




If you wish to find out more about teams, my book Mapping Motivation for Top Performing Teams is coming out December 2020. You can pre-order it here.



Bob Garratt, in his book The Fish Rots from the Head (1997), observed, “A Value is a belief in action.” I think this is very true. Most organisations, when citing their values, tend to use nouns – such as “integrity” or “creativity” – static words that don’t reflect action but rather something passively held. This is perhaps part of the reason why so many organisations fail to embody and “live” their values.


I alluded in my previous blog on “Team Voice” about how Motivational Maps can help organisations to discover whether their organisation’s stated values, and the inner drivers of their employees correlate. It is my intention in this blog to unpack this a bit further and show how this relates to teams.


When we are talking about teams: creating them, nurturing them, leading them, and unleashing their full potential, it is important that we bear in mind that teams, like organisations as a whole, will be beholden to a set of values. These values are partly self-generated, of course, but they may also be imposed upon them. For example, if a team has been created to solve a particularly difficult problem, then they may have had the necessity of “finding creative solutions” impressed upon them. Teams, by definition, also carry in-built values, such as “working together”, though one would be surprised at how many alleged team-players can very quickly become argumentative even knowing that cooperation is expected and necessary.


When a team’s motivators are aligned with its values, then magic can happen, because the team’s energy is naturally moving in the right direction, which means that the team is very likely to take action and live the values through doingbecause we tend to do the things that motivate us and feed our energy, not the things we feel we have to.


So, how do we make sure these values and inner drivers are aligned?


The first step is to identify what the “perceived” values of the team or organisation are. This is relatively simple, as most organisations will already have a set of values, either on their website, or in their internal communications. It is highly likely that these values will be static nouns, so I would say that one way to improve and clarify your values would be to turn them into verbs – doing words.


However, we don’t mean simply performing a grammatical exercise. For example, turning “creativity” into “to create”. We mean really getting into the specifics of what this value could mean for your staff and leaders day-to-day. So, “creativity” might instead become “always looking for creative solutions”. Whilst not perfect, it’s a good deal more powerful than simply one static word. Some words will be more difficult than others to convert. For example, “integrity”. How might that be transformed into a “doing” phrase. We could say, “to always act in a way that is honest, fair, kind and truthful.” You will have noticed that the word “always” comes into these statements quite a bit, and I think that is important, because anything less than “always” is a little bit wishy-washy.


Once we have established what the intended values of the organisation or team are, we can then use Motivational Maps to identify whether these values are being lived. This works well because “motivators aggregated become strong indicators of the actual values lived, as opposed to espoused! What does this mean? It means that at the end of the day whatever the organisation says its values are, its employees have to live these values, and whether they will or not mightily depends on their motivational profile” (MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR ENGAGEMENT, James Sale & Steve Jones).


It’s worth noting that this can be a very challenging process and we have to be brave – prepared to look into the mirror of truth. It might be disconcerting or even destabilising to discover that our values are not ultimately important to our staff and team-members deep down. But, if we are able to be honest with ourselves, and “grab the bull by the horns” then it can lead to healing and growth as we work towards re-alignment.


To give an example of what I mean by this, what if your organisation’s values were “finding creative solutions to problems”, “anticipating the unexpressed needs of the customer”, and “demonstrating knowledge and expertise”. This is a hodgepodge of different statements but it will serve as an example! However, upon doing a map, you found out that your team has Director, Friend, and Defender as your top three motivators. To recap,


  • The Director wants control of people and resources

  • The Friend wants to belong

  • The Defender wants security and predictability


If we reverse-engineer the formerly “espoused” values, we might get the following Motivational Maps profile


  • “finding creative solutions to problems” = The Creator

  • “anticipating the unexpressed needs of the customer” = The Searcher (making a difference)

  • “demonstrating knowledge and expertise” = The Expert


Essentially, you want the team to value creativity, customer-focus, and expertise, but instead they want authority, belonging, and security. This means that with the best will in the world, their natural tendency will be to move towards these latter drivers rather than remaining “on target” with the former values of the team. In addition, many of their actual motivators conflict directly with the values of the organisation or team. For example, The Defender generally doesn’t like to take risks, because it values predictability and security, but the nature of creativity is to take risks, experiment, and change things!


What might we do to address such a gap, having discovered it?


This is not a simple question to answer and of course will be unique to each organisation or team’s predicament, but here are some ideas and strategies that could help:


  • Re-evaluate the organisation or team’s values, and whether they are achievable standards given the motivational energies of the people involved.


  • Evaluate whether there are any gaps that could be addressed by training or by moving people around. We often find that people are very haphazardly deployed in organisations, which means the wrong energy in the wrong places (for example, extremely socially motivated individuals working alone in a room on a computer). It might be you have untapped potential in another part of the organisation.


  • Develop “reward strategies” that focus on motivators. Kenneth W Thomas remarked: “You need a diagnostic framework to point you toward what’s most likely to make a difference and to save you from having to try motivational solutions in an inefficient, hit-or-miss way.” If we use Maps to know what people want, then we can motivate them to an even greater degree by giving them appropriate rewards, rather than “guessing” at what they would like.


These are just some ways and is by no means comprehensive. However, knowing the difference between espoused and static values, and lived and embodied ones connected to our motivators, is enough to begin the journey towards more productivity, happiness, and success within your organisation or team.




If you wish to find out more about teams, my book Mapping Motivation for Top Performing Teams is coming out December 2020. You can pre-order it here.



One of the reasons why Engagement is popular with HR and in organisational literature is that it is, allegedly, ‘measurable’. Indeed, the Macleod Report makes that very point. But whilst being measurable is a good thing, because then we can view the effects of our actions to improve things, yet one has to ask the question: given its measurability, why hasn’t employee engagement significantly improved in the 20 or so years since this concept went mainstream? Many commentators have noted this phenomenon.i” – MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR ENGAGEMENT, JAMES SALE & STEVE JONES


It will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever completed one, but staff surveys are by and large massive wastes of organisational time and effort. There are several reasons for this which I cover in detail in my book Mapping Motivation for Engagement, co-authored with Steve Jones. However, to give a brief précis of four key reasons why they don’t work:


1) They are expensive for what they do; after all, what are managers and HR experts being paid for if not to understand their people?


2) Surveys are easily manipulated because they are very obvious. It’s a little bit like those visa-forms when travelling to America that ask “Have you been affiliated with a terrorist organisation?” If I had, I am hardly likely to answer “Yes”, am I?


3) The information obtained from a survey, especially if there are “comment boxes”, is often fragmentary and not easy to assimilate, implement, or respond to.


4) And further to the last point, one of the frequent criticisms of staff surveys is that the issues they raise are not subsequently addressed or repaired.


Given these points, it would seem obvious that staff surveys are not helpful, but many organisations still feel compelled to have them, and there is a very valid and wholesome reason for that, which is hearing the “employee voice”. An organisation should really want to hear what their staff have to say, and any efforts to discover what staff are saying should be lauded. However, what we propose is that surveys are not the ideal way to go about obtaining this feedback. The Motivational Map is far more effective for a number of reasons. Again, these are covered in far greater detail in our book, but here is a brief summary:


1) Unlike a staff survey, Motivational Maps are relatively inexpensive to implement; one reason for this of course is that they never need to be bespoke.


2) Maps are far faster to implement and understand for the same reason that they do not need to be ‘customised’, as their language is universal.


3) Maps are subtle, and reveal both specifics and trends.


4) The information Maps provide, due to it being partly numerical (aka a metric), can be readily understood and can be immediately acted upon.


Bonus Point: The Map tells us what people want. When we do a Team Map, we begin to understand what a team collectively wants (see point (3) about “trends”!). This can give us valuable information about whether a team is truly a team or just a mob of individuals. One can even do an Organisational Map, which will then establish what the entire organisation wants, and this begins to lead us towards organisational “values” (as Motivators are certainly correlated with our values and beliefs), which in turn begs the mighty question: “Does our organisation truly live and embody its values?”


To return to the theme of “teams” however, which is the subject of this blog series, how then can we use Motivational Maps to “hear the voice” of our teams? In my two previous articles, we explored the four characteristics of real teamsand how to measure the efficacy of teams. This article will therefore focus on how we can use the information gleaned from a tool like the Map to better energise, reward, and guide our teams.


To understand how we can use this information, we first, however, have to understand what information the Maps give us. The short answer is: quite a lot!


In previous blogs I have covered some of the fundamental basics of the Maps. However, here I want to discuss with you three key - but very simple - things to look out for when mapping a team, as these elements are certainly part of listening to the “employee voice”.



If you Map a team, what is the range of motivational scoring between the highest and lowest? If one person in the team is 90% motivated, and another is 10% motivated, this tells you a few things: (a) that the team is probably not cohesive, (b) that day-to-day behaviours or activities in the team may be actively de-motivating for some but not all team members, (c) simply: that some people are getting what they want from the team, but others aren’t.


As you can see, even looking at this very simple data, we can already glean a lot of information.



We have in Maps a concept called “internal opposition” which is where someone has two or more priorities highly ranked in their profile that conflict. For example, if someone has the Creator motivator and the Defender motivator, that might create a split priority, as the Creator loves to take risks and make new things, whereas the Defender likes to mitigate risk and have stability in their lives. Needless to say, these conflicts can also occur between other people. If someone in the team is very high Defender, and someone else is high Creator, then these two people are likely to disagree on a lot of things, because their values and priorities are going to be utterly different.


However, we need not even go to this deep level of analysis to get massive benefit from the Maps (we can leave that to the Maps experts!). There is an even more simple factor which we can explore in relation to “employee voice”, and that is whether their motivators align or clash with the identity of being a team itself. Some motivators are synergistic with teamwork, the most obvious example being the Friend, as their desire for belonging can truly “make a house a home” and create a sense of camaraderie and community within the team. If we were to look at purely the Friend motivator for each member of the team, and how adequately the motivator is met out of 10, that would tell us a lot about who feels like they are part of the team and a valued member, and who doesn’t!


Conversely, some motivators are less aligned with teamwork. Please note this doesn’t mean they can’t be in a team, but simply that it is not innate and may require more thought and work around it. The most obvious example would be the Spirit motivator, which is the desire for freedom and independence. If there are people in your team that have Spirit as their number one motivator, how motivated are they? If they are more motivated than the other team members, then does that mean they feel they have successfully broken the hold the group has on them? If they are less, do they feel cramped and constrained?


Looking at these two motivators will already tell us a lot about the team.



It is impossible to expect high levels of motivation when our leader is less motivated than we are: we take our cues from the leader.” – MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR ENGAGEMENT, JAMES SALE & STEVE JONES


We must remember that when we say “leaders set an example” we have to mean it. If leaders are demotivated, then it is likely employees will be too. If we have a team that is being managed by someone demotivated then we have to look very seriously into why this is happening and whether the current manager is the right person, and has the right energy, to lead a team. A point I have made numerous times in my blogs and books is that one of the primary, if not theprimary, role of a leader is to motivate their staff. If they can motivate them, then organisation, productivity, creativity, and profits all follow.


So, have you mapped your team, and if you have, how does your team stack up when you consider these three key aspects? What is the voice of your team telling you?




If you wish to find out more about teams, my book Mapping Motivation for Top Performing Teams is coming out December 2020. You can pre-order it here.




Teamwork is seemingly more important than ever in our current climate. Those who are at work, such as our frontline health workers and supermarket employees, need to band together to combat the challenges and demands that COVID-19 and the general populace pose (though they may already be experienced with the latter one!). For those who are working from home, and communicating with their colleagues remotely, we need to discover new ways of capturing some of the magic, energy, and dynamism of being in the same room together with teammates. It’s difficult to collaborate with people remotely, and even harder to remain a “team” in the process, yet the problems our modern world is throwing at us demand teamwork!


In my last article, we explored the four characteristics of real teams and how teams can achieve exponentially more than just a group of individuals. In this article, I want to give you a helpful way to measure just how strong your team is, as well as identify any potential weaknesses.


In my book, Mapping Motivation, there is an activity which asks you to write down answers to the following questions:


How important is teamwork in your work?


How often do you conduct training programmes to ensure your team is effective, or how often do you experience such programmes?


How is the effectiveness of your team(s) reviewed?


How directly have you been involved in training programmes run by your direct line manager to ensure team building?


How many of your line managers review the effectiveness of their team(s)?


These questions are extremely useful to answer in and of themselves, and can give you some idea as to how your team is getting on, and areas to work on. You can also ask your clients these questions to build a clearer picture of their teams. Each question follows on from the next. So, for example, one might ask a manager or team-leader “How important is teamwork in your work?”. If they say “It’s vitally important”, then that might spur us to ask the second question, “How often do you conduct training programmes to ensure your team is effective, or how often do you experience such programmes?” If teamwork is vitally important, then surely they will be investing in developing their teams! Each question follows the proceeding one in a logical train.


To take this one step further, even more powerful than simply looking for an answer such as “yes” or “very important”, would be to score these each out of 10. To provide an example, “How is the effectiveness of your team reviewed?” - an answer of 1 might mean, “not at all”, whereas an answer of 10 might mean that “you are regularly reviewed to a high standard and get lots of feedback”. Add the scores of all five questions up, and multiply the total by 2, to get a percentage score (%). You now have a percentage that indicates to what extent you are functioning as a team!


You can take this one step further by applying what we would call the “four quadrant” methodology to your percentage. The quadrants are as follows:


1 – 35% – Action Zone

This means that the “team” is not really a team at all, but really a group that is likely to fall apart. Urgent attention is required, or there is a risk of the “team” collapsing into complete anarchy. This is called the Action Zone because one needs to take immediate action!


36 – 60% – Risk Zone

If this were a motivational profile, or what we call a PMA (Personal Motivation Audit), it would mean that motivation levels are extremely low, and likely to fall further unless we shift our focus. Similarly, with this team review, it means that there is little sense of being a team here, and this is only likely to diminish further unless we take proper steps towards improving aspects of the team dynamic. What scores can we increase? What is the most urgent one to address (for example, a score below 3)?


61% - 80% - Boost Zone

This means that the team is, in general, working well together. They are a team in most senses. However, there is room for further improvement! Maybe look at the lowest question score and work on boosting it.


81% - 100% - Optimal Zone

This would be a team performing optimally, totally in sync, regularly reviewing what they’re doing, going on training courses, and feeling like a team. The only danger here is complacency and “taking the hands off the wheel”. On the contrary, when a team reaches optimal level, as with optimal levels of motivation, the key becomes maintaining this with careful, nurturing attention.


You now have a very easy way of assessing to what extent your team is a team. Whilst not 100% accurate, there is a lot to be said for asking people to put a number on things (in fact, Likert scales and the like are built on this principle); unless one is engaged in active and wilful deception, the subconscious tends to supply a pretty accurate rating. Now that you can measure where you’re at, and identify potential weaknesses, you’re on your way to creating a truly fabulous and collaborative team, whether in lockdown or otherwise!




If you wish to find out more about teams, my book Mapping Motivation for Top Performing Teams is coming out December 2020. You can pre-order it here.




Throughout the history of this Motivational Memo blog, and running through the Mapping Motivation series of books, we have discussed the importance and efficacy of creating, and nurturing, good teams. As stated in the first Mapping Motivation book, “Everybody knows that teams are important because there is a relentless confirmation of this fact in the media, in education, and throughout organizational life. Our everyday expectations are that people should be ‘team players’...” The fifth (and final) Mapping Motivation book, coming out in December 2020, will exclusively deal with teams in all their complex and wondrous glory. So, in order to prepare you for these new insights, I thought it would be worth recapping what we already have learned about teams on this journey.

Firstly, at a very simplistic level, we have to understand that a team is different to a group. A group is a number of people that have been lumped together, either because they are part of the same department, or through some vicissitude of fate (the members of a governing body or association, for example). A team, on the other hand, is not random or haphazard, but knows distinctly what it is. Teams are far more than the sum of their parts. Possibly the best example is that of a football team. We regularly see teams that have hardly a star player in their ranks defeat the giants of Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea – and often it is because eleven players working cohesively can easily outperform eleven players who are not working together, even if the individual talents of the latter are superior.

However, whilst it may be easy to grasp this, I like to make things specific so that we can not only just intellectually understand how teams look and feel, but perhaps understand how they work at a deeper level, and therefore how to create them ourselves! From a Maps perspective, there are four distinguishing characteristics of a team:

1. They have a clear remit or mission

2. They are interdependent

3. They have a belief in the efficacy of being a team and teamwork

4. They are accountable, both to each other, and to the whole organisation

There is much more that can be said about all of these four points (indeed, Mapping Motivation for Top Performing Teams, the final book, unpacks these in exhaustive and original detail), but you can hopefully already begin to see how these factors would shape a group of individuals into a team. As a side note, it is interesting that there is a (popular) sub-genre of Fantasy literature which is sometimes referred to as “men on mission” (forgive the gender bias, as “men” is certainly meant to mean “people”). This invariably sees an “elite team” of individuals assemble for common purpose, go through trials and tribulations together on their “quest”, and eventually see their end goal completed (though sometimes at great cost). The Fellowship of the Ring comes to mind, of course, but we have seen numerous recent examples of this. Virtually every Fast & Furious film is “men on mission”. The Star Wars spin-off Rogue One was certainly a “men on mission” narrative.

What’s interesting is all these “men on mission” stories not only describe a journey towards some end goal or destination, but also the journey of a group of individuals to becoming a team, which is evidently not a straightforward process! If it was, I suppose writers throughout the ages, including myself, would not have written about it at such length!

But what is the journey to becoming a team? Well, a rocky one, to start with. We cannot immediately expect people to work with perfect synergy. There are certain people in the world with whom we might form an immediate connection, but to expect it of a group of people is a mistake! People need time to get the measure of each other, to “suss each other out”, and if we are talking about teams of eight people or more (I would say the maximum is thirteen at a push, and beyond that number sub-teams or sub-groups form as cohesion fragments!), then people will need time to find their place in the group.

The journey to becoming a team can be described by this helpful sequence:

Forming – where people are brought together to undertake some remit

Storming – where there is clash as people try to make sense of the process, but this produces a “dip” in performance as people may reject the process and each other

Norming – where essential agreements and collaborations begin

Performing – where the team truly becomes a team and begins to produce results

Beyond ‘Performing’ we have two possibilities. Either the team starts

Conforming – where, if we have failed to give the team further input, they begin to conform and become a clique rather than a real team; the focus, then, rather becomes activities rather than achievements


Transforming – where the team begins to rejuvenate itself and sustain its team qualities, and so becomes capable of further transformative and effective work. This is rare but possible.

If we allow for the fact that things have to get worse before they can get better, and we have the courage to ride through the difficult stages, then the rewards are immense. As I said in Mapping Motivation, “Like anything worthwhile, [teams] are difficult to build and easily destroyed.” But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.




We exist in a time when the world is rapidly changing around us, and we in turn need to change in order to keep up. Organisations are currently in the process of trying to understand what a “new normal” might look, from both a societal and economic point of view (in an earlier blog, I mentioned that the key “missing” ingredient here is the motivational perspective). Whatever our situation, whether we are furloughed and awaiting a return to world, employed but in completely different circumstances to what we’re used to, currently jobless, freelance or self-employed, or running a business, one thing remains clear: we have to find a new way to operate to survive in this climate, whether survival means bringing in sufficient revenue as an organisation, avoiding succumbing to mental burnout and exhaustion, or finding another job.


The problem with change, however, is that so often we think we can just “will it” into being. I’m not even talking about people who daydream and don’t take action. I mean that, even when we take action, often we are unable to fully enact change. Our heart isn’t in it. The changes don’t “stick”. We’ve seen this before. A common example are people on diets, who manage to maintain the diet for weeks, sometimes months, but inevitably fall off. Or very strict exercise regimes, that seem to be so rewarding at first, but ultimately become unsustainable. There are many factors, of course, in why these changes don’t stick. One might be to do with the Japanese principle of “kaizen”. We have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew, which leads to “indigestion” of sorts, whereas if we practice kaizen, taking smaller “bite-size” steps, we might be in for greater longevity. However, I believe that there is one central issue that is deeper and more important than the techniques we deploy to instigate change, which I alluded to by saying “our heart isn’t in it”: we need an emotional experience.


Christopher Nolan’s 2010 thriller Inception is undoubtedly one of the truly great films of the last two decades. However, the reason I believe it to be great is not due to its dream-sequence visuals (although they’re impressive), the stellar performances of the cast, or even the complexity of its narrative. Rather, I think it’s brilliant because it highlights a profound truth that we all need to learn if we are to effectively instigate change, whether for ourselves or in our businesses.


In order to change, we have to have an emotional experience, a catharsis, if you will.


For those who have not seen the movie, the central concept is this: “inception” is a process by which an idea is inserted into someone’s mind by delving deep into layers of consciousness. The aim of our protagonist Cobb, played by the ferocious DiCaprio, is to plant an idea in the mind of a young heir to a global business monopoly (played by the enigmatic Cillian Murphy). The idea is for the heir, upon inheriting his father’s company, to dismantle the organisation. It is Tom Hardy’s character, Eames, who makes the brilliant observation that the idea is “too complex” to be inserted directly and needs to be broken down and turned into an emotion in order to take root. Eventually, they distil it down to the phrase “I am not my father”. Capitalising on the problematic and strained relationship between the young heir and his father, they realise that it is only by creating a healing narrative between father and son that the idea can blossom. In Cobb’s words, “Positive emotion trumps negative every time”. We all yearn for reconciliation. In an incredibly moving and well-acted scene, we see the young heir revisit the moment of his father’s death, but instead hear a different interpretation of the words his father uttered on his deathbed. This becomes the catalyst for change.


Psychologically, this is so true. When we are inspired by emotion, we move effortlessly and with replete energy towards our goals. We can change our behaviours drastically. Though negative emotions can inspire change (think of the images of animal cruelty that inspire people to become vegetarians or vegans), I believe Nolan was right when he said positive emotions are king, and even more likely to instigate longterm transformation.


But how can we do this in an organisational setting? How can we give our colleagues or employees a catharsis that inspires them to change the way they operate? Sadly, unlike in Inception, we lack the technology to enter people’s dreamscapes, and image-streaming an entire organisation would be strenuous and inconsistent to say the least! So, we need another approach.


Of course, I am biased, but I do genuinely believe Motivational Maps is one way to inspire that catharsis, as receiving one’s Map, and gaining self-insight (sometimes it is for the first time for an individual) can be a very emotive experience. Many of the Business Practitioners we have interviewed in our “Interview with a BP” series speak about the “aha” moment with their clients and Licensed Practitioners. It can even be an emotive experience when you subsequently come to do a second or third Map, as the shift in profile can reflect a change in beliefs which is very powerful. Whatever tool you choose to use to inspire, remember that an authentic and inspiring narrative, that reaches people on an emotional level, is far more likely to help your employees or colleagues change than all the data or technology in the world.


If you want to find out more about the Maps, where they come from, how they work, and how you can use them to improve your relationships with other people and most importantly yourself, then you can take a look at my book Mapping Motivation, which is a complete and comprehensive guide to the Maps!






Due to the lockdown, many businesses and families are struggling. For most of us, quite rightly, the pandemic has been a time to reflect on what is most important, and to cut down to the bare essentials. This means that many services, including coaching, training, mentoring, and “strategic mapping”, are no longer top priority for organisations. Though, in the UK, lockdown measures are lifting, it is warily. Many people are still furloughed, or worse: jobless. For those reintegrating with work after long periods in isolation or furloughed, simultaneously adapting to a new way of working, and picking up the old threads, can be challenging in the extreme. For those seeking new work, having been made redundant, they face a period of uncertainty – as many roles are becoming obsolete with the advent of remote working and new methodologies resulting from the pandemic. In short, this is a time of upheaval, change, adaptability, and perhaps most significantly: a time where a huge majority of people feel uncertain, de-motivated and de-energised, and in need of guidance.


Contrary to what organisations may be saying, motivation is now more important than ever before. Whilst it is tempting to disregard what is seen as extraneous to making ends meet, on the contrary, it is through inspiring people and bringing them together that the challenges of coronavirus and lockdown can be overcome – whether financial, in terms of delivering to customers, or otherwise. Whilst this might all sound “airy fairy”, there is a seriously pragmatic approach behind this. Inspiring people and energising them is not a one-time activity (a mistake many companies make), it is an ongoing process that requires monitoring and nurturing in the same way that financial experts continually monitor the metrics of profitability. With Maps, we have the capability to see these metrics and therefore monitor them, but I am skipping ahead.

Firstly, we need to understand a few key things about the lockdown and how it might be affecting people’s motivations (and therefore energy and mood).


1) Some people will like working from home, and some won’t.

It sounds obvious, but it is amazing how organisations seem very uncertain about how to manage remote-working staff. The Maps clearly reveals that depending on your motivations, you may get a boost from working from home or not. The more socially-driven motivators, or “Relationship Cluster” as we call them, such as Defender, Friend, and Star may find self-isolation a very haunting and troubling experience. On the other hand, the more Growth-orientated motivators, such as Creator and Spirit, may find it liberating and exhilarating – people with these motivators in their profile have likely been campaigning to be allowed to work from home long before lockdown!


2) Zoom changes the dynamics of communication

Zoom is a wonderful tool and has helped keep us “together” through lockdown. However, as wonderful as Zoom is, it is limited. A friend of mine, who is a film-director, said, “Nothing compares to the energy of two creative people in the same room.” I think there is a lot of truth in this, especially if the people in question have motivators that are more socially aligned. We can have great conversations on Zoom, we can share ideas and work using Google Docs and Trello and other online tools, but it will never compare to being in the same room; we need to be aware of this, because it means that the dynamics of your teams are going to change. If you have an expected output, you may have to alter expectations of that output. Working remotely might not mean less productivity, necessarily, but it will certainly mean that the nature of what the teams produce (whether that’s a physical product, or sales, or copy, or strategies – whatever) – is going to change.


3) Some motivators are going to become more prevalent in this time than others

The Motivational Map, unlike psychometrics, measures the part of us that is “nurture”. Aka, not the biological and intrinsic part of us that is unchangeable and fixed, but our inner drives, which can change in correspondence with our inner beliefs, particularly when they are influenced by experience. The pandemic has been a pretty drastic and life-altering experience for many, and so it’s natural that our motivators may shift. It is very likely that the Defender motivator will be a lot higher in the rankings for many people, or perhaps even become their number-one motivator. The Defender seeks security, stability, and predictability. It is very easy to see how these values might be expressed in our current situation: being hygienic, wearing a face-mask, maintaining social distancing, minimising contact with others. Of course, these are the guidelines that all of us should be following, but we will find that high Defenders will practice them religiously and even to the detriment of their relationships with others (getting into arguments, accusing others of malpractice, perhaps even reporting other people to the police if they perceive them to have broken “the rules”). Please note that I am not in any way criticising people that have a high Defender motivator, or people who follow the guidelines, as I myself follow them as assiduously as possible! - but I merely wish to draw attention to the fact that we must take this new dominant motivational preference into consideration when dealing with our staff, our customers, our clients, and yes, even our friends and families!


It should be noted that, for some people, the reverse is going to occur. Their Defender motivators may drop to the very bottom of their rankings. This might seem paradoxical, but it will be linked with inner beliefs. A good example of this would be a self-employed freelancer I know. Before lockdown, Defender was never a high motivator, and usually floated around number 7 or 8 (out of 9). So, a very low priority for them. But in lockdown, it has dropped to 9. Discussing this with them, it’s my understanding that they have an inner belief about creativity and hard work. They pride themselves on the fact that they are able to survive in lockdown on the basis of their ingenuity and sales-ability. The whole world has been turned upside down, and everything is changing, so what use is predictability to them?


You can see from this how the pandemic is polarising, and that people will respond differently depending on their beliefs and motivations. For the freelancer, the pandemic was proof that a stable job was bad idea – you were likely to get fired or furloughed. However, for others, it will have intensified the importance of a stable role.


So, now we understand these conditions, let’s look at some actions we can take in relation to motivating people!


1) Optimise and empower our staff by letting them work in the way that is most motivating for them.

We need to make sure that rather than having “blanket” rules (such as, “Everyone will come back to work in the office as soon as possible”) we instead let people play to their strengths. When we are motivated, we have more energy, we’re happier, and so we’re far more productive. A lot of researchers are now looking into whether working from home is more or less productive, but as always, the reality is “it depends” - on how motivated someone is and whether their motivations align with the methodology of home-working.


Here would be one idea for an action plan: have all your staff (whether furloughed, working, remote, or onsite) complete a Motivational Map, and then get feedback from a Maps practitioner on whether any staff are in a non-ideal position.


2) Learn about how communication styles impact teamwork

I use a tool called the Five Elements model. This is outlined in my book, co-authored with Jane Thomas, Mapping Motivation for Leadership. To give you a rough overview, the Five Elements model asserts there are five key styles of communication, and each one has a corresponding preferred medium of communication (such as speech, or written, for example). Therefore, we have to understand that communicating online is going to change the “balance of power”, for want of a better phrase, in your teams. Some voices are going to be louder, because their preferred mediums are the dominant one used by the organisation, whereas others may wane, as they feel they have no avenues to make their voice heard.


Here’s an action plan: speak with a coach about the communication styles in your teams, and endeavour to discover how lockdown and remote-working may have changed the dynamics of those teams, and communicate the findings (respectfully and transparently) with the teams, so that everyone is aware of potential blindspots.


3) Customise your approach to take into account the new dominant motivators

We cannot simply ignore such a tremendous cultural shift, or pine for “business as usual”. It’s very clear that even when coronavirus clears, it will be a long time before we return to “normal”, if indeed we ever do. I think it highly likely that the lockdown will usher in several longterm changes to the way we do things in the world. Lots of businesses are also trying to establish what the “new normal” is, but they are mostly doing this from a practical and logistical viewpoint, rather than a motivational one. This is missing a trick, because it is the motivational, “inner” landscape that will affect and drive the external one. How people feel will determine what the “new normal” looks like, not the other way around.


So, now we understand this, it becomes clear that we have to cater what we do going forward toward reaching the “new normal” motivators: Defender. We also have to recognise the motivators that will have been massively under-met (or “unfulfilled” might be a better term) during lockdown, such as the Friend. Finally, we have to think creatively about how we can appeal and utilise the “radicals”, the ones who have relegated “safety and security” in favour of thriving on their own creative abundance. What can we learn from them about self-sufficiency, and thriving without dependency on government loans or corporate institutions? Equally, if you are one of these “radicals”, what can you learn from the stability of connectedness and playing things a little safer?


Ultimately, it’s clear that we have a lot to learn from this pandemic, at a global, national, organisational and personal level. However, if there is one key takeaway or “top-line”, then it would be: put motivation at the centre of your focus, because without motivation, we have no fuel in the engine, and roadblocks like this will stop us for good.



Find out more about Motivational Maps here.


Frequently, people ask me “where do the Maps come from?” This question is very important, because it is not only about the origins of the Maps – the thinking that they might be rooted in – but also about their validity. Anyone who has created a product or service will know, especially if they are trying to do something relatively new, that the question of validity is a battle that never truly ends. One is reminded a little of the questions of the Pharisees when they interrogate Jesus, “On whose authority do you say these things?” People want to know what “authority” we have to create something, or change something, or make a statement about the world. Whilst the Motivational Map is ISO certified (17065), and has been proven “in action” for over fourteen years, these are not, in themselves, enough to address the question of “validity” and “authority” when it is raised in earnest. Something more is required, and it is my intention to shed light on that something!


But before I go on to answer this question “Where do the Maps come from?”, it’s worth me saying what the Maps are in the here and now. The Motivational Map is a self-perception inventory that measures what motivates us and how motivated we are in our current role. It is a tool that offers us insight into what really drives us and energises us, both in the workplace and beyond.


The Maps have their roots in three primary sources: Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and the Enneagram. There is a common misconception that the Map is a “personality profiling” tool, but nothing could be further from the truth. The thing about personality profiles is that they are more pervasive, and therefore more familiar to organisations. In addition, they are easier to validate because, by definition, they always produce the same result, which researchers love. However, Maps does not measure fixed personality archetypes, but rather internal drivers which stem from core belief systems. The oft-forgotten playwright Christopher Marlowe once wrote the line “Aye, think so still, till experience change thy mind” (Dr Faustus, 1604). Our beliefs change over time with new experiences (or at least, they do if we are healthy and not completely close-minded), and so our internal drivers will also change in correlation to changes in our beliefs. This is not to say that some motivators may not be fixed in place for a very long time, perhaps even a lifetime, but unlike personality profiling tools, we do not reduce people to one archetype (though I recognise here there are exceptions, such as Myers Briggs, that offers a more multifaceted analysis), but recognise that we likely have more than one motivator and driver and also de-motivators.



In fact, by cross-examining the Career Anchors, Hierarchy of Needs, and Enneagram, I discovered that there were nine motivators driving human behaviour, and that these nine motivators were grouped into three sets of three due to properties that they shared. For example, some motivators were directed toward the future: creating new things, seeking freedom and independence, and making a difference to others. Others, were more rooted in the past: security and predictability, belonging, and recognition. This was also correlated by the models I had used to construct the Maps, as the Career Anchors were more focused on “work goals” (therefore future orientated), the Hierarchy of Needs on present concerns (present “needs” literally), and the Enneagram on a more fixed and rooted “past self” (although it does also have a model for growth in that there are personality types we need to move “toward” to overcome our deficiencies and blindspots). It should be noted that in terms of the “pyramid” of Maslow’s Hierarchy, the nine motivators sit above the level of “survival” or “biological needs” (such as food, and shelter). Therefore, they are what might be called “secondary” drivers. Still, having said that, these drivers are awesomely powerful, and once we are fed and watered, they will dictate to us what our true priority is.


I have talked about the nine motivators, so it is worth me now explaining what each of these are:


DEFENDER – the need for security

FRIEND – the need for belonging

STAR – the need for recognition

DIRECTOR – the need for control

BUILDER – the need for material gain

EXPERT – the need for knowledge

CREATOR – the need to create

SPIRIT – the need for independence and freedom

SEARCHER – the need to make a difference


The Nine Motivators
The Nine Motivators

I mentioned that unlike personality profiling, we do not reduce people to one archetype. This is because, learning from Maslow, we actually have all nine motivators in our profile. We need all nine, in fact, in order to be fully happy and rounded human beings. However, these are in an order of priority. If one were to think of the nine motivators as ingredients in a dish, then each person has a unique recipe, requiring different quantities of these ingredients. What the Maps does is give you a detailed breakdown of that secret recipe, so that you, and also the people around you, can take action and feed your motivations.


One important thing to mention is that most people believe they already know what motivates them, but when faced with a Maps report, or some other evidence of their inner drivers, they often find themselves stunned and surprised (but accepting) of the truth, because it is rarely as they imagined it to be. As I mentioned earlier, our motivations are linked to our core beliefs, and therefore, they are deeper than conscious thought and occupy the realm of emotion – which is irrational and deeper. We may “think” we want secure jobs, or a nice house, or a fast car, but deeper within our psyche lie our real motivators, which might tell and entirely different story. By tapping these deeper drivers, we can access a reservoir of energy and enthusiasm that can fuel us in our day-to-day lives and lead us to success and fulfilment. They say, “If you do a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” and I am a profound believer in that statement. When we do work we love, aka: that fulfils our motivators, we are in a state of “play”, like a child, and is there anything more joyful than that?


So, to answer the question of “where do the Maps come from?”, is in some ways an analog of the entire process of “Mapping Motivation”. Our motivations lie within us, and have done all along. The Maps come from a desire to understand and chart these vast, yet hidden, psychological territories.




If you want to find out more about the Maps, where they come from, how they work, and how you can use them to improve your relationships with other people and most importantly yourself, then you can take a look at my book Mapping Motivation, which is a complete and comprehensive guide to the Maps!


Interview with a BP #10 Richard Knight

The organisations that are really going to thrive out of this are the ones that recognise there are certain people who can work remotely, and there are certain people who can’t. It’s all about energy. If I haven’t got it, if I’m sat at home with low motivation, I’m not going to be able to operate effectively. It just underlines what a massive opportunity this is.

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Richard Knight is our tenth instalment, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond.

Richard Knight (2018_08_10 05_27_59 UTC)


Richard Knight is customer-experience director of Insight6, and a performance consultant at Switch Performance Ltd. He is a qualified Business Practitioner of Motivational Maps and certified practitioner of NLP.



HR Friend (2017_08_02 10_18_52 UTC)I did the questionnaire just before the coronavirus hit, actually! I first did it when I had just left the big corporate world after twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry. My wife was still working in the corporate world, then, so I was Friend, Searcher, Creator. Since having done that my wife has joined the organisation so I’ve flipped round now, so I’m a Builder, Searcher, Creator! If you’re a Practitioner, you have simply got to do the Map again, whether it’s six months or nine months on, you have to!”


In regards to Builder, I remarked that with so many psychometrics there’s a negative implication to some of the results. One of my colleagues recently completed Colours and was really angered by his result as “a yellow”, whereas the great thing about the Map is that all the motivators are equal. Having said that, we do still tend to have some hang-ups about Builder and Defender!


That’s an interesting one. You know, I work with a lot of Pharma, and the sales teams in that are fascinating, because you’d think they’re just pure Builder: sell, sell, sell, but actually, a lot of them are high Searcher. They’re selling something that could potentially save someone’s life, so there’s profound meaning in that.”


The interrelationship of the motivators is an intriguing topic.


It’s interesting though because my Creator motivator is driven by communication. I can’t sit on my own and come up with whacky ideas and new ways of doing things. But when I’m chatting with somebody… A good example is I was putting together a webinar on ‘Customer service through lockdown’ yesterday, sat with a colleague on Zoom like now, and we were going back and forth. That’s how my creativity works. For my energy to come through my Creator – I still have to have that connection piece. So this also highlights the interdependence of the motivators. I keep saying it to LPs: We’ve got a top three and a bottom one because we have to from a reporting standpoint, but make sure we give clarity around how these things work together.”


I asked how being a BP had changed his Maps practice.


Being a BP has enabled me to work more closely with other Licensed Practitioners, and to understand where they’re coming from. I have a number of Practitioners who work in the pharmaceutical industry and that’s really quite a big area for understanding the motivators for teams that a lot of the time are spread across the country. The Licensed Practitioners we’ve got are used to dealing with teams with people in multiple corners of the country and across multiple nations as well. Now we’ve got changes to the way we’re working – the use of technology – how that’s impacting motivation levels. I think having stayed as a Licensed Practitioner I wouldn’t have seen that. It’s also interesting to see how other people are developing their businesses as well!”


I wondered if he’d noticed any particular patterns in regards to motivation and the use of technology in our current state of lockdown, where people of all generations are having to go online to socialise and connect.


I think there is definitely some lethargy now around the use of the tech. But, this is quite interesting, from an employeemotivational point of view, I also think there are some positives out of the technology. You’re very much governed by time-setting diaries. There isn’t the chance to say, ‘Oo, can I keep you for another minute?’ You’re very much more Director motivator! You have the mute button; you can close the meeting! But with back-to-back Zoom calls, from an ‘energy’ and motivation level, you’ve got to monitor the number of these things you do in a day. This is the third one I’ve done today, and that’s enough. I’ve done days where I’ve done four and you can feel physically that energy is drained. So, as employers, we’ve got to monitor and set guidelines around using this technology.”


I found this really interesting because in Motivational Maps we talk about how motivation is “energy”. Our motivation towards a specific task can be measured, to some degree, by how energised we feel by it. Are we enthused or drained by the prospect of “collaborating”, for example? That might tell us something about the position of our Friend motivator. We might also be able to work out how motivated we are by a role or work-position by how energised we feel – do we feel lifeless, like a simple action costs us every watt of energy? Of course, this is not an exact approach, and the best way is to complete a Map, but we can suss out, to a certain degree, how “energised” we are in certain contexts and a little bit about our motivation levels overall. So, the fact that technology can be so draining for some individuals is interesting, because it suggests that there is a correlation between certain motivators and technological use.


Absolutely! From a customer experience standpoint, customers are starting to understand that they can interact in different ways. They can use technology to enable them to hit their motivators. For example, Estate Agents are now open, and they’re doing ‘virtual show-rounds’ of new homes – some pre-recorded, and some live. There are massive opportunities with the tech, as well as issues.”


I remembered that Richard did a talk at the Motivational Maps Conference 2018 around customer-experience. Customer-experience almost feels like a new field for the Maps. It’s been discussed previously that if we can understand what motivates people then we’ll understand better how to sell and market to those people – but it feels as if there is a lot further exploration yet to be undertaken.


It’s an interesting one. The great thing about Motivational Maps is it’s a very short questionnaire really, especially in comparison to its competitors.” I remarked that Myers Briggs is over one-hundred questions. “Yeah, with the Maps, it only takes twelve to fifteen minutes to complete!” Richard laughs. “That sounds like a sales pitch! But, the challenge is gathering that data but across a very large cohort of people, getting sight of those motivators without necessarily having to give each person a full report!


Actually, one thing that’s related to that, which is being driven by the situation we find ourselves in now, is discussions around ‘confidence’. Confidence is an interesting term and one that’s were investigating a little bit more. What drives some of these confidence levels? The thinking we’re going down is that there must be a motivator around that confidence. We know that the more motivated we are, the more confident we are, and the better we perform. So, linked to consumers, how confident are they in you and how motivated are they to buy your product?


Motivation is driving consumer’s behaviour. So, the example I always give is around supermarkets and price and product type or quality. That has been overtaken by ‘how easy is it for me to access’? The motivators of consumers have drastically changed. People no longer buy small bags of flour, they buy sacks of the stuff. It’s the environment we’re in that is driving these emotions. This is a massive opportunity from a Mapping community perspective, because of the intensity of the “peaks” and “troughs” - high motivation and low motivation. The Map profiles that we will see during this time will be completely different to ones we normally see!”


I remarked that, as a BP, he had the added responsibility of the LPs to consider.


I’ve got training-providers, one-man-bands. Some of them are very much closing down. The communication piece that we’ve been having with them has been affected quite a bit. You have to step up a little bit more to engage people in those conversations about motivation. It’s not something that businesses immediately think ‘we need to invest in’. However, I think it does highlight the effectiveness of the Maps in this environment. I’m having conversations with Practitioners around how you can work with your client around motivation when they’ve got their teams furloughed, or waiting to come back to work. I had an interesting conversation with a Practitioner the other day and they said they’re now beginning to see discrepancies between furloughed people and those who are back at work. There’s a bit of resentment and a drop in motivation in those people at work. And even if they like being around people and doing stuff, they’re looking around and seeing people who are getting 80 or even 100 percent of their salary for effectively doing nothing. So, actually, there’s not a better time to talk about motivation!”


For more information about Ricard Knight and Switch Performance, you can visit him at https://switchperformance.com

You can also check out his LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/riknight1/

Interview with a BP #9 Kathryn Horton

People say, ‘I don’t like change’ but they have the latest mobile phone! We ask the question, ‘So what’s stopping them changing in this other context?’ Maps helps people to understand themselves in a different way.”


Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Kathryn Horton is our ninth instalment, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond.

KH outside Offices 4

Kathryn Horton is CEO of TurningFactor, working to develop people and businesses by creating behavioural and organisational change. She is a Master NLP practitioner and trainer, psychotherapist, and Business Practitioner of Motivational Maps.



HR Searcher (2017_08_02 10_18_52 UTC)

It’s interesting that both myself and my business partner pretty much share the same Map! And we’ve always said that we get on so well because we’re motivated in a similar way. Before Motivational Maps we wouldn’t have been able to verbalise it like that, we would have just said we’re both driven, want to earn money, and we also like recognition from others.”


It’s interesting that Kathryn mentions verbalising these feelings, because later in the interview, she says that Maps helps her to, “Make the invisible, visible.” The unseen motivators are given a shape and name, so that they can be understood and discussed via a shared language.


HR Searcher (2017_08_02 10_18_52 UTC)
My motivations… I am Searcher. I’m also high Spirit. Builder. Star. Director. So they come up in my tops. As a high Star, what’s interesting with that is I will go out and ask for that recognition. And I find myself doing it. I am a high Builder, which is half the reason why I’m working this business. I want to make money, make profit. The Spirit-Director combination is also really interesting because I do like to control, I like to be in control, but of course with high Spirit I don’t like to be controlled. That also fits perfectly with how we operate the business. That’s why I came out of employment into business as well. I thought, I can do it on my own. I know exactly what I need to do. I’m going to go and do it.”


I’ve just been saying to someone that I will do my Map again before long because I haven’t done it in a few years. I don’t think it will have changed very much. My motivation will have gone up on some of them because the business has progressed but I don’t think my motivations have really changed. I’m low Friend, my Friend is a 3! I don’t need those relationships. I’m happy for the relationships to stay as they are. I go to work to work, not to be around people. But I’m very aware of that because we have had colleagues who are very high Friend, and I do get frustrated when they go off and make cakes and put up bunting, you know? How much time has that taken you? But I get it. Maps can really help, and certainly helped me, to understand that.”


An oft-overlooked aspect of Maps is that they are not just for clients, but also for practitioners themselves to gain a better understanding, whether it’s of their own motivations, their staff, or the networks they operate in. Maps empowers us with a shared language that is as much about helping the practitioner as the client.


Kathryn was introduced to Maps five years ago. “One of our clients talked about these Maps that they had done. He talked about his profile, which was interesting. A couple of months after that another one of our clients started talking about these Maps. We thought, Okay, let’s go and have a look at what these Maps are and who’s doing them. At that point we got in touch with Bevis (a Senior Practitioner of Motivational Maps). We met with him, and we went through my profile. It was quite a long meeting! And when I saw my profile I was kind of blown away by how accurate it was. That was a really big thing to look at this profile I’d completed and think, That’s absolutely smack on. And I think the bit we were really impressed with was the element of how the motivators were being met. So, yes, that might be what my motivations are, but how well are they being met is a deeper question. And that was a really, really interesting element of the Map. So, from this point on, we thought, Crickey, this is gold dust. Pretty much immediately I became a Licensed Practitioner. This is about 2016 now. My colleague also became a practitioner. We were putting out dozens and dozens of Maps. It took off really quickly. And in these early stages, it was us thinking: How accurate are these? Are we going to find a blip? But it just wasn’t happening. Over the last four years we’ve probably had a point-percent of somebody saying I’m not sure that’s me. Usually it is! It’s more a reflection on the individual than the Map, and trying to explain that to them is the next challenge. The accuracy is incredible. So we then saw an opportunity in other people who were really interested in the Maps, so we thought why don’t we become Business Practitioner? It fits our model. So we started going on the journey to becoming a BP, so we were then able to have our own Practitioners.


Kathryn’s profile really suits her role as CEO of TurningFactor, which is critical, because that is linked with what Maps Practitioners are often trying to achieve with their clients: helping them to find a career, a path, that motivates them. “I think that is the really good thing about Maps. I spent 17 years in the corporate world. I was in Sales. About 2000, I went on leave to have my children, and when I went back into the business, it’d changed and merged with another large organisation. My role changed, and I moved into Learning & Development. Even before I had gone off on long-term leave, I was involved with bits of training. Coming back, they asked me, rather than being in Sales do you want to be in the training of these Sales people? I jumped at the chance. That was pretty much twenty years ago. I got as far as I wanted to get. It was a great job, good prospects. But you know what? My job was too easy! I thought, I could do more than this. 2004 I decided: In twelve months’ time I’m handing my notice in, and I’m gone. I planned everything and left March 2005. The business has changed a lot over the years. TurningFactor came into its true form in about 2010. I knew I wanted to build my own company. We specialise in behavioural change, which is where the Maps really help. My colleague heads up the business-development side, and I head up the people-development side.”


I remarked that it was interesting how frank she had been about the business changing over time. A lot of people think that you come up with a concept for a business and then execute it, but that is rarely the case. “No! It’s not an easy journey for anyone. Not for the faint-hearted. If you haven't got certain skillsets, but more importantly if you haven’t got the motivation, you will find yourself very quickly going back into employment!” I asked if she had any advice for people wanting to become a BP: “Yeah, I think you need to be very well-versed and comfortable that you know the Maps. The training you do will eek that out, but you need to up your game on your knowledge to be able to help your practitioners. Don’t go too quickly from LP to BP because you need to be a bit of a master of your knowledge. Also, what’s your motivation to do that? It’s interesting my Motivational Map, I have high Director, so I do like control. It suits the role and I like that. You have to think about how you’re going to keep in touch with your practitioners.”




Often when we go into companies, managers will say: we need to get them to do this, and get them thinking about change more, and be more positive, and be more optimistic. All these things they come up with. Look at things from a different viewpoint. Not let things get on top of them! And all of these things, when we talk about up-skilling, are about changing behaviours. If you want to teach someone Sales skills, then they have to pick up the phone, communicate differently. They need to build rapport, build trust. You’re asking them to change the way they do things, change their behaviour. But of course that’s not easy. To be able to change behaviour, the way you do things, you’ve got to change the way you think. Well, now you’re in a minefield!”


A lot of people change their behaviours every day, but they don’t realise it. So we’re just going out to them and showing them what they naturally do and trying to bring it into their conscious awareness.”


For more information on the work Kathryn Horton and TurningFactor does, please check out: https://www.turningfactor.com



5 Key Things to Remember About Motivation Part 5: Change


The intention of these articles is to provide you with five key aspects of motivation that will help you, and perhaps your team too, understand what motivating people is really all about. Each article will tackle a new aspect in five-part series.


In our last blog, we covered how motivation boosts teams and facilitates collaboration. In this article, we’ll be covering the fifth and final aspect of motivation: how it catalysts change.


Five, it’s change

As we have described in earlier articles, motivation is energy. It is the fuel that drives us. And like energy, it is constantly in motion, therefore alters and transforms as it encounters different obstacles and acts upon different objects or people in its path. Our motivational energy changes over time. Sometimes, not very much, a barely perceptible shift. But sometimes, dramatically and drastically. I have seen financial circumstances utterly transform the motivational profile of an individual and indeed an organisation. For example, a Searcher-driven organisation, which is all about meaning and purpose, suddenly realises that they will be out of business if they don’t make some serious changes, and everyone’s Builder motivator spikes into the top three! Money is now a priority, so the other motivators take a backseat. This might be a temporary change for some, until financial stability is acquired, but for others, it might be a long term life-lesson; think about the money first or suffer the consequences type of narrative.


Change management is still the order of the day. Though we dress it up in different terms, such as organisational adaptability or agility or flexibility, the reality is the same: we need to help people in organisations cope with change. And there is more change coming our way now than ever before with the potential of automation, new technologies, and shifting economies and industries. But how do we really know how people feel and how their motivators contribute to or block change? The answer, in short, is the Motivational Organisational Map! However, so as not to make this an entirely promotional blog, let’s unpack this in more detail!


All successful change has to address 3 key factors: the vision of where we are going, the resources necessary to propel us there, and finally, and crucially, a dissatisfaction with the status quo within the employees; in other words, this last critical point hangs on the perceptions and motivators of staff. There has to be a hunger there. How, therefore, can we change effectively without knowing what our staff really want? We can’t. If we want longevity and not endless crisis management we need this level of insight. Motivational Mapping can provide this. Here’s how:


Three of the motivators fall into what we call the “Growth” cluster. Motivators in this cluster are much more likely to be change friendly, so a profile predominated by these motivators is much more likely to indicate someone up for and willing to change in general. Similarly, we also have a “Relationship” cluster, and the three motivators in this cluster are the opposite: change averse. They like things to stay the same and the security of predictability in general. Remember, motivational profiles are far more complex and nuanced, and cannot simply be reduced to blanket statements, but there are tendencies and trends that one can pick up on. The final cluster, “Achievement” motivators, are pretty much change ambivalent. They neither oppose nor actively block it. They can be persuaded change is positive, if provided the right information, but they are happy for things to remain as they are as well.


Now, depending on the “makeup” of your organisation, you are going to likely have a lean one way or the other. If you have a team of managers that are all Growth motivator dominant, and they’re pushing for change, but all the people “on the ground” are Relationship motivators, this is going to be a problem, because the people on the front line don’t like change and will find it very challenging. They may even actively oppose and resistant measures for as long as humanly possible. If you try to overwhelm, to force change, they’ll likely leave.


Similarly, the converse can be disastrous. If all the people on the ground are passionate about change and transformation and want the company to be making steps forward, but management are all playing it safe, counting profits and not making the necessary alterations to empower staff (such as new software, for example, or new agile ways of working) that can create mass exodus. However, motivational profiles do not limit or stereotype people, they are a doorway to a wider conversation. Once we understand who is more likely to be change-friendly and who isn’t, we can then begin to open dialogues about how to make the changes easier, and perhaps even better: listen to our staff to discuss their priorities.


Change is never easy, whether you’re simply employing new technology in your organisation, or creating a whole new dimension to your business, such as a new product line or strategy. However, with the right tools, and plenty of motivation, you can overcome the challenges of change poses, and perhaps even thrive as a result.




Thank you for reading this blog series. We hope you found it insight and practically useful! 


Want to discover your motivators? You can also discover them yourself, or get close to it, by doing a few simple exercises. I have created a nine-part blog series Unlocking Motivation, to help take you through this process. It’s completely free, and will tell you a hell of a lot about the Maps and what they’re all about. To get started, you can go to part 1 here.

Alternatively, for a deeper dive into the language and metrics of motivation, as well as a Motivational Map code for a pin-point accurate motivational profile, you can buy Mapping Motivation: Unlocking The Key to Employee Energy and Engagement.

5 Key Things to Remember About Motivation Part 4: Teams



The intention of these articles is to provide you with five key aspects of motivation that will help you, and perhaps your team too, understand what motivating people is really all about. Each article will tackle a new aspect in five-part series.


In our last blog, we covered how motivation boosts performance, and hence productivity and profits. In this article, we’ll be covering the fourth aspects of motivation, how it fuels high-power teams.



Teams are a vital part of any organisation, yet few organisations really cultivate and nurture teams. In fact, it can be difficult even to define what the difference between a group or department and a team is. However, there is a difference, and a significant one at that. Teams, especially high-level teams, become the sum of far more than their component parts. You can find out more about how high-level teams perform, and how they become more, by checking out my article The 4 Components of Real Teams, but suffice to say, a strong team can change the world!


We all want high-performing teams and an essential ingredient of a high-performing team is high levels of motivation; furthermore, motivation, especially shared motivators, are often a glue holding the team together. Indeed, collective motivational profiles become an often invisible value statement of what the team is driving for. For the team to achieve its business goals it’s also vital for its motivators to be aligned with those goals. An obvious and glaring example of this might be a team with predominantly commercial goals, but with people for whom the Builder motivator is lowest; this would be extremely de-motivating and also an uphill battle for the team. This isn’t theoretical, but actually happens – we experience this all the time!


High performing teams are always characterised by high energy. However, unlike with an individual motivation profile, there is more complexity about how the various primary motivators (and lowest motivators) of the team interrelate and how this energy can be maintained. At an obvious level, as in the example above of the commercially orientated team, ideally all the team members should have Builder in their top three, as that would mean they had the right energetic focus. However, certain motivators can also be complimentary to one another. For example, I once worked with a highly motivated team of three who were creating fantastical board games, a very artistic pursuit! All three team members had Creator as their number-one motivator! Well, that is a good start, and an aligned vision. However, that alone would not determine the success of the team. Yes, they had lots of creativity, but creativity alone and unchecked can lead to a kind of dreamy experimentation which never yields concrete results.


One of the team members, we’ll call him “C” to the other’s “A” and “B”, had Defender as their powerful second motivator. Now, that is really interesting. Normally, Defender and Creator clash; one seeks security and regularity, and the other risk and flights of fancy and invention. There is not only an internal conflict here of split priorities for the individual “C”, but also a conflict with the other two members of the team. Or is there? In this specific instance, the Defender’s desire for security: to double check every piece of work, to refine, to quality-assure, became a useful asset that kept the other two from wandering too far off the beaten track. “A”, on the other hand, had Spirit as their number two, and Searcher as their number three. “A” had been brought on midway through the project as a freelance manager (Spirit!) to help them get the project off the ground and make it a physical reality. This Searcher, this desire to make a difference and reach other people, clearly helped re-focus and re-invigorate the other two, who were aimlessly creating, but had no sense of how to make their game real and bring it to players. And what of “B”? “B” had Expert as his number two motivator, and this thirst for knowledge led to the team having several breakthroughs with the technology, creative approach, and overall design of the game. Together, this was a powerful triumvirate, balancing just enough of the more grounded motivators with a shared visionary “dream” focus.

So, motivation is very important for teams, but not just at the superficial level of “hyping them up” or incentivising them for results. Motivation is about the nuanced interrelation of motivators and how they each form a vital part of a jigsaw. When assembling a team, it’s important not only to be aware of how each individual’s motivators will fit with the others, but also to develop an awareness of these motivators so that any potential conflicts (Defender / Creator for example) can instead be harnessed as advantages.


One final thing to say on the nature of motivation in teams is the “360” approach. Motivational Maps 360 appraisal was pioneered by Mark Turner, and is a special approach where each person in the team completes their own Motivational Map, and then completes a Motivational Map from the perspective of each other person in the team. Now, this is less workable for large teams, because the sheer volume of results can be daunting, but as I’ve outlined previously in my blogs, teams should not be overlarge, because at that point they cease to become teams and become instead departments: awkward and unwieldy and with too little agility. Teams should be small, no more than fourteen people!


However, for small teams, this is devastatingly powerful, because it not only gives you a sense of how people are motivated and how those motivators interrelate, but how people perceive the motivators of others, which often infers implied value judgements. For example, if you rate some as having a low Expert motivator, might you doubt their efficacy and knowledge? We’ve seen examples of people state Expert as someone’s lowest motivator, only for their self-assessment to show it as their highest! This is extraordinary, and whilst challenging, can, with the right coach and approach, open up doorways to powerful and healing conversations that increase the synergistic power of the team tenfold.


So, if you are part of a team that needs to perform to a high level, or you are part of a team that is not doing so well and you’d like to improve, or even if you’re somewhere in the middle, I highly recommend focusing on motivation first and foremost. Skills, social bonding, and leadership are all vitally important, of course, but without motivation, you will essentially be throwing people into a labyrinth, with no awareness of where their colleagues are, or how to get to the other side.




Tune in for further entries in this blog series to discover more about motivation!


Want to discover your motivators? You can also discover them yourself, or get close to it, by doing a few simple exercises. I have created a nine-part blog series Unlocking Motivation, to help take you through this process. It’s completely free, and will tell you a hell of a lot about the Maps and what they’re all about. To get started, you can go to part 1 here.

Alternatively, for a deeper dive into the language and metrics of motivation, as well as a Motivational Map code for a pin-point accurate motivational profile, you can buy Mapping Motivation: Unlocking The Key to Employee Energy and Engagement.


5 Key Things to Remember About Motivation Part 3: Performance


The intention of these articles is to provide you with five key aspects of motivation that will help you, and perhaps your team too, understand what motivating people is really all about. Each article will tackle a new aspect in five-part series.


In our last blog, we covered how motivation and staying motivated can improve our quality of life in a number of ways. In this article, we’ll be covering the third aspect of motivation: the way it enhances performance.




When it comes to performance, most managers and business leaders prioritise strategy and skills, neglecting the all-important third crucial ingredient: motivation. You can have direction and strategy, and you can have all the skills and knowledge in the world, but without motivation, it isn’t going to go very far. Think of it this way: in the first article of this series, we compared motivation to fuel. To extend the metaphor, we’re all like cars: engines that require physical fuel to keep us going, but also, as human beings with more complex needs, we also require emotional fuel. With strategy, we know where the car is going. With skills, we have some unique driving techniques that can help us steer through challenging weather conditions, for example. But without fuel, the car is still going to grind to a halt without progress.


Motivation and performance go hand in hand. Performance produces productivity, and productivity, if rightly applied, creates profitability. I believe that we should be in the business of motivation, first and foremost, to motivate people, because, as mentioned in the previous article, it enhances our quality of life: our ability to open and frank conversations, our self-insight into our needs, and our energy levels. However, the fact remains that we live in a world of business, and where profit is king, and it needs to be made clear that motivation is not just an airy fairy conceptual thing that’s “nice” for people: it creates cash.


The way it does this is by enhancing the productivity of every employee. According to the Pareto Principle, our best people will be four times more productive than our average staff, and sixteen times more productive than our worst performing employees! Isn’t that crazy? Some people are doing literally sixteen times the amount of work as others in the same job! However, with Motivational Maps, our solution is not to “fire” the less productive staff and hope we can replace them (or at least, certainly not as a first resort). Rather, it’s to see if we can’t improve their productivity by raising their motivation levels. This way, the improvement is exponential, and mitigates the high costs associated with redundancy, recruitment, and training.


But “profitability” is not something that appeals to the majority of people. Managers expect staff to get “excited” about turning a profit (which most staff will never see any benefit from, I might add), but the fact is, according to Maps, in a sample of over 5000 staff in 10 sectors, only 7.7% had money, or the Builder, as their number one motivator, whereas 40.8% had making a difference, or the Searcher as their number one. So, I would argue that managers and business owners should shift their language to talking about performance. Performance is the meeting point between the employee and employer, and hence why both parties should want it! We may want employees to be productive because we have sales deadlines or targets, but the reality is that it is far healthier for the employee themselves to want to perform to a high level for their own self-esteem. Motivation and self-esteem are both correlated to business performance, which in turn leads to productivity and profits. But motivation lies at the root of all these things, so if we don’t fix motivation, none of the other can follow. We have to address that first. Most businesses find this an alien concept. They try to address the profits first (normally by making redundancies or cost-cutting). But no, we have to tackle motivation first and foremost because it’s the first step in the chain.


How does this process work?


It works because when people are working in an environment, or completing tasks, that align with their motivators, they feel a sense of “rightness” and affinity. Most businesses ask employees to uphold the “principles” of the organisation, but rarely define clearly what those principles are, and worse yet, often are hypocritical and fail to embody them themselves. For example, they tell staff that they want them to be “accountable”, but whenever the organisation’s upper management do something wrong, it seems inevitable those working under them get the flack. Or, they want employees to “be in it for the love not the money” but precede to underpay the employees and overpay the management. This all may seem very obvious, but it is amazing how many organisations fail to uphold their own principles, or even accurately define them.


How does this connect with motivation?


Well, principles are ultimately connected, and stem from, values. And our values are determined by our deeper motivations. For example, if our principle is: “I always help people when I can”, that connects to a value of “looking out for others”, which may boil down to the Searcher (or even the Friend, but we’ll run with Searcher here) motivator: “Making a difference”. The Searcher motivator might express itself in a number of values. For example, I tend to find that people with high Searcher motivators are normally the ones who care about the environment and other major global issues – because that drive to “make a difference” scales. Now, imagine that someone with high Searcher, which we’ve established is all about helping others and making a difference, were working in retail, the fashion industry. Imagine they’re working at one of the businesses that has been exposed for utilising slave labour, and eco-unfriendly materials and production methods, to produce their clothes. Now, this is distressing for anyone with a conscience, don’t get me wrong, but people with other motivators in their top three will more easily be able to rationalise and detach from the situation. For example, they might say: “Well, it’s really bad the organisation is doing this, but I need the money, and at the end of the day, I am not responsible for this process, I just work on the shop floor. When I am able to move job, I will, but for now, I just need a revenue stream, and this doesn’t reflect who I am.” Of course, the thought pattern will likely not be as articulate and clear-cut as that, but you get the idea! However, for the Searcher, this would be much more difficult. Our value systems, and motivators, are buried very deep and in some way are a reflection of who we are (though they can change over time as we grow), so to go against the grain challenges us on a moral and ethical level.


We might find similar comparisons, with, for example, a high Creator motivator working for a bank. Banks are, by definition, not creative (except in that negative sense of creating rip-off products for their clients). They do not – or should not - take avoidable risks, and often have survived hundreds of years by “playing it safe”. For a Creator motivator, this is a living hell. Someone else in this scenario might be able to rationalise: “This is only temporary; I need the money. I’ll just commit to my hobbies outside of work hours.” But for the Creator, this will not work long term, because they are effectively trying to operate in an environment that is attacking their value system on a daily basis: very de-motivating to say the least!


But, when the reverse of all this is true, when we work in environments and with people that do align with our motivators, then we really can and do internalise the organisational value system as our own. For example, a Defender motivator – those who value security – might love working at a bank and take their cautionary approach to heart. Employees will live the values of the organisation if they are aligned. And when they do this, their productivity will soar, because they will be working on the organisation’s projects with the same passion and commitment they might work on their own hobbies.


Now, you may think, is this simply a lucky-dip then? Do we just have to find the right people that match the organisation and get rid of the rest? Well, not exactly. Though an organisation will have an overriding character and value-system, within a job-by-job basis, we can have variation and approaches targeted to the individual. For example, if the bank had a marketing department, and there was a Creator motivator within that, the language utilised around the Creator might be tailored: “You’re the most creative person in the building, we need you to make things interesting!” This might change the Creator’s viewpoint entirely. “Yes, I work for a company that isn’t very creative, but they value me because I bring something different to the team. I’m the wildcard!”


The acclaimed British director Christopher Nolan introduced the wider world to the concept of “inception”, of planting an idea in someone else’s mind. But even without sci-fi wizardry, we can achieve this. By feeding the motivations of others, we make them feel like the organisation is their own, and when people feel that way, they will perform to incredibly high levels. This performance in turn will lead to productivity.


So, the moral of the story is this: focus on performance, and on motivation; focus on putting fuel in the tank of the car. The profits will follow.




Tune in for further entries in this blog series to discover more about motivation!


Want to discover your motivators? You can also discover them yourself, or get close to it, by doing a few simple exercises. I have created a nine-part blog series Unlocking Motivation, to help take you through this process. It’s completely free, and will tell you a hell of a lot about the Maps and what they’re all about. To get started, you can go to part 1 here.

Alternatively, for a deeper dive into the language and metrics of motivation, as well as a Motivational Map code for a pin-point accurate motivational profile, you can buy Mapping Motivation: Unlocking The Key to Employee Energy and Engagement.

Interview with a BP #8: Paul Ward

What I found that was really interesting is that meeting a potential client for a coffee, without the Map, and trying to get them to go in for some coaching work with me, that was challenging. But if I mapped them, then sat down with them and had a conversation, I was far more likely to enter a coaching relationship with them.’

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Paul Ward is our eighth instalment, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond.

Paul Ward 1


Paul Ward is an International Executive Coach working with Business Owners and senior managers. He is the Founder of Solace Coaching, a qualified trainer of NLP, and Business Practitioner of Motivational Maps.



HR Searcher


When I asked Paul what his top motivators are, his response intrigued me: ‘I recall the first Map that I completed.’ I found this to be an unusual way to approach the question of what his top motivators were. It shows how important, and powerful, tracing the narrative of our motivational profile – and hence our shifting priorities and energy levels – can be. As a coach, he is used to seeing those journeys in his clients. ‘Though I can’t remember the specific order, I do remember it was when I was doing my NLP Practitioner week. It was a bit of a “dark time”. I was between jobs, in a sense. I’d taken up a role when I met Bevis and started up this journey, that promised riches and glory, and that was selling double-glazing! They were telling me it’s this easy: You read a script, turn up at their door, read another script, then take their money from them. But I realised (a) I really didn’t enjoy doing it and (b) I was particularly poor at it. It was that thing that the Maps often reveals: the role doesn’t interest me, it pushes against my values. I wanted to help people not rip them off. So, though I don’t remember the order, I remember I was something like 21% motivated! To be honest, you didn’t have to be a specialist to look at me and say “That guy’s not motivated”, but it was a nice clear evidence of what was going on with me. In terms of my profile now, Searcher is always at the top. Spirit usually second or third. And most recently, and this keeps coming in and coming out of the top three, is Expert. Depending on where I am and what I’m doing!’


I remarked that this profile is probably ideal for his current role as a coach and trainer. He works for himself, which feeds independent (Spirit); he gets to demonstrate and pass on knowledge to the people he is training (Expert); and he makes a different to people by empowering them with skills (Searcher). However, Paul observed that the fascinating thing about the Maps today are the ‘completely different backgrounds and industries coming to the Maps. For example, if you’re a Personal Trainer, you know everyone comes to you saying: “I want to lose weight. I want to eat healthy.” So, you give them a routine, and they don’t stick to it. But if you have the inside knowledge if what motivates them and the NLP tools, you can then deliver something to your client and they stick to it.’


There are so many unconventional applications of the Maps emerging, which is really exciting. Whilst the Maps tend to be thought of as a recruitment and retention tool, the possibilities are almost endless in terms of how they can be integrated into a myriad of people-processes. Thinking about how people-focused they are, I wondered whether NLP was a big part of the Maps process for Paul:


‘For me personally, yes. When I first met Bevis (on the Senior Practitioner team), eight years ago now, he and I were discussing NLP. That’s what brought us both together first of all. We met at a networking-type event. His first email after that event was talking about NLP, but it also had a link to complete a Motivational Map! So, I went around to his office, which back then was just at his house, and he laid out these cards in front of me with the Nine Motivators on them while he was making me a coffee! He asked me, before I’d seen my Maps profile, where I thought my motivators were. Although I’d started out with the intention of developing my NLP, I trained in the Maps at the same time, and the two have always been hand in hand right from the beginning.’


Paul outlined how the questioning-style of Neurolinguistic Programming allowed for deeper insight when looking at Maps profiles: ‘I was talking to someone this week, a client down in London, who has recently done her NLP training. She works in the restaurant business, so has a high turnover of staff. She was talking to me about the possibility of using Maps in the organisation, but not me doing it. She wanted to train in the Maps and run them herself. She was asking whether she thought the NLP would help with the Maps and I said: “Absolutely, it will enhance the Maps, because the fact you have your NLP practitioner skills, this different style of questioning, will make feedback far more powerful.” I expect we’ll have Maps in a restaurant in London very soon!’


I remarked that hospitality, and particularly restaurants, are a very demotivating environment. I myself worked in a call centre for several years, answering one-hundred and fifty phone calls a day. ‘Keeping somebody motivated when they’re serving the general public can be a challenge, put it that way!’ Paul said. ‘I can really relate. Because I worked in the retail industry, which has a similar problem. You always seemed to have two extremes in the core team: the people who had been there fifteen years and it was just a part-time job for them. Or, you’d have people, sixteen years old to early-twenties, for whom it was just beer money. I was one of those when I started!’ It seems to me that hospitality, customer service, and retail are an untapped reservoir for Mappers. With growing dis-engagement in the workplace, and a desperate need to motivate and retain people, there could be a burgeoning opportunity here.


I asked how Paul transitioned from holding down a day job, to a fully fledged Business Practitioner with Maps. ‘When I first started with Maps, I was a bit of a slow burner at first. I was still working in the retail environment. I was working as an Area Manager for a charity. I was using Maps within my organisation, to help me understand my team better. Because I was still employed, and not a coach, I only used them here and there. It took me a long time to transition from a Licensed Practitioner of Maps, using them once in a while, to signing up for a Business Practitionership and using more Maps. But what I found that was really interesting is that meeting a potential client for a coffee, without the Map, and trying to get them to go in for some coaching work with me, that was challenging. But if I mapped them, then sat down with them and had a conversation, I was far more likely to enter a coaching relationship with them. Funnily enough! So that became my go-to method of engaging with potential clients.’


I asked whether he was interested in taking on larger-scale projects.


‘I went on a bit of a different tangent to a lot of associates I know who use the Maps. I still, to this day, only really use Maps one-to-one. I don’t tend to do the big projects. Groups of no bigger than usually ten is what I’m used to. Mostly what I use Maps for is as a doorway into coaching. That’s what led me to discuss with Bevis the option of transitioning to a BP. I was networking with a lot of coaches, consultants and HR managers, and telling them about the Maps and how great they are and how I use them, and mapping them – so they received and understood the benefit of a Map – but they were not turning into coaching clients. I asked myself what I could do: these people would really benefit from using Maps themselves. So therefore it seemed an obvious transition for me to step into a BP for me to develop, promote, push Licensed Practitioners of my own.’


I observed that this allowed Paul to maintain his one-to-one focus, but still grow his business. ‘I’ve been very focused on who I am, my presence as a trainer, as a facilitator. I take this role quite seriously. I’m passing information on, so I need to know my stuff!’

You can find out more about the work Paul does by heading over to Solace Coaching



5 Key Things to Remember About Motivation Part 2: Quality



The intention of these articles is to provide you with five key aspects of motivation that will help you, and perhaps your team too, understand what motivating people is really all about. Each article will tackle a new aspect in five-part series.


In our last blog, we covered what motivation is, why it’s important, and how it is often invisible to us. In this article, we’ll be covering the second aspect of motivation: the quality it brings to our lives.



Motivation is a hidden force that drives us. Often, we only start taking notice of motivation when we feel its lack. Motivation is energy. Though it is invisible and intangible, we do experience motivation physically in the form of energy. Without motivation, our lives lack zing, our business ventures lack drive and frisson; without motivation, we are like sick people, struggling to get through the ordeal of each and every day; with motivation, we become stress-resistant, immunised, and on top of everything.


I think the analogy of being “sick” without motivation is very pertinent, because as I said, we only tend to start noticing motivation when it’s gone, in the same way we take for granted our physical faculties and only notice the beauty of being able to run in the free air when we are incapable of doing so.


So, motivation is “quality” partly because it provides quality to our lives. In fact, we often use the phrase in the medical world: “quality of life” as a metric of how well we have recovered from a surgery, illness, or conditions resulting from old age. Yes, someone might live to one-hundred years old, but what is their quality of life like? That’s the key thing to think about. I think most of us would probably rather live to sixty and have a high quality of life right to the last moment, than live to one-hundred and have the last forty years feel like painful drudgery.


So, how does motivation improve the quality of our lives?


Firstly, when we are energised, we feel like we can face any problem. We become resilient and adaptable. Many experts and psychologists advocate that we need to focus more on changing our internal world and how we respond to negative events rather than trying to change the external world itself. It’s the mindset that determines how deeply certain setbacks or challenges affect us. This is all very well, and I heartily agree, but there is little in the way of advice on how to do this. It’s one thing to think it. But when bad things happen, we’re not really thinking: most of the time we’re in an emotional place (to put it another way, we’re in the heart not the head).


However, when we are highly motivated, and our motivators have been met – we view challenges differently. The idea of this is not to try and change your thinking when disaster strikes, but rather to steadily build up your defences before you need them. By doing things that feed your motivators, and build your energy, you are giving yourself the resources necessary to tackle challenges and find creative solutions.


The second way in which motivation improves quality of life is via relationships. One of the number one problems with any relationship, and as any Hollywood screenwriter noted for their dialogue will tell you, is communication. More often than not, we feel like we are talking at complete crossed-purposes with our colleagues at work, our managers, bosses, and even friends and family. We don’t see “eye to eye” because our values and priorities are completely different. And where do these values and priorities stem from? Our motivators. However, the beauty of the Motivational Map is it provides a shared language with which to discuss these differences in a non-judgemental way.


For example, let’s say you have a CEO and a brilliant Graphic Designer in a room. The Graphic Designer is very high Creator motivator (so they like to make new things) and very low Builder motivator (they don’t care about money). Now, with that kind of profile, this person is very likely to consider themselves an artist. They aren’t looking for profit, they’re looking to create spectacular things and be recognised for doing so. They are in a relatively good job for their motivational profile, but this isn’t always the be all and end all as we’re about to discover.


Now, let’s look at the CEO.


Let’s say the CEO is the other way around: very high Builder motivator and very low Creator. Again, a pretty good fit for the job in some ways. But, immediately, this is going to create conflicts with the GD. Every time the CEO flashes the cash (they drive into work in their super-car and expensive suit), or talks about the profitability of the business, that’s going to royally hack the Graphic Designer off. That is not “speaking their language”. Some of you might say: “Well, the CEO is paying his wages, so the Graphic Designer should just put up with it” and there’s some degree of truth in this, that one should never bite the hand that feeds. However, it’s equally true that the Graphic Designer is essential to the function of the business, and if he leaves, the company will not be able to operate until they get a new one, and even when they do, they will not know the company’s systems very well and will likely not be as creatively talented as their forbearer because – as we’ve established – our Graphic Designer considers themselves an artist and hence this is more than a job to them.


Similarly, every time the Graphic Designer starts experimenting and talking about crazy creative ideas, that is going to annoy the CEO, because he just wants the business to work like clockwork. It’s not that he’s greedy, it’s just that he has worked hard and fears losing competitive edge by getting sidetracked by all these new creative ideas that he can’t see the usefulness of. He doesn’t want to have to think about creative questions. He recognises the GD is a hard worker, but he wishes he would just be more focused.


Now, without Maps, this is a blow-up waiting to happen. Either the Graphic Designer is going to get fed up and leave, probably joining a smaller organisation that “gets” his artistic nature. Or, the CEO is going to put pressure on the GD to change, and impose rules and restrictions that eventually lead to redundancy. But with Maps, with motivation, the two can now understand where the other is coming from. Each has “access” to the language the other prefers. The Graphic Designer can say: “I spent an hour this morning on a new creative project that, down the line, could save us x amount of money.” And the CEO can say: “I know this is a bit boring, but your design for x advertisement was the most financially successful, so if you could do more of those, maybe play around with a few different interpretations, that would be brilliant. Take the morning off your other projects to do that if you like.”


Many of you reading this probably wish you could have this kind of interaction with your colleagues, bosses, and managers – but it feels like an impossible goal. It isn’t. This is an achievable reality. Maybe not overnight, but over time and with hard work. Motivation improves the quality of our relationships tenfold. Even without specifically mapping people using our tool, Motivational Maps, you can still make educated guesses as to the motivators of people in your team, and respond in kind. Why not try it at your next team meeting? Spend an evening working out what the top two motivators of each person you work with are, and then the next day act accordingly: you might be surprised as to the result.


Motivation is, of course, not as black and white and simple as in this example. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, we are not “one” motivator but a combination of nine in different orders and with different weighting that makes each profile and person unique. However, the 80 / 20 principle is certainly a key thing to bear in mind. If we focus on the 80 percent, the top few motivators that make the biggest difference, we can see drastic improvement in our energy and relationships, and therefore, our quality of life.


Thank you for tuning in!




Tune in for further entries in this blog series to discover more about motivation!


Want to discover your motivators? You can also discover them yourself, or get close to it, by doing a few simple exercises. I have created a nine-part blog series Unlocking Motivation, to help take you through this process. It’s completely free, and will tell you a hell of a lot about the Maps and what they’re all about. To get started, you can go to part 1 here.

Alternatively, for a deeper dive into the language and metrics of motivation, as well as a Motivational Map code for a pin-point accurate motivational profile, you can buy Mapping Motivation: Unlocking The Key to Employee Energy and Engagement.

5 Key Things to Remember About Motivation Part 1: Invisible


The intention of these articles is to provide you with five key aspects of motivation that will help you, and perhaps your team too, understand what motivating people is really all about. Each article will tackle a new aspect in five-part series. 


But first, what is motivation? It seems a simple question, on the surface, but as soon as one thinks about it a little longer, we realise that it is not straightforward. Motivation is a slightly nebulous concept and there have been many definitions over the years. For example, motivation is about “goal pursuit” or “the reason for doing something.” However, I find these definitions to be largely inadequate, especially when it comes to measuring an individual, team, or organisation’s motivation, which is the name of the game. 


As a society, I think our perception of motivation has been warped over time. It evokes athletes pushing their bodies to the limit and advertisement for sports drinks. However, this is not what motivation is about. Yes, there are certain individuals who can motivate themselves to do extreme things, and there are others – gurus – who can motivate othersto do one-off challenges that might seem frightening or even ludicrous, but this says nothing of our day-to-day personal motivation. Why do some people wake up energised and willing to go to work, and some don’t? Why are some people fulfilled by what they do (a small number of people relatively speaking, but significant), and some people trapped in a paroxysm of negativity? Why are some people motivated and some not? 


And why is motivation so important? Because motivation leads not just to greater happiness (which is perhaps the ideal outcome for the individual) but also increased productivity and performance (which is perhaps the ideal outcome for the organisation or employer). The British attitude of “grin and bear it” is particularly unhelpful here. It encourages us not to listen to how we really feel about things, to keep on doing the same things that demotivate us and drain our energy. Ah, I have let the word slip. Motivation is energy. It’s our fuel in the tank that helps us achieve what we want. And, to keep our motivation levels and energy high, we have to learn how to feed our motivators. 


Much like cars, our motivational engines require different types of fuel. There is no “one activity feeds all” approach that so many gurus claim to have discovered. We each have nine motivators, though they are ranked in a priority order. Our top motivators determine the type of fuel that is most effective for kick-starting our “engines”, though, the lower motivators can be very important too in certain circumstances. By discovering our motivators, we can learn how to feed our engines more effectively and keep us motivated through whatever storm, whether it’s technological displacement, societal changes, changes to our working conditions or management, or even personal struggles. 


So, onto the first aspect of motivation… 


It’s invisible


Like love; it’s easy to think we have motivation when we haven’t. It’s also easy to think it’s not important, but it is. Just because we can force ourselves to do jobs we take, or cope in environments that are detrimental to our health, doesn’t mean we should! Motivation is conceptual even though it does have a physical manifestation in that we feel energy levels. Therefore, getting someone to come into your organisation and talk about motivation is never going to be a hundred percent effective. For one, each employee will have a different definition of what motivation is. Secondly, only some of your employees will find talks motivating in and of themselves. Remember I said that each motivator (of the nine) needs a different type of fuel? Each motivational profile is made up of unique cocktail of these nine motivators in different quantities, if you will. Therefore, an Expert motivator is far more likely to find talks motivating and engaging, than, for example, a Friend motivator. 


In addition, away-days and activities – such as company-organised paintballing or a special night out on the town – are also never going to work long term. They can temporarily boost motivation, don’t get me wrong. But it often wears off after a few weeks, and the return to normality can sometimes be so brutal that it actually causes motivation to lower, a bit like artificial economic spikes that then lead to long term slumps. Again, certain motivators will find these events more motivating than others (here, the Friend might be in their element) but others might find it less so or evenly actively de-motivating (such as the Spirit). 


Sometimes, you don’t need a tool or an expert to see someone is de-motivated, it’s true. You can take one look at someone’s body posture and listen to the way they’re talking and realise something is deeply amiss and they are likely to either leave the company or continue a downward performance spiral. However, by the time it gets to that point, it is often too late. You need to pre-empt motivational slumps and help people to re-align their day-to-day work activities with their motivational profile, so they are getting the fuel they need. 


This is why, above all, we need visibility. We need to make the invisible visible. That is what our tool, the Motivational Map, achieves. It makes motivation, which was previously intangible, tangible. It provides a numeric metric that is clear and easily understood. It not only tells you to what extent someone is motivated (with a percentage) but also the extent to which each individual motivator is met and, perhaps most importantly, what order that person’s nine motivators fall in. 


The Maps is not prescriptive, however. This is not a psychometric test where you get your results and say: “Yeah, that sounds like me” and nothing comes of it, or, worse, you feel like you’ve been put in a box. For one, your motivational profile changes over time. Psychometrics measure the 20-30% of your personality thought to be fixed or attributable to biology or “nature”. The Maps measures the 70- 80% that is “nurture” or experiential – and therefore fluctuates. In addition, no profile in Maps is defined by one attribute. Everybody is a nuanced and complex assembly of the nine motivators, which are grounded in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors, and the Enneagram. 


So, let’s get some visibility on our motivation levels. Let’s make the invisible visible. Because it’s the invisible things in life (like love) that truly drive us, not the visible. Our desire for money, or to do volunteer work, or to create a new beautiful canvas, are driven by something deeper that is less easy to articulate without scientific tools. In the words of the Ancient Egyptians: “All the world which lies below has been set in order and filled in contents by the things which are placed above; for the things below have not the power to set in order the world above” – Book of the Dead.


Thank you for tuning in! 




Tune in for further entries in this blog series to discover more about motivation! 


Want to discover your motivators? You can also discover them yourself, or get close to it, by doing a few simple exercises. I have created a nine-part blog series Unlocking Motivation, to help take you through this process. It’s completely free, and will tell you a hell of a lot about the Maps and what they’re all about. To get started, you can go to part 1 here.

Alternatively, for a deeper dive into the language and metrics of motivation, as well as a Motivational Map code for a pin-point accurate motivational profile, you can buy Mapping Motivation: Unlocking The Key to Employee Energy and Engagement.

Why You’re Arguing With Your Colleagues, and What To Do About It


The “workplace” is often fraught with unspoken, or sometimes very loudly spoken, tension. It’s rare – and precious – that one finds a cohesive team environment, with good leadership, that is at once productive and fun to be in. Most businesses operate under the assumption that “people are professionals and we hire professional people”, therefore there’s no problem: people will get on with it. But the fact remains that the lived experience of the majority of employees is precisely the opposite of this. We find certain people are unbearable to work with, and we don’t understand the causes, we just feel it; this friction causes untold problems for the operational efficiency and creativity.




Well, a simplistic answer might be that we, as human mammals, are social and emotional creatures. Therefore, it’s inevitable that in large groups, there will be conflicts and disagreements between different “factions”. However, this is partly missing the point. It’s not what we all share that causes these conflicts. Nor is it what makes us different externally – except in the case of extremely prejudiced outliers. No, more often than not, it is something deeper and more internal that causes these rifts, something that is rarely truthfully acknowledged at the workplace: our motivations.


When I say motivation, I am not referring to “ra ra” motivation: pep talks, quarterly financial goals, quirky bonus packages. I am referring to a deeper constructed value system that we all possess, but often don’t know even ourselves. It has been my “mission from God”, to quote the Blues Brothers, over the last 13 years to measure and accurately quantify these internal motivators. The results have been startling, and one of the best outcomes of discovering these internal drivers, is the resolution of workplace tensions and conflicts.




Let me start by laying out the basics. There are nine motivators within each of us. Each of them sits above the level of survival. In other words, once we get beyond food, shelter, warmth, water, etc, we begin to move on to these nine “secondary” motivators. But of course, to call them “secondary” is to undermine their power. These motivators are extremely powerful, and trying to go against them can have disastrous impact on our mental health and wellbeing, our energy levels, and our self esteem. But more on that later.


I should point out very clearly that this is not a psychometric system. You are not x motivator or y motivator, fixed, forever. Your motivators change over time as you grow and develop. In addition, we all have all nine motivators, but we simply have them in a priority order. For example, my number one motivator is Creator. It’s not my only motivator, but it’s my most powerful and tends to trump the others. Therefore, it’s often my most important, motivator. What does this mean? Well, it doesn’t just mean that I like to create things (most people could probably tell that about me anyway). It also means that I (a) am risk-friendly (b) am future-orientated & (c) results, not efficiency, driven (d) that I prioritise personal growth over achievements or even relationships. Now, these are not hard and fast rules, because as I said, a profile is made up of the nine motivators in order, and these can produce incredible combinations that actually reflect the nuance and complexity of the human interior. However, even this surface level single-motivator insight gives us a pretty strong idea of what drives me and how to make me happy. You see, understanding your motivators, whatreally drives you, provides a shared language to talk about our desires and wants in a work-appropriate way.


So, returning to the concept of conflict-resolution… how does this help? Well, when we understand the motivators more clearly, we not only understand ourselves better, but we understand other people and their motivations. Certain motivators are opposed, or seemingly so. For example, the Defender motivator values security and regularity. They are risk-averse. They are past orientated. They prioritise relationships over everything else. And they are efficiency over results, process over productivity. The Defender naturally conflicts with the Creator’s desire to change things and take risks to develop new ideas or methodologies. However, when both parties are aware of the motivations of the other, it leads to the first step in the process of breaking down these barriers. It also gives people a non-personal, non-accusatory language to speak about their differences. For example: The Creator might be very frustrated that the Defender is always squashing / throwing out their ideas. However, if the Creator knows that person is a Defender, they can approach them in a different way: “Hey, I know that we need to be careful and not take too many risks, but if this idea works, it could actually yield us more financial security.” Or, the other way around, the Defender could approach the Creator: “Hey, I know that you’re a really creative person, but right now, the R&D budget is getting tighter and tighter, so maybe we should explore some options together that we know will get approved before committing to further development?”


This is only the beginning, the “tip of the iceberg” as it were. But it shows clearly that conflicts in the workplace are almost never about the decisions or situations themselves, they are about the underlying value system that is derived from our motivation. When our key motivators are blocked, we can become very de-motivated and unhappy very quickly. If we are Creator motivators working in an accountancy firm, for example, that will be a very tough environment to thrive in, because our creativity will constantly be being checked and limited. Similarly, a Defender motivator is unlikely to have much joy in a risky tech-start up!


So, how can you discover your motivators? Well, we have a tool, the Motivational Map, which allows you to discover your motivators with pin-point accuracy. But, you can also discover it yourself, or get close to it, by doing a few simple exercises. I have created a nine-part blog series Unlocking Motivation, to help take you through this process. It’s completely free, and will tell you a hell of a lot about the Maps and what they’re all about. To get started, you can go to part 1 here.


Alternatively, for a deeper dive into the language and metrics of motivation, as well as a Motivational Map code, you can buy Mapping Motivation: Unlocking The Key to Employee Energy and Engagement.







Interview with a BP #7: Sonia Gavira

'It’s a financial and time commitment that you have to be ready for and you need to be clear who your target market is going to be. But it is really rewarding seeing others realise how amazing the information that the Maps gives you is.'

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Sonia Gavira is our seventh instalment, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond. 

Sonia gavira

Sonia’s journey with Motivational Maps began when she met Susannah Brade-Waring at an Employee Engagement event organised by someone at Merlin. ‘I had just finished working on a global project of engagement for Ford Motor Company and they’d asked me to present to a group of local leaders interested in engagement. I sat next to Susannah we immediately hit it off – it’s easy to do with her!’


HR Searcher

As might be expected of a Searcher, the real moment of connection with the Maps came when Sonia received some feedback for the work she’d done:

'I have recently licensed some people who are loving the Maps and really starting to use them in their business - one of them thanked me and said that she had nearly given up her business and that the work with the Maps has given her a new lease of life.’

As someone licensed in a number of tools – Myers Briggs, True Colors, Disc, PIAV, Strenghtscope to name just a few – Sonia found herself experiencing the same feelings that many others have expressed on first encountering the Map: ‘Not another tool!’ However, her concerns were quickly soothed: ‘A little while after the event, Susannah contacted me about Motivational Maps. I really liked Susannah, so I did it despite misgivings and found the information really interesting. It was talking to me about where I was in that moment and resonated deeply.’

It turned out Sonia’s motivation was declining. ‘And I knew why - I no longer had a huge project that was making a huge difference (Searcher). I no longer had that community of coaches globally (Friend). And I was starting to think I might have to go back into employment (Spirit) in order to keep some form of regular income.’ Sonia’s next remark is intriguing, because it points towards the therapeutic power of the Maps: ‘The Map really was telling me my story as I was living it then.’ Another way to word this might be it was reflecting her real story and journey, which is what therapists naturally do with their clients in order to help them grasp their narrative.

'What it also told me,’ Sonia continues. ‘Was that my dislike of talking about myself and putting myself in the limelight (Star was then my lowest motivator), was getting in the way - how could I go out and do the work I wanted to do if I was reluctant to promote myself?’

It’s not only the drivers that speak volumes and ‘tell the story’ but also the lower motivators. In some ways, we can get more information on the ‘way forward’ from a difficult situation by looking at the lowest motivator than the highest. Or, at least, that was the case for Sonia, as she underwent a transformation: ‘I set out to work on that and reframe how I saw promoting myself, in a way that would plug into what really drives me. So I said to myself: ‘Sonia, if you want to make a difference, build a community, and keep your independence, you have to talk about yourself and what you offer. That way, talking about yourself will help you make a difference, build a community, and keep you working for yourself.’ Sonia uses the Maps ‘language’ to help communicate with her inner psyche. The results are fascinating and surprising: ‘Six months later, I redid my own map and the Star motivator had moved up to number 4! That is what then sold me on maps and that’s what lead me to train with Susannah to become a BP.’

'I now use the maps as part of my intake session - the session that I use to get to know my client and set up the coaching contract. And what I’ve found is that most of my clients want to repeat the Map towards the end of our working together as they sense that there has been a change. The maps are also becoming an integral part of my work in employee engagement and leadership development where we explore motivation as the missing piece in engagement and leadership performance. The piece which has always been there as an intangible and now can be tangible.’

You can check out videos of Sonia Gavira explaining the concepts behind motivation and discovering our inner drives here. To discover your motivation, click here.




Welcome to the last instalment of the "law of three". In part 1, we examined what the "law of three" is on a macro-logical level and looked at affirmation, denial, and reconciliation. In part 2, we drilled down into how this applies to business and the Self Concept. In this final part we will be looking at the way fear interacts with motivation! 

In Motivational Maps, we have a system we call RAG. It stands for Relationship, Achievement, and Growth. These are three clusters of motivators. There are nine motivators, in all, which are modelled off of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Edgar Schrein’s Career Anchors, and the Enneagram. And, obeying the “law of three”, they fall into three groups of three, representing their tendencies.


  • Relationship motivators deal with emotional / interpersonal needs: security (Defender), belonging (Friend), and recognition (Star)


  • Achievement motivators deal with professional or career-orientated needs: control (Director), financial or material gain (Builder), and skills and knowledge acquisition (Expert)


  • Growth motivators deal with personal development and the spiritual self: freedom and independence (Spirit), creativity and imagination (Creator), and making a difference / meaning (Searcher)


Relationship motivators are past-focused, and change-resistant. Achievement motivators are present-focused and change-ambivalent. Growth motivators are future-focused and change-friendly. It’s not good or bad to belong to any one of these groups, they merely reflect our internal drives that, if not met, may cause us to become demotivated.


How do they fit into the Self Concept model? Well, very simply.


  • Relationship

    • Past

    • Self Esteem

    • Feeling


  • Achievement

    • Present

    • Self Image

    • Thinking



  • Growth

    • Future

    • Ideal Self

    • Knowing


It should be noted that at this level, the Affirm, Deny, Reconcile model becomes more complex, because any one of these can Affirm, Deny, or Reconcile dependent on circumstances. For example, the Ideal Self may affirm a bright future, which is denied by past experience (Self Esteem) and then reconciled by present Self Image. These forces are constantly in motion. So, we must observe them in action. Clive Barker understood this when writing his fiction that his three “players” or characters could, at any given time, take on a different role. And, indeed they do. His Reconciler, Gentle, is at times the Denier. His Denier, the assassin Pie’oh’pah, becomes an Affirmer in many instances. So, in real life, do we switch roles dependent on context and circumstance.


There is one more level of overlay to complete this “law of three”. We have spoken about how the Self Concept not only works at an individual level, but an organisational one too. This is also true of RAG. Organisations will have an overall tendency toward Relationship motivators, Achievement motivators or Growth motivators, depending on the type of people they have employed. Theoretically, of course, certain types of job will attract certain types of motivator. But of course, there will also be a host of people in a job that is not an ideal fit for their motivators – or else, a more complex fit.


When we observe these organisation tendencies, this changes how we approach addressing the “hygiene factors” or self-care of the people involved. Due to RAG, every organisation will have a leaning towards a priority. This leads to another trinity: Values, Mission & Vision.


  • Relationship cluster organisations will prioritise values, because these are shared beliefs, and communal. This is what will drive them.


  • Achievement cluster organisations will prioritise the mission.


  • Growth cluster motivators will prioritise the vision.


Some people might ask whether there is a difference between a mission and a vision. The difference is subtle. A vision is a projected future, an ideal to strive towards, such as “to transform the way management is approached worldwide”. A mission is more concrete. It’s to sell ten-thousand units or to “impact a million people”. Consider how these differences might affect your organisation or clients, and how you might make different decisions based on understanding these deeper drives.


Finally, I want to talk about fear. Motivation and fear are intrisically linked. Motivation is a source of energy. We feed our motivation by meeting our motivational needs (and it’s worth re-iterating, that we all have all nine motivators, we simply have some we prioritise more than others). However, when we do not feed our motivators, that is when fear sets in. We can start to move away from things that de-motivate us rather than moving towards what motivates us. For example, if we have Spirit as our top motivator, which is the desire for independence, we begin to rebel against controlling people in our organisation, rather than quitting our job and striking out on our own. Or, choosing to influence the parts of our job we can control.


Decisions based on fear are never healthy. Yet, we see the majority of people are paralysed by fear. They cannot quit their jobs for fear of never finding another. They cannot create new things for fear they will be ridiculed. And so on. When every decision his made out of fear, we only deepen the quagmire into which we are sinking. It is only by breaking loose from the fear that we can seize our own destiny and become our true selves. Businesses make the same mistake. They move away from opportunities out of fear of risk, or, they recklessly take every opportunity, because they are scared of missing out on what their competitors might have.


Each motivational RAG cluster has a specific fear that is attached to it. Being aware of this fear will help you, at an individual, team, and organisational level, not to make decisions based on fear.


Relationship cluster motivators fear failure. It’s often said of Defender, Friend, and Star motivators that when they are demotivated or struggling they spend more time avoiding mistakes, covering their backs, than being productive. We see this in numerous organisations too, where bureaucratic covering (the endless sending of emails to verify who said what and who is accountable) takes up more of the daily routine than actually working.


Achievement cluster motivators fear people. Or rather, the ambiguity of people. This expresses itself in a number of ways. The Director motivator, for example, wants to control people, perhaps because it doesn’t like the thought of unpredictable behaviour, so it keeps people on lockdown. The Expert motivator, typified by the IT guru or “geek”, doesn’t like people because they are ambiguous. There are exceptions, of course, such as someone who perhaps has their expertise in the study of people (re: psychology), but even then don’t we observe an attempt to quantify the unknown? Finally, Builder motivators fear people because they are by nature the most competitive motivator. Who else is hot on their tail? Organisations that are Achievement cluster tend to neglect the people in their organisation because they do not understand them. The classic situation is that they offer bonuses and financial perks which only serve to demotivate people further. Strange, but true!


Growth cluster motivators fear stopping. To stand still is death to the Growth motivators. They are constantly driving forward (with their future orientation), trying to create new things and broaden their horizons. As a result, the past – and retrogression – scares them. We see organisations like this too, where all their products are rushed to market, where they are endlessly updating their software or offerings, because they simply cannot sit still and regroup.


So, let’s recap on the many levels of the “law of three”:


  • Relationship

    • Past

    • Self Esteem

    • Feeling

    • Values driven

    • Fear failure


  • Achievement

    • Present

    • Self Image

    • Thinking

    • Mission driven

    • Fear people



  • Growth

    • Future

    • Ideal Self

    • Knowing

    • Vision driven

    • Fear stopping


There are many more aspects to the “law of three”, and have no doubt that members of the Maps community will continue to expand upon this model, but hopefully this has given you some insight into the secret law of the universe, and how to use it to navigate the complexity of dealing with people and teams.

For more information on RAG, Self Concept, motivation and leadership, check out James Sale's book series Mapping Motivation




Last week, we introduced the "law of three". Now we have this groundwork, how can we more effectively use the “law of three” when it comes to leadership, management, coaching, and business? We might start by examining the “law of three” in action when we view the Self Concept. The Self Concept is divided into three constituent parts:


  • Self Esteem (affirmation) which is how we feel about ourselves.

  • Self Image (denial) which is what we think about ourselves (and this is most-often very far from reality, hence a “denial”)

  • Ideal Self (reconciliation) which is how imagine ourselves in the future, and hence a reconciliation point for the dispirit Self Esteem and Self Image.


So, straight away, we can see where conflicts and tensions might arise for individuals (and even teams and organisations – but more on that later) when we view this tripartite model. Most people think they “know themselves”, but actually, this is not true. Most people have a blind spot when it comes to themselves (the doctor cannot heal his/her own ailment), and hence their Self Image, or conscious idea of themselves, is at odds with how they really feel about themselves (Esteem).


Our inability to see ourselves as we see others is the reason why we have so many self-help books, personality profilers, psychometrics and diagnostics, and a tendency to over-identify with groups and movements – all to form a sense of identity. Walter Pater, a 19th Century English essayist and art critic, once said: “The first step towards seeing one's object as it really is, is to know one's own impression, to discriminate it, to realise it distinctly. What is this song or picture, this engaging personality in life or in a book, to me?”


One classic example of conflicted Self Concept is that of the depressive comedian. There are two very different selves here. One is garrulous, funny, confident, and can project this in abundance to an audience. The other hates themselves. We are all the depressive comedian to some extent. We have an idea of ourselves that is artificially constructed to preserve our sanity, because if we give in to the nagging force of the unconscious, the feeling state, we might well self-immolate.


The resolution to this is the Ideal Self, the Self that we project into the future. Maybe we can improve ourselves through x and y steps, so we feel better about ourselves, and more accurately reflect our Self Image. This is the fundamental basics of coaching: helping people to take steps toward their Ideal Self. It is also, however, part of working with teams and organisations. Every team and organisation also has a Self Concept. There is a Self Image, or in other words, what the company thinks it is – the content of which is often marketed on websites, social media, and promotional advertising. This is also often reflected in the “core values” that companies like to state (but rarely adhere to). This leads on to the Self Esteem, what the people in the organisation actually feel the company is. Often, it is completely out of whack with the Self Image. For example, the company states a core value as “caring for every employee”, but then proceeds to treat them awfully. Finally, we have the Ideal Self: where the organisation wants to be in five or ten or even twenty years’ time.


To go back to basics, we can see there is also a time correspondence with these three concepts. Self Esteem, for example, is rooted in the past. It is how we feel about ourselves, which is often tied to past experiences. The Self Image, on the other hand, is rooted in the present. It is how we have constructed our identity based on thinking. The Ideal Self, of course, is rooted in the future. As you can see, they also correspond with think, feel, know. We feel Self Esteem. We think Self Image. And we know, with gut-intelligence instinct, our Ideal Self. By understanding the interactions of these three forces, we can better get to the root of the problem.

Stay tuned for the final part, part 3, next week! 






The universe is founded upon a profound “law of three”. We observe it in almost everything. For example, scientifically, there are three dimensions of space: height, width, and depth. There are three types of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. We might also view another trinity of reality: matter, space, and time.


Mythologically, we observe the law of three as well. There were three primary gods in Greek mythology: Hades, Lord of the Underworld, Zeus, Lord of the Heavens, and Poseidon, Lord of the Sea. In Catholic Christian theology, we understand God as a trinity: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even in the East, where religious practices and traditions seem radically different, we observe the law of three. There are three primary gods in Indian Hinduism: Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. I could go on!


Philosophically, the law of three is present again. Human beings, for example, are said to have a mind, body, and a soul; three composite parts that create the complex whole. We might even be bold enough to then link this back to the scientific dimensions. For example, the human brain has three primary divisions: amygdala or “reptile brain” that governs basic functions and fight or flight, the mammalian brain which governs emotions, and the neo-cortex, which governs our reasoning and critical-thinking skills. This correlates, in respective order, to gut instinct, heart, and head-based decision making.


This is more than mere strange coincidence. These three principles, or “forces” as I like to view them, run through all matter and living things. To understand these three forces, what they mean, and how to harness has become a mission of mine, and I want to share some of that understanding with you.


Firstly, the three forces – whatever their incarnation – may be summed up as follows:


  • The Affirmer (the creator, the life-giver, the instigator)

  • The Denier (the destroyer, the life-taker, the reactor)

  • The Reconciler (the resolver, the bridge, the completer)


These three forces are always at work, moving. They remain in constant flux and balance, almost at a stalemate. Let’s look at a mythological example and then a scientific one to illustrate this. Zeus is the creator, who represents solid matter. He is constantly in conflict with his brother, Hades, who is the Lord of the Dead, spirits that represent gaseous matter. The two are often at loggerheads, but they are sometimes reconciled by their third brother, Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, who represents liquid matter. As a side note, liquid is often a lubricant between the lands of the living and the dead in mythology across the globe.


Now, how might this translate scientifically? The universe is composed of space. This space is not infinite, but beyond comprehension and, even more bizarrely, ever expanding. This expansion however is inhibited by the matter that resides within this space. The forces of the universe are tethered by physical existence. The reconciler, here, is time. Time allows things to move, and to become. Otherwise, matter and space would simply tear the universe apart in an instant. Time, however, equalises and reconciles the two into what we know as existence. The universe is expanding, matter moves within it, and all of this takes place across stretches of time dizzying to comprehend.


It’s worth me noting that the great British author Clive Barker wrote the following in the opening of his epic fantasy novel Imajica (1991): “...in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players. Between warring kings, a peacemaker; between adoring spouses, a seducer, or a child. Between twins, the spirit of the womb. Between lovers, Death. Great numbers might drift through the drama, of course – thousands in fact – but they could only ever be phantoms, agents or, on rare occasions, reflections of the three real and self-willed beings who stood at the centre.”


I think this perfectly summarises the “law of three” because, as he rightly observes, the law of three is not just present at a cosmic level, but a microscopic level too, and a personal human-relationship level. It is not just in the division of reality, but also in our daily lives. That is the weird “blueprint” of the universe.


We say “three is the magic number”, but we don’t know just how true that is.

Stay tuned for part 2 next week! 


Interview with a BP #5: Mark Terrell

As with every business decision, be clear on where it fits in and have a vision of where you want to take it. Anything worth doing needs commitment and belief for when you’re not making progress as fast as you’d hoped.”

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Mark Terrell is our fifth, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond. 

Mark terrell_circle


Mark is a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner, leadership coach and trainer, and creator of The Reluctant Leader. The Reluctant Leader is designed to help those people who, through no fault of their own, are feeling out of their depth in a leadership role. There are three areas that he focuses on: the mindset, the process, and the skills people need to become a Liberated Leader. Don’t miss The Reluctant Leader Podcast for oodles of free advice, mini courses to complete, and the application to join The Reluctant Leader Mastermind which opens 3 times per year.


HR Creator

Mark began his journey with Maps after selling his retail business. Mark has a high Creator motivator, which is partly why pursuing a different avenue to the “psychometric route” appealed to him. This is really significant, because most people don’t realise just how different the Maps are to a psychometric test. Psychometrics are prescriptive and deal in behaviours, whereas Maps look at the inner drives. Our inner drives may determine certain behaviours, but they go deeper than that, offering more profound insight into what is really going on, and why people do what they do. In addition, unlike psychometrics which stereotype us based on behaviours, allowing for discriminatory use (for example “You’re not a completer-finisher, so we won’t hire you”), the nine motivators are all equal and serve different functions.


Speaking of inner drives, Mark’s Creator has driven him to progress quickly with the Maps: “I realised I didn’t want to just use Maps, I wanted to spread the word where I saw opportunities for Recruiters, Coaches, and Trainers to offer something different.” From having become a Licensed Practitioner, he soon wanted to step up to becoming a BP: “A year later I took the next leap to become a Business Practitioner and started to grow my team of mappers to spread the word and make a bigger difference in the world. Seeing others harness the power of Motivational Maps in their work adds an exciting dimension to my business mission.”


Mark is also influenced the Expert motivator: “I learn as much from my Licensed Practitioner team as they do from me. As a high Expert I like to spread my knowledge to others but also like to learn from others.” This two-way street is absolutely critical for a healthy Business Practitioner-Licensee relationship, especially where Experts are involved! In fact, this may well be applicable more broadly to any manager-employee relationship. If managers believe they cannot learn anything from their staff, then no wonder staff feel frustrated, and organisations keep making the same mistakes.


Every time I train a new Practitioner I know that it will help them make a bigger difference to their clients and open up opportunities only Maps can. Growing my Practitioner network gives an added dimension to my business, it's like what they say: 'If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together'.”


What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.


The 4 Components of Real Teams


Working with organisations trying to motivate and level-up their teams, I would often ask the all important question: “Are you a group or are you a team?” I’m often met with a question in return: “What do you mean?” or “What’s the difference?”


The difference could not be more profound. A group of talented individuals, who are not really a team, will never perform as well, in the long run, as less talented individuals functioning as a team. A good example of this would be national football teams. The logic in assembling national teams is often that if we pick the best players from all the clubs, and put them together, their collective skill will add up to something. Of course, this is often not the case. The players are unused to working together. In fact, they have been actively competing with one another at every other juncture in their careers; so, they don’t gel as a unit, they don’t cooperate, they don’t have rapport and that kind of near-telepathic connection that well-functioning football teams exhibit (where one player makes a pass and another player moves into an unusual space on the pitch to perfectly intercept the pass, almost as if reading the mind of the other).


Looking at an example of a good team, we need only turn to the Gospels. Whether you are religious or accept the spiritual dimension to these manuscripts, it remains evident from a historical perspective that the Apostles must have been an incredible team, and Christ an incredible leader. In fact, so incredible was Christ’s leadership, that he was able to be absent! He created a vision for what he wanted, he conveyed that vision and mission to his team of twelve, and then those twelve delivered – spreading the message of Christianity to the whole world, even converting the Roman Empire from paganism, which was difficult indeed! Christ, notably, had already ‘ascended’ by this point, and was no longer in the picture. He left the Apostles to their mission, and trusted them to deliver, using their own resourcefulness and creativity (and his teachings) to overcome any obstacles. Think about how this contrasts sharply with how most managers go about their team-leadership: micro-managing, constantly checking in for updates, stressing over the fine-details and the ‘hows’. It’s clear from this example that leaders need to trust their team, if they are to effectively deliver.


However, looking at examples is one thing, but we need to break down the mechanics of how teams (versus groups) actually work. In my book Mapping Motivation for Leadership, co-authored with Jane Thomas, we outline four key components of a real team, and how these can be used by leaders for effective team-building. The four components are as follows:


1) Have a clear mission or remit

We already have a good example of this in Christ. But if that is slightly too religious, we might look at the team behind the moon landing. John F. Kennedy said imperatively that they had to put a man on the moon, even though they “didn’t know how to do it yet”. The vision was absolutely crystal clear. This galvanised virtually an entire nation to solving the problem of successfully putting a human being on the moon.


The flipside to having a clear mission or remit is of course ‘No clear mission, but job titles’. When people have what they believe to be an individually determined ‘role’, such as the ‘team manager’, or ‘sales rep’, then it directs them to act as individuals in pursuit of their individual goals. I’m not saying, of course, that we shouldn’t have job titles, but rather job titles should be superseded by something more powerful: a vision and objective.


There is a famous story about when President John F. Kennedy came to visit NASA. He met a janitor, sweeping the floor. The President cordially introduced himself and asked the janitor what he was doing. The janitor said: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” The janitor had such a clear sense of purpose, was so connected to the mission, that he knew even sweeping the floors was incredibly important to helping the astronauts, data analysts, scientists, and engineers do their thing.


2) Develop interdependency

We mentioned earlier the way that good football players, working as a team, can almost predict each others’ behaviours and act accordingly. They operate as an entity with many limbs rather than a group of separate entities. Great strikers – who play up front – don’t hunt for glory, going out on their own, but know they are reliant on the positioning and tactics of their fellow team mates to get them the ball, and to create the openings, that will allow them to score.


Many people resist interdependency and it is easy to see why. There is nothing worse than a feeling of powerlessness arising from bureaucracy. For example, you cannot do x until y person or department has “approved” it. However, there is a difference between bureaucracy and “process” without purpose, and learning how to rely and work with those around you.


3) Believe in the efficacy of teamwork

Belief is important in anything we do. But, when creating a team, every member of that team has to believe in the purpose and effectiveness of the team. If secretly one member of the team is harbouring doubts, thinking: “Well, I don’t want to be with these people, I’m better at x or y than them” this can create serious problems down the line. One need only turn again to the example of the Apostles and Jesus for a case-in-point. Judas harboured doubts about Jesus and his team-mates for all kinds of reasons.


One of the most notable examples of Judas expressing this doubt is during the Last Supper. Jesus is about to be lathered with perfume. Judas accosts Jesus saying: “Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages” (John 12:5). He calls into question Jesus’ morality. If Jesus is prepared to have rich and expensive perfume lathered on him, is he really the person they thought he is? The important thing to bear in mind in relation to our topic is that it only takes one dissolute team-member to undermine the entire operation. Every person must wholly believe in the purpose and power of the team.


4) Practise accountability

Accountability is often something that managers ask for from their employees. We should note that this should not turn into a blame culture. Too often managers want their employees to “be more accountable” so that they themselves can relinquish responsibility. All must practise accountability equally and fairly.


True teams support their members. If a striker misses a goal-shot, they should be able to accept that they have squandered an opportunity, but equally, should not be blamed by their team-mates for doing so. Their own sense of responsibility is, most likely, punishing enough! Great teams help each other learn from these mistakes, of course, and develop new strategies to overcome obstacles and challenges.


If you want to take this further, I’d like to offer you a 30% discount on my book Mapping Motivation For Leadership, co-authored with Jane Thomas, so you can get the full experience! Simply use this code: ADS19 at check out to get your 30% off! You can purchase the book from the Routledge website here.


As always, thank you for reading. Stay motivated!




There has been something of a leadership take-over on the Motivational Memos site, but this is no bad thing, as leadership is intrinsically linked with motivation! We have looked at the four types of leader, the three critical mistakes leaders can make, the five key aspects of leadership from a motivational perspective, and how Maps advocates a different kind of leadership to the popular models today.

Today, I want to look at planning, and I want to give you some useful tools for planning and visioning. In my article the five key aspects of leadership from a motivational perspective, I identified “vision for those you lead” as one of those key aspects. Therefore, a vital role for a leader is to have a vision for their company and teams, and a plan of how to get there. All vision and no practical plan makes for simply ‘dreaming’ without action. Of course, dreaming, or to use a more business-like term ‘envisioning’, is important too – nothing can happen without first seeing it in the ‘mind’s eye’, to quote Hamlet. But for real change to occur, there has to be a plan of how to make this happen.


It is fitting that I have just referenced Hamlet, because in fact this was the eponymous character’s very problem. He saw in his mind’s eye what he needed to do: avenge his father by killing his uncle, but he had no real plan for doing it. And, when he did create a plan, it was so complex as to be entirely ineffective. Therefore, his story ends in tragedy and universal calamity, rather than victory. If only Hamlet had used Motivational Maps!


However, it must be said that if creating a practical plan to achieve our visions were easy, we’d all be doing it, and we wouldn’t see quite so many examples of organisations floundering because of directionless leadership. On a micro-level, we all set goals that we don’t have good plans for achieving. We want to lose weight so we decide to go to the gym every day, not realising that this is completely impractical from all kinds of stand-points (financial, time, competing demands, etc!).


So, let me introduce you to a five-step model, called the Five Elements, which can get you from dreaming and envisioning to completing your goal. The easiest way to look at the Five Elements model is through an example. I’m going to share the example used in Mapping Motivation for Leadership, my book co-authored with Jane Thomas, which is to deploy the Five Elements for planning a holiday, using five questions:


1. Where do I want to go, or what is my ideal destination?


2. How will I get there, or what’s my preferred mode of transport?


3. How much can I spend, or what will it cost?


4. What can I do when I get there, or what do I want to do?


5. Where did I go last year? Plus, how good was my holiday last year?


Now, you may already be able to see some business application to these questions, but for now let’s continue with the example and look at hypothetical answers to these questions:


1. My ideal destination is Sydney, Australia (and I am based in the UK)


2. By train; I hate flying


3. My bank account is currently £2K overdrawn and I have no savings


4. I love seeing Renaissance art and visiting Gothic churches


5. Bognor Regis – terrible; it rained so much that most of the time I stayed in


Now, amusing as this hodgepodge is – you will be looking for a long time to find Gothic churches in Sydney! – it sadly reflects the reality of how most organisations plan. They answer questions without reconciling the context of the other questions, and therefore create a vision that is unworkable. This can be due to people at the top not listening to more experienced or practically-minded people on the ground. Or perhaps simply over-ambition on the part of everyone in the organisation. Of course, in this example, it is obvious that we cannot realistically get to Sydney via train. However, if we view this in more business terms, it might not be quite as obvious that we cannot sell ten-thousand units through brick-and-mortar stores (perhaps due to supplier limitations).


There is an element of risk in pretty much all business, with perhaps one or two exceptions such as publicly funded organisations. Certainly I fully advocate experimenting, taking the initiative, seizing chances, and so forth. Many technological companies founded their success on taking bold innovative leaps. But equally, many technology companies also go bust taking bold innovative leaps. So, a balance is necessary here. We want to be ambitious, to tread new ground, but we must also have a firm plan of how to do it.


So, let’s go a little deeper into the Five Elements.



Where do we want to be?

This is the ‘dreaming’ stage. What is our aim? Where do we want to take the company, our team; what do we want to achieve?



How will we get there?

Given what we want to achieve, how can we get there? What is a realistic pathway? We might consult relative contemporary or historical examples to give us some clues here. In other words, X company did it this way, so how could I learn from this?



What resources are necessary?

We have to be honest about the resources it will take. And I say honest because most of the time we grossly under-estimate costs. I recently read that the majority of musicians only ‘break even’ on their tours! The cost of travelling, looking after the lighting, sound, and tech crew, staying at hotels, eating out, to say nothing of the time invested, often outweighs ticket sales. This is tragic. Live music is a great gift, but if we are viewing it from a business perspective, it seems for most artists, this is becoming pointless activity – other than to generate hype and interest.



What actions happen?

What can we do when we get there? This is another way to view this question. What will we be doing to get to our vision-destination, and what can we do when we get there?



What results have we achieved, and so, where are we now?

What have we achieved in the past? How might that inform our vision? If we previously failed to sell 500 units last year, is it wise to aim to sell 2,000,000 this year? Again, it may seem obvious, but organisation tend to be swept up in the narrative of ‘growth’ that they do not consider mundane realities. This also applies to checking in on our progress towards out vision. What have we achieved so far? Are we on track? How can we course-correct?


This model connects to our motivations, learning style, past/present/future orientation, risk and change, and more in ways too abundant to document here. I hope, however, this has given you an interesting starting point for planning in your business or team!


If you want to take this further, I’d like to offer you a 30% discount on my book Mapping Motivation For Leadership, co-authored with Jane Thomas, so you can get the full experience! Simply use this code: ADS19 at check out to get your 30% off! You can purchase the book from the Routledge website here.


As always, thank you for reading. Stay motivated!




Beyond the Politics: Getting to Real Leadership

Launch whole room view crop

Leadership in the UK, and indeed in many other parts of the world, is in crisis. Whatever your political allegiances, it is clear to all sides that no one really seems to know what they are doing, or how to do it. Most of us are eagerly awaiting a figurehead to rise out of the chaos; but sadly, that is often how dictatorships are born.


On the 4th September, Motivational Maps hosted its book launch for Mapping Motivation For Leadership, the fourth instalment in the Mapping Motivation series, co-written by James Sale and Jane Thomas.


It is no small irony that a launch about leadership was hosted at One Great George Street, not a stone’s throw from 10 Downing Street and Westminster. And to further the irony, just one-hundred meters down the road, there was a protest going on, specifically against the Prime Minister.


One Great George Street is the home of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and it was one of their key security personnel who opened proceedings. He made the profound observation that: “Most people I meet say that ‘your building is your key asset’…” – and one can see why, it is a magnificent structure, particularly the Great Hall – “…but I tell them, they’re wrong. My people are the key asset.” He has been using Motivational Maps to invest in his people. Without them, the building is irrelevant, for all its grandeur.


Now we live in a time where uncertainties require even greater leadership capabilities than we have had heretofore. A time when we are crying out for effective, dynamic leadership; as, undoubtedly, we are in a period of psychological, political, and economic crisis, and now, more than ever, is the time when we need to develop the skills to nurture and motivate others.


James and Jane established themselves as leading experts in leadership through their talks and a later Q&A session, led by Mark Terrell, himself an exponent of leadership with his podcast The Reluctant Leader. Both James and Jane have worked in teams and with them. Both are running businesses that are not only reliant on extraordinary personnel, but also working with others on improving their motivation. Motivation, according to Jane and James, is one of the oft-overlooked aspects of a leader’s role.


There were many great questions from the floor, but one thing that came up time and time again in James and Jane’s answers was that the Maps differ from many other tools out there in that they are part of the process, not the whole process. Many psychometrics, surveys, and ‘tests’ offer data without action or deeper insight. The Maps are a way in to a conversation with a coach or trainer. They are a starting point, a way of creating a shared language, that then can become therapeutic. In our modern age, we tend to look for a complete solution. There is also a tendency in our modern era for digitisation of virtually every process (there’s even an app for menstrual cycles). Therapy is now being delivered by chatbots and AI apps in some UK mental-health institutions. Many organisations also like the idea of tackling problems of motivation or engagement via technological methods, because they seem metrical (how we love numbers); they allegedly remove human ambiguity; and they mitigate the onus on speaking to employees individually, which to give large organisations credit, is time-consuming. But Motivational Maps is going against the trend. Less technology, more human face-to-face interaction, and more “negative capability” – sitting with and embracing the ambiguity of human emotions. The Maps are just that: maps. You then need someone to sit down and show you how to navigate.


Isn’t that what leaders are for?


To listen to Mark Terrell’s podcast interview with James Sale, click here. To listen to his interview with Jane Thomas, click here.

To purchase a copy of Mapping Motivation for Leadership, click here.




The 5 Key Aspects of Leadership from a Motivational Perspective


After working in education for 15 years and reaching the level of deputy head teacher, in my 40s I wanted to control my own future and do things 'my way', as did my wife. So, we established a business together which eventually lead to over 500 consultants, trainers, and coaches whom we licensed with our products. The ability to self-determine my own destiny is what attracted me to this kind of role. Over the years, I have been asked many times about leadership: what is a leader, following that what constitutes a good leader, and how can we improve our leadership skills. This has led to me authoring an entire book on the subject with my colleague Jane Thomas. The question of leadership pervades. So, here are what I believe to be the 5 key aspects of leadership from a motivational perspective.


1. Holding to account


Over the last 13 years of running Motivational Maps Ltd, we have had extensive experience of holding people to account, including employing one manager whom we had to let go for failing to perform. The essence of our approach is motivational. In the first instance, clarity of expectation is essential: our licensing contracts have been drawn up using commercial solicitors, and whilst 'fair' to both parties, define what constitutes unacceptable behaviours from our perspective.


Second, when we need to enforce or hold accountable, we have relentlessly pursued a deliberate policy of never 'blaming' or 'shaming' any individual. Instead, we always tentatively seek clarification on a specific issue and then ask the licensee to comment on their interpretation of the event.


Finally, we consistently stress that in resolving any issue we want a 'fair' solution or a win-win for both of us. In this way, many troublesome people have had issues resolved with us without the need for litigation. Indeed, we attempt to allow even people we regard as 'wrong-doers' to save face and walk away from transacting with us with dignity.


2. Vision for those you lead


My vision for all the individuals I lead is for them to be successful in business and for them to realise their full potential as individuals. To this end we have communicated via coaching, mentoring, training, in the first instance; via conferences and events in the second; via email, Skype/Zoom and social media in the third; and more latterly, via the creation of a series of management books published by Routledge: The Mapping Motivation series.


3. Lead by example


I try to lead by example. Firstly, since the people we lead are mainly trainers and coaches, it is by being outstanding in these disciplines, which more latterly appears in personal presentations and talks. The essence of this is to be so practised in the art that when one presents, on any subject, it seems to be natural or spontaneous. In other words, the greatest art is when there appears to be none. That is highly compelling to followers. And aspirational too.



4. Tackle weaknesses with collaboration


Leaders need to create systems and processes which automate 'everything' as much as possible; such systems can become a powerful source of leveraging the monetisation of product/services. I am, to be frank, less good at this. We brought somebody into our business in 2010 whom we thought could do this for us, but eventually she left. This issue still needs resolving, and one way we are now considering addressing it is consulting more closely with our more senior associates.


Motivational Maps Ltd, though about the more difficult to define human-to-human relationships and our relationships with our selves, is also data-focused and we need to process great swathes of information. This too is an area where we need to improve as we are such a data-rich organisation. Some 60,000 Motivational Maps have now been completed by various individuals at all levels of organisational life, and we have barely scratched the surface of analysing this 'big data'. Further, we are always being asked by someone in our system for a case study on this or that, and although we have dozens, we never seem to have enough. So, what we have here is an 'emergent strategy'! It is not a priority, but on the other hand it is not going to go away, so we are on the alert for ways we might improve this area of our business.


5. Be ready for surprises & embrace ambiguity


What surprises me, although it shouldn't, since I experienced it as a deputy head teacher for 7 years, is just how needful people are for direction and leadership: the pressure of followers on one is like a stone chip in a shoe - wearing away all the time. It appears that highly intelligent people can't make a simple decision; that highly qualified people don't know what to do; that people 'experts' don't understand the first thing about people; that common sense is not so common, and that you have to make decisions for people most of the time. And what this all means is that leadership is not mostly about logic, but about managing emotions: your own, first and foremost, but helping others make sense of their own. Underlying this problem is the fact that people are in a state of fear: they wish to avoid making mistakes, they hate to be blamed, and despite evidence to the contrary they lack faith in themselves. Everybody, everywhere, is secretly crying out to be led, for the leader in any situation is the one who relieves the existential angst and uncertainty that is life. And that is why the role of the true leader is so revered. People, on the whole, prefer to be dogs working together in a pack than wild cats!


Thus, the key advice I would give anyone taking on a leadership role is to understand, embrace, and saturate your whole being with the idea of ambiguity: to live with ambiguity, or what the poet John Keats called 'negative capability', is the essence of leadership, and of greatness too. Negative capability, which Keats claimed great poets had, is the ability to live with uncertainty without that irritable reaching after facts. Which means, to go from great things to less, that it is the avoidance of the tick-box mindset where we think we have solved a problem because we have ticked the box.


What this does is allow the 'no-thing' space to live within the subconscious and so produce a really creative result instead. Of course, what I am saying is not incompatible with a leader being decisive: the difference is that in the traditional view of leaders as 'strong' and decisive, this strength and decisiveness tends to be ego-derived and self-aggrandising; what I am advocating is a decisiveness that comes from a deeper layer of being, and recognises that 'being' itself is inherently paradoxical. So there can be no surprise because there is no certainty.




Interview with a BP #4: Connie Cook

One last piece, which on a personal note is extremely important moving forward – always do what you do because you love it and because you intend to and will always set your team up for success.”

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Connie Cook is our fourth, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond. 

Connie canada_circle



Connie has been involved with People Resources and training and development for over 20 years. Communicating Wisely Ltd proudly began providing successful strategic solutions for individuals and organizations in 2014. She is a professional speaker, trainer and member of the Board of Directors with the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS), a certified adult educator, HR professional/consultant, and published author.


HR SearcherConnie believes it is deeply important to consider your motivators before acting, particularly in reference to becoming a BP: “Understand your motivation for becoming a BP first – do your motivators line up?” As a strong Searcher, she believes being a BP is perfectly aligned with her primary motivator: “Motivational Maps transformed my ability to help others which of course was essential given the Searcher turned out to be my top motivator at a very high level (known in our terminology as a spike!) This of course means it is an absolute need for me to fulfill my Searcher motivator: having purpose and making a difference.”


Not only is it important to consider whether your motivators are aligned with the role, but becoming a BP carries with it a responsibility to others. As she puts it: “Do you have what it takes to work with and guide others on their own journey as a Licensed Practitioner? Do you want to create and train a team who will look to you for guidance?” It’s clear that being a BP is about leadership, which is an ever-increasingly important topic in today’s age, where leaders are coming under closer and closer scrutiny (often with very good reason).


Setting an example is not always easy, especially when motivations vary from person to person and no two profiles are the same. However, Connie describes her path with Maps as: “an amazing journey and I have never looked back.”




Connie became aware of Motivational Maps through another LP. “The accuracy was amazing and all I could think about really was, wow – how great would this tool be for those in HR, and the manager we assist, with their workforce?” With her already significant experience in adult education and the Volunteer Sector, she realised its potential to help people not only gain awareness of their inner drivers, but harness their ability to learn and grow: “The answer is understanding their motivators to remove personalization of issues and actually set themselves up for success and become happier and create more productive outcomes.”


The idea of removing personalization from issues is very powerful. By using the Maps as a language and framework for talking about issues, it becomes about a conflict of abstract drivers rather than conflict on a ‘character’ or ‘personality’ level. Maps provides visibility to these drivers and names them, in some ways externalising them and separating them from ourselves.


“The Motivational Maps for me was what I refer to as the “Dyson Vacuum” or as the younger folks refer to as “The Bomb” over all the other tools I had used or heard others use,” Connie says. “Where there are people, there should absolutely be Motivational Maps!”

What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.



Leadership is becoming an ever more prevalent concern for the modern world. And is it any wonder? With the problematic appointment of the current US President Donald Trump, and controversial if widely anticipated appointment of Boris Johnson in the UK, there is quite evidently a crisis in leadership and a crisis of trust and faith in leaders in the West.

The global data is even more revealing, and more frightening. As of 2018, 49 of the world’s nations are ruled by dictatorships, including countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and North Africa. That is over 25% of the world. And as if that weren’t enough, the early 2019 data suggests the number is growing, not diminishing.


Our world is heading for a period of great disruption, not only brought on my technological revolution, but sociological and psychological revolution. Our cultures are changing rapidly as our world becomes globalised, industrial, faster, and more secular. The problems resulting from this disruption can already be seen: job loss, a psychological health crisis (depression and suicide at an all-time high), and displacement. Add to this a crisis with our climate, and the destruction of the natural world, and we are indeed, to quote Tolkien: ‘standing upon the edge of a knife’. In times of great disruption, we need effective and powerful leadership to carry us through.


Throughout history there are many examples of cultures in crisis that were steered through challenging times by outstanding leadership. Often it is the case that though the leader themselves may be flawed, they are appropriate for the particular problem or situation that faces them; an equal and opposite reaction, if you will. However, waiting around for a saviour is not going to do anyone much good in the now, and often dictators get into power precisely by exploiting our tendency to look for guidance in times of doubt and trial. Of course, a heroic leader may well arrive, but until then, we have to take responsibility for our teams, our colleagues, our businesses, and our communities. If you are a leader, or responsible for people, then here is some advice for steering through this period of change.


There are many pitfalls that leaders can fall into, three in particular that are ‘fatal’ and will cause a complete collapse of trust. Avoid these pitfalls, and you will be well on your way to being a great leader!


Leaders fail to walk the talk

If employees perceive personal and organisational inconsistency, alarm bells will ring. In the Bible, the sin Jesus disliked most was hypocrisy (“Hypocrite, you cannot love God and money” Matthew 6:24). Now, of course, we are all hypocrites to some extent, it is part of being human, but to habitually exhibit hypocritical traits is a deep flaw that is a sure way to destroy your own credibility. You have to ‘walk the talk’ and model the behaviour you want to see in the world. Another way of looking at this is as a lack of fairness, or double-standards. For example, employees are not allowed to have drinks at their desks, but management are. That is such a simple and seemingly innocuous privilege, but even something so small can cause massive resentment and outright backlash if people perceive they are being treated unfairly or like simply ‘workers’. The ultimate nature of this problem can be boiled down to a single word: selfishness.


Leaders fail to be open or to embrace ambiguity

If employees perceive a rigid, prescriptive, rightapproach, they will become disheartened. If it is ‘my way or the high way’ all the time, employees will feel it’s pointless talking to their leaders. If processes are in place and employees frequently violate those processes, perhaps the processes are flawed: too laborious, or losing business, or causing some other kind of problem. If the people are telling you one thing, don’t assume they are all wrong and you are right, learn to live with the ambiguity of being wrong or understanding there may be another interpretation of events. It is easier said than done, of course. We tend to cling to our own understanding of the universe and it takes great effort to tap into our empathy, but tap into it we must if we are to truly lead people. Only by listening to others will you gain a full perspective.


Leaders fail to innovate

If employees perceive a lack of flexibility and a single-minded focus on profit, they will also lose faith. Despite what we’re frequently told, for most people money is not the be all and end all. It’s likely they pursue other motivators in their work life such as: creativity, expertise, recognition, belonging, security, meaning, independence, or authority. Complacency based on successes now, rather than in future, leads to chronic short-termism. Many established businesses have gone bust by succumbing to this peril. They assume that because they have existed for a long time that their processes and products are indestructible and unassailable. However, this is certainly not the case. Fail to innovate and shift with the times, and you will be left behind.


An overall characteristic of these leadership flaws is rigidity: a lack of flexible thinking, a lack of what Keats called ‘negative capability’. Underpinning these is a lack of integrity (walking the talk) and ability to back up what we say with action.


Leadership is not easy. The plethora of books on how to be a good leader, manager, or coach are testimony to this. There are so many different schools of thought on leadership, they would make for their own encyclopedia, and the reality is that thought will always change to align itself with the current time. Leadership today, and the qualities that might be seen as valuable in our society, are certainly going to be different from what the Ancient Greeks valued in their leaders. Having said which, leaders still seem to fall into the same old power traps and political gaming they did two-thousand years ago, so in some ways, there really is nothing new under the sun.


Here’s hoping for positive change, and leaders to steer us towards it.


-Want to find out more about leadership? Why not join James Sale and Jane Thomas, experts in motivation and leadership (read Mapping Motivation for Leadership, Routledge, 2019), for a special leadership workshop in London on September 4th. Only 20 places available and over half already filled, so hurry!


Interview with a BP #3: Zsuzsa Czagler

"I view Maps like a full blood test plus MRI. It is a tool that will show you where all the structural weaknesses, along with acute or chronic inflammations, are. If you are a coach and you do not have the Maps, then you are like a doctor that has no medical diagnostic tools!”


Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Zsuzsa Czagler is our third, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond. 




Zsuzsa is a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner: an ICF ACC coach, NLP Master, and Liberating Leadership practitioner, with 19 years of top management experience. She operates in Hungary.

HR Searcher

Zsuzsa is a passionate Searcher motivator, but she also has a thirst for knowledge inspired by her Expert motivator. When she first encountered the Motivational Maps, she described it as a ‘lightning strike moment’: ‘I realised why I couldn’t save myself from quitting the job that I enjoyed for many years previously and why, as a managing director, I had been unable to save other people from leaving.’


The Motivational Maps allowed her to see what her true motivators were and to pursue them. This led to her seeking more and more information about the Maps, including reading all published Mapping Motivation books, watching videos, reading articles by James Sale, and participating in several additional Maps training programs.


Intriguingly, Zsuzsa believes that all of her motivators feed into her desire to make a difference, even her lower motivators. ‘The Star is my lowest motivator, but now I see it as a tool to help fulfill my mission as a Searcher. At the Maps conference, there was a woman at my table who was a Searcher and Star, which at first I thought was unusual, but then she said something that has stuck with me: “If I am not the one on stage talking, then I am not the one making a difference in a room”.’

All of the motivators feed in to who we are and have the potential to help us get to where we need to be.


For many, the Maps are a journey of individual discovery, but for Zsuzsa, it’s as much about teams as one-to-one: ‘When I left my corporate position, one of my things was that I wanted to help people be happy. I didn’t know how at the time, but now I realise that motivation is big part of that.’ She has found that she is able to make a difference to teams in just a single day. However, there have also been hard learning curves where she has found circumstances where she was unable to instigate change ‘Often because a leader is not ready,’ she observes. ‘The leader needs to be at a certain level. This led me to Ali Stewart and her insights on how to train leaders.’

Being a BP has been a continual learning experience, from first discovering the Maps, to developing ideas on Engagement, to becoming a qualified Liberating Leadership practitioner, and finally a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner. Zsuzsa regularly meets with the Aspirin network, and BPs from other countries, to share knowledge and experience. Being a BP is a big responsibility. You have to keep on top of the expertise, and your own motivation levels.”



What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.





Interview with a BP #2: Marie Ball

The Maps is a tool for having a conversation. The Maps can have such a positive impact on people, but don’t over-promise what it is or tell them it’s a psychometric. It’s a way in.”


Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Marie Ball is the second of many interviews which will be lifting the lid on Motivational Maps, life as a Business Practitioner, and the difference these individuals make.  




Marie Ball is a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner with a Masters in Human Resources, and a CAHRI Certified Professional (Australian Human Resources Institute). After a career in Welfare and subsequently HR, she started her own business with the Maps. She is one of two BPs in Australia, and it is her mission to make the Maps nationwide!

HR Spirit

Marie is a Spirit motivator, but she observes that her top three motivators (Spirit, Searcher, and Creator) are all interlinked, fostering a spirit of independent creativity that is focused on helping other people: “I don’t like being told what to do! Any smart manager always left me to my own devices to deliver in my own way.”


Being a BP has allowed Marie room to fuel and fulfil her motivators, which has led to independent creation. Marie has a number of exciting projects underway, such as introducing the Maps into the academic sphere and education environments by creating a course / modules that will be available to HR, Business Management, Coaches and Counsellors at Australian educational institutions.

Marie began her Maps network while she still worked for a government organisation in Australia. Given the opportunity, she began mapping people in the department. When she left, she had a community of 300 or so people who’d already had a positive experience of the Maps. There is a huge cultural difference here: “In Australia, there has been government ‘civil service’ work, because these organisations provide a budget per employee for professional development and maps have proven to be a great investment. We haven’t even begun to tap the private sector yet!”


For a lot of people, leaving their job to work self-employed is a big and frightening step. Marie observed that: “It can’t be about the money. I’ve had people come to me saying: ‘I give up, I’m not making enough.’ They couldn’t sell enough Maps or training. But it should never be about the money in the first place. It’s about helping people. I think it’s my Searcher, that I believe there’s good in everyone and potential in everyone. The Maps allows us to see that. I want everyone to not only do a Map but have a good experience of the Map, like I did.”




What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.



Interview with a BP #1: Judit Abri von Bartheld

It takes education, it takes courage to introduce something new. You have to be adventurous and be willing to experiment.”

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Judit Abri von Bartheld is the first of many interviews which will be lifting the lid on Motivational Maps, life as a Business Practitioner, and the difference these individuals make.  



Judit Abri is a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner: an International Coach Federation Master Certified Coach, coach trainer, and a leadership expert. She is the founder of Coaching Without Borders, in Hungary, and is currently in the process of introducing the Maps to the Czech Republic in Prague.


Judit's top motivator is the Creator, and believes that her BP status naturally feeds into this motivator. “I like different things every day, to make my day more colourful. Working with different people definitely makes my day more colourful. If I only have clients, if all I’m doing is interpreting Maps and giving feedback, it’s the same routine. But if you have LPs, they’re all at a different stage.”

Creator motivators are energised by creativity: taking risks, innovating, building new things. Being a BP naturally engages this creative approach, presenting new challenges and opportunities. Judit is in many ways at the forefront of this risk as a Business Practitioner in another country where the Maps are not currently widespread. “In the UK you have senior practitioners, there are also lots of BPs. You can look for success stories almost next-door. In other countries however it’s a completely different job. We have an extra challenge...”


Being a BP is more complex than just managing LPs, however. It is a job with many moving parts, and, as Judit observes, different aspects will appeal to different people in different cultural environments. She describes the many facets of being a BP: “It requires entrepreneurial skills as well as coaching skills. You have to be a good mentor. You have to act as a role model. You have to be a leader to a certain extent. An educator. You have to be a good marketer, to get new LPs joining in. To run your website, social media, sales and marketing. You’re selling at two fronts. Selling the Maps and the idea of becoming an LP.”

This is a multi-faceted approach to the Maps; not only nurturing and developing future practitioners and advancing the Maps in creative and collaborative ways, but also trail-blazing new best-practices and uses of the Maps.


It’s hard enough, even in the UK, where the Maps have more of a foothold, to break people out of these old notions of top-down hierarchical management styles and money-first / people-second attitudes. Introducing organisations to this idea of giving your employees a voice and listening to their motivational needs can still seem like a quite radical process. For Judit, working cross-languages and in completely different cultures, it is even more of a challenge. However, this does not seem to daunt her. She advises:


Discover the difference Motivational Maps can make to your business: 


What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.





Welcome to the final instalment of Unlocking Motivation. Over the course of these nine blogs, we have explored motivation in the workplace, personal development, coaching, and the need for engagement in modern business, all interconnected by the principles of the Motivational Maps. We’ve looked at content from Mapping Motivation, Mapping Motivation for Coaching, and Mapping Motivation for Engagement. In this final article, rather than simply recapping, I’d like to take you through one last model to help you on your journey with motivation and engagement.


I mentioned in the last article that there is a seven step process towards engagement. I want to share these seven steps now and break them down a little for you.


1. What is employee engagement and why is it important?

This, really, is what we have covered in part 7 and part 8. Everyone involved in the process of engagement needs to be aware of why it is important and what exactly they are striving for. This is not just for ‘buy in’ at senior level. Everyone down to the grassroots must understand what engagement is and why it is valuable (and beneficial to them, too, because most people, save for masochists, would like to enjoy what they do).


2. Where are we now?

You need to get an accurate assessment of where you are in terms of engagement. However, we need to be careful how we do this, as surveys can be highly misleading, if not erroneous. For one thing, they can be grossly inaccurate because the majority of employees will answer in the way they think they should answer, not with total honesty. Secondly, they usually are a massive, massive cost. If you really want to determine how engaged are your employees currently are, then you need to do so indirectly. Engagement can be very difficult to measure, whereas disengagement has far more obvious symptoms:


Measuring sickness and absenteeism levels are a very clear way of measuring engagement, as well of course as measuring loss. There are many aspects to this but David Bowles makes the point that ‘clear evidence . . . would support what some long-established theories have put forward that absenteeism and similar behaviours are an effort by the workers to “level the playing field,” to make up for what is perceived to be an imbalance’. Here specifically Bowles is referring to huge disparities in pay and remuneration and staff’s perception of its unfairness – leading to their disengagement.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching


So, the first step to measuring engagement is to consider levels of disengagement. What are your levels of sick-days and absenteeism? What are the productivity levels of employees like? Are people working to what you believe their max-capacity is or well under?


The next step is to try to measure their energy levels, as energy is a far better indicator of engagement. To do this, we recommend using the Organisational Motivational Map. Quite apart from its massive utility and ability to work at team levels as well as organisational, the great advantage about using the Organisational Motivational Map is that it is virtually impossible to ‘game’: there would be no point in doing so anyway, since the questions don’t lend themselves to internal politics. Here we will have a definitive (albeit temporary, as motivators change over time) fix on the energy levels and direction of the organisation. In addition, compared to an annual survey, it’s cheap as chips.



3. What will be the measures?

When you are looking to increase engagement, you need to think about what your measures for success are. Is it less absent-days? Greater productivity? Greater staff energy and happiness? What is the most important metric for you? We should say profitability is a very poor metric in this regard, as it is really a narrative of ‘We only care about money’ that will not resonate with staff and makes a very low-grade statement. In addition, profitability can often be pursued to the extent that staff cut backs, downsizing, and streamlining can become harmful to customer and staff experience. Whilst there are many valid reasons to cut the ‘bloat’ in an organisation, taken to extremes (as it often is), it will harm the organisation’s integrity.


4. How will you gain ‘buy in’?

As I mentioned in our last article, in order for engagement to be successfully implemented and become a reality in your organisation, you need to have buy-in at every level, including the very top. If you don’t, it will inevitably fail. So, you need to deploy strategies to make sure that you get full buy-in at senior level. Not just an ‘Okay, but you manage it and I’m not sparing any resources’, but a ‘I want to implement this now, what do you need?’


We have talked extensively about the merits of engagement, not just at the level of motivation and satisfaction, but also for the bottom line, which is inevitably the language most senior people in organisations understand best. You need to showcase these facts and figures and make a compelling case for why engagement could solve several problems with one lick of paint.


5. Identify areas for action: what will you do?

This one is fairly self-explanatory, however, there is a deeper level to it when we consider each individual. When we determine motivation / energy levels by doing a Motivational Map, there are broadly speaking four quadrants people can fall into. Remember, every Map profile is unique and determines what motivates people. However, it does not determine skill levels. You have Creator motivator as your number one, but this might be a new discovery for you, so you haven’t fully harnessed and trained your creative abilities yet. In the light of this, the four quadrants give us an interesting strategic view of the people in our organisation when we also cross-reference it with what we estimate their skill-levels to be:


High Motivation / Low Skills

These staff-members need to be trained (or recruited if you are using this tools for those purposes). They have the motivation and energy, which is all-important, but they maybe need to harness their skills. Some of these people might also need to be re-located in the organisation. For example, if their Maps profile has revealed new drives that aren’t being met by their current work, then they are probably best suited elsewhere where their motivational needs are being met. This will increase their engagement levels as they will feel like they are being invested in.


High Motivation / High Skills

These are your stars. But don’t get complacent! You need to coach, mentor and retain these people and incentivise them. Think how many companies let go of their best people without so much as a whimper of resilience. You have probably witnessed it many times. There was a story in a company I encountered a while ago where a PA, we’ll call her Margaret, was working for one of the senior managers, we’ll call him John; Margaret was really was more than a PA and working across the entire business creating value. She was still on a very minimal salary, the same in fact since she had joined the company many years ago. She had asked, in the light of her new responsibilities and commitment to the company for many years, that her salary be increased to reflect that. Margaret’s request was pretty modest in the grand scheme. HR flatly said no: they were not giving out pay-rises, John would not give her a pay rise. So, Margaret handed in her resignation and accepted a generous offer from another company. John burst into the HR office a few days later. ‘Why didn’t you tell me Margaret wanted to leave?’ he fumed. HR had not even consulted him. ‘She was invaluable. We’ll never replace her. I would have given up part of my own bloody salary to keep her on!’


John showed wisdom here, though sadly it came too late as he had been deceived by his own Human Resources department. He knew that Margaret was a highly motivated and skilled individual and the company should have retained her at all costs, and was even prepared to sacrifice part of his own (rather larger) salary to make it happen. How many managers could actually say they’d do the same?


Low Motivation / High Skills

Low motivation yet highly skilled is also in the retain quadrant. However, if the issues with motivation are not resolved, these individual can become extremely costly to the organisation, so it is important to boost those energy levels and get them motivated!


Low Motivation / Low Skills

These are employees that potentially need to be released. If they have no motivation, their heart is not in it. This would be a fixable issue, if they had skills that were invaluable and were good at what they do. I should note that ‘high skills’ and ‘low skills’ is not referring to the intellectual standing of the skill. For example, business strategy versus administrative work. It is referring to how good someone is at that particular skill. People who are very good at administration, or telephone sales, or bricklaying – depending on what industry you’re in – are just as valuable as strategy and senior finance management. You need every element to make a business work.


So, the low motivated and low skilled individual is bringing nothing to the table. In a way, however, that is not the real reason to release them, however. It is actually the best thing for them. They are most likely not happy, stuck in a rut, and by releasing them you are giving them a new opportunity to rebuild their life. Letting people go is never easy nor should ever be glorified, but it is necessary and there are many people who have been fired from jobs that, looking back, say it was the best thing that ever happened to them. I appreciate this is not the case for everyone, and sometimes being fired can be devastating and have serious consequences, but ultimately, one must act in the interests of the whole organisation.


6. How and what will you implement?

Now that you have the data, and a sense of the individuals and where they stand, it’s time to define what you will implement to make changes and how. In other words, create a plan for engagement.


7. How will you measure and evaluate your plan?

Again, you need to consider what the metrics of success are. Is it increased employee-energy levels, increased productivity. What plans do you have to improve their abilities and performance further?




Thank you for coming on this motivational journey with me! I hope these articles have been of some use to you and provided you with insight about how you might go about increasing your own motivation levels and the motivation levels of those around you. I have provided a window into the world of Motivational Maps, what we’re about, and what we do. It is my belief that we can all benefit from understanding our inner drives and working in environments and with people that feed our motivators and energy rather than draining it. If you have any thoughts or questions about this series or any topic I have covered, please feel free to leave a comment below. You can engage with Motivational Maps via our website or via Twitter.


Thank you & stay motivated!


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.



Welcome to the eighth instalment of Unlocking Motivation! Last week, we looked at the history of engagement in the workplace and why it is so important as a step forward in thinking about employee satisfaction, happiness, and productivity. Here’s a quick recap:



  • Engagement is based on a ‘psychological contract’ between the employee and employer.

  • Engagement is the opposite of ‘scientific management’ or Taylorism and is about enriching the employee’s work life by honouring the psychological agreement.

  • The consequences of failing to engage staff are DIRE!


Today, we’re going to discuss the three main barriers to engagement and productivity that one faces, particularly in a large scale organisation (but it can happen in small ones too).


These barriers are so big, so threatening, so apparently insurmountable, that unless we address them squarely and head-on, we are unlikely to make any further progress. And there are three main ones…” – Mapping Motivation for Engagement


1. Buy in from Senior Management Team (SMT)


Sadly, for many senior management people, engagement programs are more of a tick-box exercise than an actual attempt to motivate and engage staff. Many of them will see engagement exercises as a frilly extra that can be purchased with some extra cash sitting in the company account. They think it makes them look good to be running these kinds of programs, regardless of the result. This is completely the wrong approach and will lead to fruitless endeavour. When a company expresses interest in engagement, it must come from the very top. Not just HR or another department, but senior management themselves. They must believe it, want to be involved in it, and seek to directly implement it. They have to perceive the strategic value of engagement and the impact it can have on the bottom line. They have to want to make that happen. In any other scenario, engagement exercises, however well executed, will ultimately fail. We call this ‘buy in’ because the SMTs need to not only financially but emotionally buy in to the program, the mission, the course, whatever form it takes. We outline a seven step program in Mapping Motivation for Engagement, which we will cover in our final article!


2. Sufficient resources to undertake the program


There are nine core resources to consider: money, time, equipment, people skills, knowledge, right attitude, information, space/environment and agreed co-operation. Phew! That is a lot of potential barriers. However, we find the one that comes up most often is ‘time’. This is because most companies, really, are in survival mode. They are churning out a product or service as fast as they possibly can in order to keep up with themselves. If they stop for one moment, catastrophe might occur! There is no room in these kind of frantic operations for strategy and long-term planning. Or, to put a finer point on it, improvement! How can you improve a service or product or whatever if you never actually stop doing it, step back, and think: Am I missing something? We have an attitude in the West in particular that every spare moment must be occupied by work. But the reality is that we do our best work when we have space around that to think. Looking at it another way, all creative outputs require ‘waste’ and ‘dead time’. I like to consider the universe in this regard. In theory, the universe is full of ‘wasted space’. The black emptiness stretches for a literally unfathomable distance. However, there is this one pinprick (as far as we are aware), called planet Earth, that harbours life. Could Earth exist without the wasted space? Mathematically, no! Any invention requires wasted time and effort. The endeavour of engaging employees is no different. We need downtime, time to contemplate, reflect, think, and feel. Most companies will not afford that space, or give time out of their schedules, for their staff to go through this process.


The other resources are important to consider too, but we find time is the most cited one, so…


EXERCISE: Consider how you might mitigate the barrier of time. When we run engagement programs, we like to ask staff themselves how they can create ‘capacity’ and time to run the program in their busy schedules. The answers can be surprising. How would you go about de-cluttering your daily tasks and making room for thought and reflection? List three things!


3. The human ego!


In fact, one of the reasons why our first barrier may never be overcome – that is, we might not get complete buy-in – is because of the egos of the management and leadership. It is, if you like, the flaw in human nature that has always been there, and management writers have noted it from the beginning.” – Mapping Motivation for Engagement


It might sound like I am being very harsh towards managers here, but I do not mean to single them out exclusively. We are all capable of becoming enamoured of control or of getting locked into certain behaviours. However, most of the time it is people with a degree of power that are most susceptible to what Professor Brown in the 1950 called ‘petty Hitlerism’. In other words: ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’. When we get control, it can go to our head. We don’t want to relinquish that.


The reality is that we can never achieve ‘buy in’ from senior management if, secretly, they like things the way they are: top-down, command and control, a hierarchy. We have to be really honest with ourselves here and make an honest call about where we think our leadership is at. Is our current leadership capable of buying in to employee engagement, and the necessary ambiguity and complexity it brings? Rewards, yes! But complexity too, because now staff, right down to the grass roots level, are going to be influencing decisions, engaged with the company practice, and able to have their say. It’s scary for some people, who are used to their fiefdom.


The idea of engagement, is to get people so thrilled about their work, that they want to go the extra mile. We cannot ask them to give that extra mile without giving something back, and without loosening the reins. If we want people to truly engage, we have to be prepared for the results of that, we have to be prepared to hear what they think, and we have to put our money where our mouth is.


In the next and final article, we will be exploring the seven steps towards employee engagement!


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.




Welcome back to Unlocking Motivation! Over the last six episodes, we have discussed content from my first book Mapping Motivation, published in 2016, which outlined many of the theories and practices of Motivational Maps. We have also looked at Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), the second book in the series, which deals with how the Maps can support one-to-one coaching, self-coaching, and personal development. We’ll now be moving on to the final part of this series, which is Mapping Motivation for Engagement (co-written with Steve Jones).


Firstly, what is engagement? Engagement is a relatively new concept. William Kahn was one of the first researchers to truly allude to the critical role it plays in business in 1990. Since then, it has become something of a worldwide phenomenon, with countless tools, models, and paradigms for measuring and increasing employee engagement, most of it to no end whatsoever. There are a number of important ideas, what I call ‘preliminaries’, that preceded engagement and informed how we understand it. I cover a large number of them in the book, too many to detail fully here, I do have space to talk about one or two. David Kolb, in his book Organisational Psychology, said that: ‘A company staffed by “cheated” individuals who expect far more than they get is headed for trouble’. He is referring to what is known as the ‘organisational contract’, a concept that arose in the 1970s. It effectively describes the ‘unwritten’ contract between employer and employee, the implied expectations of the employee. For example: ‘This will be a positive and enriching place to work’, might be one expectation. Whilst this is nowhere guaranteed if their contract, if this is what they have been lead to believe through interviews and initial contact with the company, they will feel ‘cheated’ if it is not what they get.


In 1995, Mullins put it in the following terms: ‘a series of mutual expectations and satisfactions of needs between the individual and the organisation. It covers a range of rights, privileges, duties and obligations which are not part of a formal agreement but still have an important influence on the behaviour of people.’ I think the words: satisfaction, meaningfulness, psychological, and expectations are extremely significant here!


EXERCISE: Consider your role, whether it is a freelance position, organisational post, or even something entirely different, such as a charity board volunteer position. Write down your expectations of the ‘invisible’ psychological elements of your employer-employee contract. Ask yourself whether these expectations are being met.


There have been a number of profound changes to the workplace which seems to me to be directly correlated to the emergence and significance of engagement. Firstly, the coming of the Information Age, which has increased the speed of communication to absurdly rapid levels. Whilst this has many positive outcomes, it has also produced negative ones: an erosion of personal space / time, an erosion of traditional working hours, a culture that expects everything immediately. Just as we are adjusting ourselves to this rapid pace, we are also experiencing what I would describe as the deathly slow failure of Taylorism.


Taylorism, for those who don’t know, is ‘scientific management’. It is the traditional corporate methodology of defining job roles by breaking them down into prescribed behavioural activities, with a focus on rules, control, compliance, supervision and efficiency. Of course, what we are observing now is a realisation that greater efficiency does not lead to greater effectiveness. Or in other words: efficiency does not equal results. In addition, the negative impact of Taylorism on creativity, responsibility and commitment cannot be overstated. There is a reason that there is a crisis of innovation in most industries in the UK!


There are many companies that still cling to the Taylorism model, and that is their prerogative to do so. However, I think it has clearly run its course. In the ironic words of Jacob Morgan: ‘Robots aren’t taking jobs away from humans; it’s humans who took the jobs away from robots’. We have become a society trying to treat people like machines.


Once we step away from ‘controlling’ employees, ensuring they are ‘compliant’, and instead move towards honouring our psychological contract with them, we begin to reach engagement. There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that engagement is the way forward for organisations large and small. Here are some facts:


1. The cost of employee disengagement to the economy in 2008 was between £59.4–64.7 billion per annum. That is a staggering figure, and it is for the UK alone!


2. Only 29% of employees11 were engaged in their work. Which means that 71% are not fully engaged.


3. Companies on the Glassdoor12 Best Places to Work list outperform the overall stock market by 115%. Best places to work are, by definition, places where employees are engaged, so from a purely financial point of view engagement is surely desirable?


4. In the UK, 82% of senior managers regard disengaged employees as one of the three greatest threats facing their business.13 In other words, engagement is a strategic issue.


5. As many as 47% of employees stay in a job they dislike for fear of having no other option. In saying this we are almost raising a moral issue: do we want to be the kind of managers who preside over misery and fear?


So, now we know why engagement is important and that we need to take action to work towards transforming our place of work.



  • Engagement is based on a ‘psychological contract’ between the employee and employer.

  • Engagement is the opposite of ‘scientific management’ or Taylorism and is about enriching the employee’s work life by honouring the psychological agreement.

  • The consequences of failing to engage staff are DIRE!


In the next article, we will be exploring the barriers to engagement and productivity that one faces in an organisation.


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.




The coach has another crucial role, then: he or she has enabled the client to get clarity on where the destination leads, but now the coach has to help the client understand what needs to be done to get there. That is, how does the client demolish the barriers that are preventing access to the ‘promised land’” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching


Up to this stage, we have predominantly looked at the primary role of the coach, in which the coach attempts to help their client realise where their destination is. Now, we intend to examine the complimentary function of helping them demolish the barriers that are preventing success. Last week we started looking at ways to form new habits with kaizen, and therefore take the first initial steps towards progress (the first step on a journey of a thousand miles), but now we will look at how to overcome larger obstacles. It’s worth recapping what we learned last week, however:


RECAP: Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!


The barriers to progress we face are most commonly divided into one of three primary categories: time, money, or people. These categories actually correspond with the three motivational clusters of Relationship, Achievement and Growth. So, if you recall the nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.


Each of these motivators falls into one of the three ‘clusters’: Defender, Friend and Star fall into the ‘Relationship’ cluster, as they deal with personal relationships and the past. Director, Builder and Expert fall into the ‘Achievement’ cluster, as they are concerned with success in the workplace and present-tasks. Finally, Creator, Spirit and Searcher fall into the ‘Growth’ cluster as they are focused on personal development. They are ‘future’ focused.


People corresponds with the Relationship cluster. Consider if you find meeting and working together with the right people to be a big barrier, how your Relationship motivators stand. Money corresponds with the Achievement cluster. If you find money to be a barrier, look at whether your Achievement motivators are low on your profile. If time is your key barrier, it might be that you struggle to look ahead, which is where Growth cluster motivators excel.


So, the primary obstacles we face eerily correspond to our motivational profiles. This is possibly because in actuality, none of these factors are the real obstacles to our progress. In fact, most of what is preventing us from overcoming barriers is internal: our outlook and frame of mind.


You will have heard it endless reiterated that to achieve your dreams you ‘just need to believe’ or ‘be confident in yourself’ or ‘make it happen’. Confidence and self-belief have been turned into a branding commodity; a logo that you put on tea-mugs and designer-pillows: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. We see these slogans every day and they have been repeated so often, and without nuance, that they have lost all meaning. At this stage, I am sure that even the wide-eyed and optimistic among you have a niggle of scepticism regarding the power of ‘belief’.


So, let us examine what we really mean when we talk about self-confidence or self-belief. What we really mean is a state of mind. In Japanese warrior culture, there is a heightened state of awareness called zanshin. It literally means ‘no-mind’. In this state, warriors empty themselves of all their petty thoughts, doubts and considerations so they become entirely ‘present’, able to perceive every incoming blow from every angle. They are relaxed enough that their muscles can respond frictionlessly to dangers, but alert enough that they do not miss any opportunity. In this state, it is said the great Miyamoto Musashi, perhaps the greatest samurai ever to have lived, defeated hundreds of warriors at once in combat. Musashi believed he was the best. He never doubted the speed or power of his sword-stroke, or his victory. That is belief.


State of mind is everything. Belief is not an airy-fairy concept. Nor is confidence. It is a story you tell yourself and a mind-set that you inhabit. Henry Ford once said: ‘If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’ This is a profound commentary on self-fulfilling prophecies. We make these prophecies for ourselves every day: ‘I’m not good enough for this’, ‘I’m stressed out of my mind’, ‘I can’t think straight’. Inevitably, these predictions become true as we obsess over them. The brain moves towards where it is directed by our thoughts.


Think of this another way. By controlling how we respond to the world, we control the outcome. We cannot control the world, it is outside of our sphere of influence. We cannot stop people being rude to us, or bills coming in, or changes in government legislation that are unfavourable (at least, most of us can’t!). However, we can change how we respond and adapt to these events. Do we respond in a state of zanshin, or in self-defeating mode?


Similar to the events and buffets of the world beyond our control, we have the barriers to stop us doing great things: ‘I can’t find the people to help me’, ‘I don’t have the money’, ‘I don’t have the time’. However, when we approach these problems with the right mind-set, we can see that none of these are insurmountable. There are numerous online and face-to-face platforms for meeting the right entrepreneurs and professionals. Collaboration has also never been more accessible with online calls, seminars, shared-docs, and tools such as Slack.


EXERCISE: Create a list of ways you can find the best people to help you achieve your goal. What networks will have the right people. How can you use what you have learned about Motivational Maps to make sure you find people with the right motivational alignment / balance that will compliment yours?


It is highly possible in today’s world to loan money to start a business, or even to find investors. It is not easy, no one would ever say that, but there are ample solutions. New solutions are emerging all the time as well. Kickstarter and crowd-funding campaigns are changing the game of start-ups. Kickstarter has raised something like $4.17 billion dollars for businesses worldwide. Money is out there for you. You just have to be creative about how you get it, and offer value to people.


EXERCISE: Create a list of ways that you could raise capital. Weigh the pros and cons of each method.


The same is true of Time. One of the key strategies for maximising our time is using the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle taps into the uneven nature of the universe. For example, most of us assume that everything we do is equally valuable. If we have 100 emails, we read them all with equal attention. In reality of course, only 20% of those emails probably contain anything worthwhile! Pareto posits that 20% of what we do produces 80% of the results. 20% of people in a large company are producing 80% of the sales. 20% of homes cause 80% of the fires. 20% of people own 80% of the money of the world (in fact, it is actually a far more unbalanced statistic than that). However, this principle is not to be railed against. On the contrary, it can be used to our advantage. Once we become aware that 20% of what we do is producing 80% of the value, we can do more of what is in that 20% to double, quadruple, quintuple our value-output.


For example, if each day you were trying to sell a product online, but never got much traction, but you also made one phone call that instantly led to a sale, wouldn’t it be sensible to increase the number of calls you made? Or, vice-a-versa. If you sold hundreds online, but only ever made one or two sales via the phone. Why keep making phone calls? Harness the most productive aspects of what you do, and do more of them and less of what isn’t working!


EXERCISE: Make a list of all the things you do in your day and week. Now, identify what roughly 20% of those things (it might even be 30% in some cases) are valuable and creating the most value for you. Now, as yourself how you can do more of those things.


Hopefully you can see that all barriers can be overcome with the right thinking and tools. That is the role of the coach, and has been my role in writing this summary-article for you. Next week, we will be giving you a break to catch up with everything we’ve written. After that, we’ll be returning with part 7, out first look into Mapping Motivation for Engagement, co-written with Steve Jones.




Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.


Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!


The key barriers of people, time and money correspond with the Relationship-Achievement-Growth clusters of Motivational Maps. The real obstacles, however, are our approach and mind-set. We must cultivate self-belief and motivation to overcome barriers with creative solutions!


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.



By now, if you have been following this blog series, we should have some idea of the Self. I asked you previously to assess your physical health, mental strength, emotional well-being and spiritual health in order to give you a picture of where you are at now and how you can improve to give your best performance. Combining this with the Maps is very powerful, as you now not only know where you may need to improve, but what kind of actions motivate you – killing two birds with one stone. For example, if you wanted to improve your physical health and you were a Builder motivator (at the number one slot), then it would probably benefit you to do a competitive sport, rather than simply going to the gym. Competing would boost your motivation levels, whilst also improving your fitness, leading to a massive overall increase in your well-being!


However, I am skipping ahead slightly. Let’s quickly re-cap on the purpose of coaching (which includes self-coaching):


Recap: Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.


So, how can we use coaching techniques to build a plan to improve our lives (or indeed, to improve the lives of those who work with/for us). I’d like to introduce to one powerful technique called “kaizen”. Kaizen is a Japanese word that literally means “improvement”, however, as with many words derived from Japanese kanji, it has many deeper meanings and associations, one of which is specific to business practice. The business philosophy of Kaizen is: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. It is a process whereby one makes continuous small improvements which over time become exponential. In the West, we tend to think of “innovation”. We want to make big bold creative leaps, where we imagine something entirely alien and new, and then bring it into being, thus radicalising the market and world around us. However, these are tremendously risky and one tends to fall victim to the ‘mad scientist’ psychological trap of always chasing an event horizon that never manifests, or manifests in undesirable ways.


Kaizen is a subtle alternative that the Japanese automotive and electronics industries have used to gain world market domination in a relatively short space of time.


So far as coaching goes this is important because one aim of the coach is to get the client to adopt new habits or rituals that are more helpful to them than the ones that led to their issue.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching


In order to change our lives, we have to change our habits. This much, we know. We know that to lose weight, we need to exercise more and to diet. We know that to break addictions, we have to form new patterns. However, doing it is always significantly harder than we think. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that most of us believe that we have to go on ‘crash courses’ in order to transform ourselves. We fast or only drink special shakes, we eat radically different food, we start running every day. This is a tremendous amount of effort and automatically sparks the ‘fear response’ in us that says: I don’t want to do that. The second reason is linked to the first: our brains are hard-wired to repetition. Even the most creative and spontaneous of us have patterns; we eat similar foods each day, walk similar paths, drink tea or coffee at the same times, have similar conversations, have similar practices for getting ‘in the zone’. Repetition is security. The more that the brain can put on auto-pilot, the less it has to worry about infinitesimal details or things going wrong. That’s why, in order to get really fit, the best way is actually to continuously vary your exercise regime, so the body doesn’t have time to adjust or fall into a pattern. The military use this to great effect.


So, we know we need to create new habits and change, but we can’t. The exercise regime is too stringent, the diet is too controlled, etcetera. How do we break through these mental blocks and doubts? The answer is kaizen. The ‘small steps’ of kaizen allow us to circumnavigate the fear response. Let’s do an exercise.


Exercise: Consider a key area in your life where you are not satisfied, or that you want to improve. Now ask yourself the question: What is the smallest possible step I could take towards my destination?


In order to help you with this exercise, let me give you a brilliant example. There was a study done on two office blocks in Manhattan. Specifically, companies that worked on the tenth floors, really high up. Both organisations had problems with employee fitness levels due to the location of the offices. In order to help employees, each company was offered a fitness plan. Company A employees were given unlimited gym membership and access. They could go any time, use any machines, swimming pool, all of it. Company B employees were asked to, once per day in their lunch break, walk up and down a flight of stairs. Each day, they had to add one step to the number they climbed. After a year, the fitness levels of the employees were measured. To the surprise-not-surprise of the researchers, Company B employees, termed affectionately ‘the steppers’, were fitter in every single metric. Most Company A employees had barely used the gym. It was too much, an overwhelming amount of options, and required them to travel and find a place in their busy lives to schedule it in. The change for Company B employees was so manageable, they stuck to it.


Consider now how this might apply to your life, or indeed the life of someone you know. How can you make one simple, minuscule change that will, over time, have a tremendous impact? Many successful people cite tiny routines, that they keep to every day, that have laid the foundation for their achievements. Remember, the habit must be small, manageable, and easy to incorporate into your existing daily life. Telling yourself you will run four miles every day will probably not work. You might manage it one or two days, or even a week, but after a while you’ll burn out. However, doing five (or even three or one) push ups before you go to work, and adding one push up each week, that is stick-able to!


Circling back to the beginning of this article, let’s look now at how you can use your Motivational Map, or your sense of what your top motivators are, to maximise this kaizen activity. If you wanted to improve your mental well-being, and you were a Creator, then perhaps journaling dreams or experiences or writing creative fiction, for just five minutes a day, would be a good exercise. You don’t need to write The Odyssey. Sketching out ideas, without the burden of engaging in a full blown project, will be liberating. On the other hand, if Defender was your top motivator, and you wanted to improve your mental well-being, then you would probably have a different strategy; planning your daily and weekly activities ahead of time, and doing this every day for a few minutes, would probably be a better solution.


I hope this article has given you some more ideas about you can use kaizen and coaching to drastically improve areas of your life. Thanks once again for stopping by!


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.








Welcome back to Unlocking Motivation! Over the last three episodes, we discussed content from my book Mapping Motivation, published in 2016, which outlined many of the theories and practices of Motivational Maps. This week, we will be taking our first dive into Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), the next in the series, which deals with how the Maps can support one-to-one coaching, self-coaching, and personal development.


Before we get going, I should say that if you are sceptical about the number of books in this series, I don’t blame you. These days, there are so many publishers and writers and film-makers and all sorts cashing in on the idea of a series that largely repeats itself with every entry. However, it is my express intention not to do this. The subject of motivation is rich and can be applied to many different fields. This is partly why I have recruited experts in various fields, such as Bevis Moynan, Director of Magenta Coaching Solutions, an organisation that fosters excellent coaches, therapists, trainers and consultants. My hope is that each entry in this series is as fruitful as the last and offers new insights rather than endless re-iteration. So, on that note, let’s look at coaching!


So, firstly, what is coaching? Professor Nigel MacLennan defines it as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement.’


Phew! This is a comprehensive definition, and needs some unpacking. Firstly, at a basic level, it is a process where ‘one individual helps another’. In other words, it is one-to-one, unlike training or teaching, which can be one-to-many. Interestingly, a recent survey showed that training (one-to-many) increased organisational productivity 22.4%, whereas select one-to-one coaching increased organisational productivity 88%! That is a significant difference of 4x!


When most people hear the word ‘coach’ they immediately think of a sports coach. It conjures the image of a sweat-suit clad person standing at the side of a race-track or basketball court, yelling advice at the top of their lungs. However, we should not dismiss the association. The purpose of a sports coach is to get the best out of their player, their performer, and this is through one-to-one interactions before the game / event, and also by offering advice and strategy through the day itself. As business people, we need coaches too. We need someone helping us to unlock our best performance throughout the day-to-day stuff, and ‘on the day’ too. ‘On the day’ could mean many different things depending on where you work and in what role; it could be a major sales event, a management meeting, a performance review, a pitch, a presentation, or a networking event. The point is, there are certain occasions, whether we are Olympic athletes or marketing executives, where we need to perform at our very best.


I think one of the most powerful definitions included in MacLennan’s quote is ‘to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’. The role of the coach is not just physical, passing on wisdom, practical advice, and techniques to get them to the next level, but also psychological. It is about overcoming the inhibitions present within our own minds! And I’d argue it is almost impossible to do this yourself. We need coaches, or at least a role model, to help us do it. We also need tools. I mentioned in an earlier article that the Motivational Maps function as a mirror, allowing us to see ourselves in a way we previously could not.


There is one aspect missing from MacLennan’s awesome definition, and that is motivation itself. One of the primary roles of the coach is to motivate. Motivation leads to performance, as we have already seen in previous blogs in this series. Motivation is the fuel, the driving force, the energy, that allows us to do great things. A coach should inspire those motivation levels and be able to maintain them. The problem is, we are all motivated differently, and discovering what drives someone has hitherto been quite a lengthy and laborious process, more akin to a series of therapy sessions. Most trainers or managers or leaders follow one of two modus operandi. Either, they define motivating people as a ‘carrot or stick’ approach, effectively reducing people to one of those two boxes. Or, even worse, they commit to a cookie-cutter ‘one approach fits all’. In the latter, we often see what has aptly been termed ‘Ra Ra’ motivation: fire-walking, motivational speeches, away-days doing extreme sports, activities that are sure to raise the adrenaline and motivation levels temporarily, but wear off within a fortnight.


So, what we propose is that by using the Maps, which provide immediate insight into motivation levels, we can empower coaches to work even more effectively with their clients, and we can even empower people to become self-coaches too!


“Coaching starts with considering the issue of self-awareness for the simple reason that the person who is not self-aware has – by definition – no awareness, or consciousness, that there is anything on which to work within oneself.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching


So, to become a coach, we need self-awareness. But not only that, to benefit from coaching, we need self-awareness as a first step. We need to identify whether something is wrong and get at least an approximation of where that something is. Here is a model that can help you with these early stages of self-awareness. We call it the four strands that form a person: the body (physical – doing), the mind (mental – thinking), the emotions (feeling), and the spirit (knowing / being). Well-being is critical in all four areas. Whilst the areas each have separate domains which I have extrapolated in brackets, they are also deeply connected, and one affects the other. We only have to look at studies such as psycho-immunology, the effect that psychology has on the immune system response, to know that each part of us is interconnected with the whole in more ways than we can imagine. Let’s look at this another way:







EXERCISE: As a starting point for self-awareness, ask ‘How resilient am I in each of these four areas (or strands)?’ Rate yourself out of 10: 1 being the lowest, and 10 being the highest.


You should now have a rough picture of where you are and what areas you feel are weaker. Note that Spiritual Health does not necessarily mean religious in the strict sense. It could be another core belief, such as vegetarianism or responsible ecology. How connected are you to that ‘mission’ and purpose? Do you feel it is being fulfilled?


Now, take your lowest score, and use this as the basis for forming an ongoing development plan that takes at least 18 months to complete. Nobody can change their life overnight. It takes a while to introduce new habits, and to transform thought processes. We’ll be looking more into how you can form this plan, using Kaizen and other methodologies, next week. Until next time, thank you for reading; stay motivated!


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.




Last week, we explored the nature and applications of Motivational Maps in greater detail. We talked about the deeper values and emotional drivers our motivators represent and how this can lead to conflicts. We also discussed how these conflicts can be resolved using the appropriate language to talk about our motivations. This week’s blog will be the last blog focused on the first Mapping Motivation book. Next week, we will be looking at Mapping Motivation for Coaching, my book co-written with Bevis Moynan! This second book focuses more on coaching and one-to-one motivational interactions: how you can boost the motivation levels of others. For now, however, let us continue our personal journey with the Maps.


RECAP: The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us. What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. As an exercise, we wrote down lists of motivators that may come into conflict.


I want to share some insights from the book relating to how the Maps can change over time. The Maps do not stereotype people, nor are they fixed. Unlike psychometric tests which measure the approximately 30% of your personality which is static or biologically encoded, the Maps measure the rest of your personality or ‘Self’ which is influenced by experience. There is a lot more to be said about the ‘Self’, how it is compartmentalised, and how we can define it, but it would be too much to go into in the space of this one blog. Suffice to say, when we talk about what your ‘top motivators’ are, we are talking about a moment in time. It’s important to always bear in mind that as your life changes and you grow as a person (hopefully we are all looking to grow), your motivators will change.


A classic example of this is someone who has fallen on hard times suddenly finding that the Builder motivator is in their top three, whereas before it was way down at the bottom of the motivational list! A financial crisis means that even someone for whom money is not normally important begins to recognise its value. Positive changes can also influence our profile. Sometimes, as we move towards our motivators, we can sometimes grow beyond them. For example, how many teenagers do we know that desperately want autonomy? They are driven by a powerful Spirit motivator. However, once they get out into the world away from home and begin struggling in the Darwinian kingdom of work, many of them suddenly recognise the value of the support families and friends can offer. They have proven to themselves they have autonomy and now it becomes less of a core driver. New horizons emerge.


A change in our circumstances, in our situation, may mean a slow or a swift change in our beliefs: in our self-concept, beliefs directed inwards about our Self; and in our expectations, beliefs directly outwardly and about outcomes.” – Mapping Motivation


The phrase ‘mid-life crisis’ is becoming more and more common, it seems, but what does it really mean? This sudden realisation many middle-aged people seem to come to, that everything they have been striving towards is suddenly worth very little to them, is nothing other than the sudden (or seemingly sudden) emergence of new motivational values. However, without the understanding and language to deal with this, it can feel like a very serious issue indeed.


Understanding how motivators change, and specifically how your motivations in life have shifted over time, is a great way to re-evaluate what you might deem as past ‘mistakes’. It is a great way to understand how you got from then to now, and why you may have made certain choices.


EXERCISE: Rank your top three motivators in the here and now. Then, think back to 5 years ago and rank your top three motivators as you think they might have been then (it is okay if they are the same, but it is likely at least one has shifted). Do the same for 10 and 15 years ago. You should now have four stages of motivational evolution. What does this tell you? What key events may have influenced these changes?


Hopefully the above exercise has been insightful for you. I know that my motivators have shifted greatly over time. As a drama teacher going back some thirty years, I know I was motivated by making a difference to my students (Searcher) and possibly also by that recognition so key to those in theatre and performing arts (Star). However, I have always carried the Creator deep in my soul, I think, in the form of poetry, which I have not stopped writing for forty years. Some things, of course, do not change, and that can be just as revealing as what does.




The nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.


The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us. What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. As an exercise, we wrote down lists of motivators that may come into conflict.


Unlike psychometric tests which measure the approximately 30% of your personality which is static or biologically encoded, the Maps measure the rest of your personality or ‘Self’ which is influenced by experience. This means they change over time.


Next week we will be having a short break, so see you in two week’s time where we will be talking about motivation and coaching!


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation at the Routledge website.



Last week, we began our journey with the first in this webseries, entitled Unlocking Motivation. We talked about how we are all driven by nine motivators, but these nine motivators are ordered differently within us. We talked briefly about reward strategies, and how we can move from treating everyone ‘the same’ to customising our approach to each individual person based not on a false meritocracy, but on what drives them.


RECAP: The nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.


This week, I want to talk about what the Maps can reveal about human relationships and the startling way they can be used to improve communication and teamwork in an office.


Most of our arguments with people are not about the thing we are arguing about. We all know this at an intuitive level. It isn’t really all that angering that someone has left a dirty coffee mug in the communal area, or that they talk loudly on the phone. It is the messages behind these, what we call in literature ‘subtext’. One of my first great loves was writing, and it remains so to this day. Mainly poetry and non-fiction. My wife, Linda, the Managing Director of Motivational Maps, avidly reads probably 60 or more novels a year. Our interests overlap when it comes to watching Game of Thrones, and we have lots of interesting discussions about stories from this! The thing about narrative and storytelling is that if you want your characters to feel deep, three-dimensional and fully-realised – like George R. R. Martin’s – you need to understand that when people talk, most of the time they are not saying what they really mean. The same applies to the things we do. Sometimes, even seemingly altruistic actions can actually have hidden subtexts, agendas, and intended meanings. We sense these, often, at a kind of primitive animal-level, but it can be very hard without experience to decipher them.


So, back to the dirty coffee cup. What does that symbolise? Perhaps, to someone who likes things to be clean and ordered, it makes the statement: I don’t care about my working environment or the other people in it. If someone said these words to you directly, it would be pretty shocking and cause for alarm. The anger is understandable and it arises from a conflict of values. Another way of looking at this is that people do not disagree over things, or words even, they disagree over values. The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us.


What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. Let’s look at this in a little more detail to see what I mean. Let’s say there is someone in the office with Director as their number one motivator. The Director is fuelled by the desire for control. They want to have control over their life, environment, and yes, also their work colleagues and friends. They want to be organisational chief. It is likely that if you have someone in your office who has a tendency to micro-manage, who likes to tidy up, and who is always volunteering to be in charge of one committee or another, they are a Director motivator. Now, the Director motivator has one immediate and obvious point of conflict within the Maps. How well did you study the nine motivators? Here’s an exercise:


EXERCISE: Write down a list of two or three possible motivators that could clash with the Director based on their drives / values. Ask yourself if you have seen any of these conflicts in action. If you are already familiar with the Maps, try picking a more unusual motivator or a motivator that you would normally consider cooperative with the Director and investigate where there might be tension points.


So, hopefully you have come up with some interesting answers there. For me, the number one conflicting motivator with the Director is the Spirit. The Spirit represents the drive for independence. Spirits don’t like to be controlled or told what to do. They abhor hierarchy. When they work, they like to go about things in their own way and reject repetitious process. One of the great strengths of the Spirits is that they are pro-active go-getters. However, you can probably immediately see that the relationship between these two motivational drives can be antagonistic if not managed correctly. In simple terms, they want opposite things.


Now, the purpose of the Maps is not simply to just provide words for existing things you are already aware of. It is not a label. Your motivators change with time, experience, and circumstance. A classic change I often see is when people first start their own business, suddenly they find the Builder in their top three motivators where it had never been before. Of course, money concerns starting a new business have meant that the need for material gain has shifted and become more of a priority. No, the Maps are a practical tool. Having a neutral language to discuss these difference of value allows the individuals themselves to have open, frank, adult conversations, as well as providing management and leaders with insights on how to go about solving the issue.


We need to constantly fine tune our teams because as I said before the law of entropy means they will run down without inputs.” – Mapping Motivation


Something I’ve observed in a lot of businesses, particularly in the UK, is the blame culture. Every process is designed to mitigate potential blame allocation. In fact, many people in offices spend more time covering their backs (sending emails confirming what so-and-so said to so-and-so or what instructions were given at what time), than they do getting on with work, and it is not their fault by any means. It is the societal culture we have created where every boss lives in fear that if they fire someone they will get sued, and everyone else lives in fear they will be held responsible for the actions of their superiors. We can become blame-culture enthusiasts in our personal life and our work relationships too. We blame people for things they do (or don’t do). The beauty of understanding our values and motivators is that it removes this blame-language. It moves from Why don’t you follow my instructions? to I can see that maybe my Director motivator is trying to control your Spirit. How can we work in a different way to avoid this?


It opens up a bounteous treasure-trove of possible solutions. Maybe the Spirit can work alone and then present their work to the Director at the end of the process, rather than getting feedback along the way. Maybe the Director can give the Spirit a lot of information and background and then step back and let them take the project away and finish it without intervention.


EXERCISE: I want you now to pick two other motivators from the remaining seven: Creator, Defender, Friend, Star, Searcher, Expert, Builder – and explore ways in which they might conflict given their drives and values.


So, the more we understand about one another and what drives us, the more sympathetic and communicative we can be. In the next blog, we’ll explore the further benefits of motivation in a team and why making a difference to the people who work for an organisation is ultimately going to benefit every other face of the business, including the bottom line.


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation at the Routledge website.



We’ve all heard the phrase ‘practice what you preach’. It’s an essential concept. We need to embody the principles that we expect others to uphold. The problem is that, being human, we are susceptible to hypocrisy. I found this myself, at cost. I spent years using the Motivational Maps tool, getting people to realise what their true drivers were, their energy source, their motivation, and helping them to align their lives with these inner drives for greater wellbeing and performance. I then disregarded what my motivational profile was telling me. That I needed to be doing more creative pursuits. I had gotten so locked into delivering: going on the road, turning up at meetings, giving talks, training one to one and training teams, that I had somewhere lost sight of my true primary driver, which was to create content (not deliver it). I am fairly sure this is part of what resulted in my crash and subsequent cancer, though there were perhaps other factors at play there as well.

However, surviving the cancer, emerging from the belly of that whale, I had a new outlook and perspective on life, and also a new outlook on how to transform my business so that I could do more creation, what was truly at my core. The fruit of this labour are my three (soon to be four) books on motivation: Mapping Motivation, Mapping Motivation for Coaching (with Bevis Moynan) and Mapping Motivation for Engagement (with Steve Jones). These three texts explore the greatest challenge that most organisations face: that of motivating their staff and creating a strong, cooperative team environment. At the heart of these books is my product, the Motivational Map, which is self-perception diagnostic tool that makes visible what is invisible: our inner drives, desires, and feelings. It should be noted, however, that this is not a book just for managers, CEOs, or management consultants; this is a book that promotes overturning the traditional command and control hierarchy of business and replacing it with a modern bottom-up approach, where people are empowered. I hope it is of benefit to anyone who wants to learn more about what drives us and how we can boost motivational levels for ourselves and others.

Motivation is not secret, it is not Hermetic lore to be sealed away by a cadre of elite. Motivation is for all. As a result, I want to share some of the information and secrets contained in these books with you here to help you think about how you can improve your life. I’ll be writing nine blogs in total, covering topics from all three books. Are you read to come with me on this motivation journey? I hope so!


Independent of whether we have high IQs or low ones, whether we are tall or short, or whether even we are rich or poor, perhaps the biggest single determinant of the quality of our lives is how motivated we are at any given moment, and over prolonged periods of time.” - Mapping Motivation


The word ‘motivation’ and ‘motivational’ is bandied around a lot nowadays, but it is never very well defined. We talk about motivational athletes, or even billionaires who tell their motivational sob-story about growing up with ‘only a dream’. None of this is very useful or something that the every day person can really harness in any meaningful way. Organisations spend thousands, sometimes tens of thousands or even hundreds, on booking motivational speakers who rev up their sales force for a day, only to see their performance drop back to normal within 48 hours. Where are they going wrong?

I like to define motivation as energy. It is what feeds us. When we do things we are motivated by, it increases our excitement, our focus, our energy, our commitment, and also our enjoyment. Identifying what we are motivated by, however, is not easy. I know many people, who are very insightful, who have spent a lifetime trying to figure out their own motivations and really revealing they are completely blind to them. We all are, to an extent. Our self is always the blind spot. We cannot ‘see’ ourselves, except when we look in a mirror. So, the mirror is a tool to reveal what we cannot see. The Motivational Maps, similarly, allow us to look at ourselves more clearly.

There are nine motivators. These are synthesised from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors and the Enneagram. They are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Director, the need for control, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world. No motivator is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another. All of them are valid. In fact, we all have all nine motivators within us, but generally two or three of them are dominant.

How is this helpful? Well, it reveals, very simply, what drives us. For example. I am a Creator, that is my number one ranked motivator, and therefore I need to make sure that I have time in my day for creative things: writing motivational books, writing blogs, listening to music, composing poetry. When I do these things, I get a massive energy and happiness boost. It is why I get out of bed in the morning, it completes my life. However, you might be motivated by something completely different. It seems obvious when you look at it like this, but it is amazing how many people take this cookie-cutter ‘one size fits all’ approach to people and wonder why it doesn’t work.

Let’s look at an example. What if a CEO wanted to reward their employees for a good year? What if they decided to give them all a pay-rise? That seems pretty sensible, right? Everybody wins. Except, actually, only 1 in 9 of your employees is likely to be a Builder and therefore motivated by material gain (perhaps more if they worked in an Accountancy firm or Banking – different professions attract different motivators). I’ve seen numerous examples of companies who give all their employees a pay-rise and it actually de-motivates them! It creates all kinds of problems when you look beneath the surface: ‘He got a bigger pay-rise than me, that’s not fair’ or ‘He got the same rise as me yet I’ve worked five times harder than he has’. Can you see how money does not, in fact, solve the problem of motivation at all, except when you are perhaps dealing with a Builder motivator.

Now, what if that CEO approached their reward strategy differently? What if it was custom to each person? The problem with that is working out what people want. The idea of Motivational Maps is to make it very easy to do this.


EXERCISE: Your exercise for this week is to make a note of the top three motivators from the list I have provided that you think could be applicable to you. Try and rank them from 1 through to 3. What does this reveal to you? Does it cause you reflect on previous roles and why they were or were not suitable for you? What does it say about your current role? We’ll look at this in more depth next week.


If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation at the Routledge website.

10 Commandments of Impractical Entrepreneurship - Revisited!


A couple of years ago, following a lunch with my friend Brian Jenner, I posted an article outlining the ‘10 Commandments of Impractical Entrepreneurship’! This was based on an outline of a talk he was preparing, and he kindly allowed me to share his brilliant ideas. Recently looking back over these commandments (one always needs to refresh oneself sometimes) I realised that many of them have acquired new meaning in our current business, economic, and, indeed, cultural climate. So, I wanted to share these commandments again with some new thoughts.


The first commandment of impractical entrepreneurship is thou shall not be afraid. Brian reminded me at the time that God's most common exhortation in the Bible is: ‘Fear not’ or ‘Don't be afraid’. God says this some 80 times and more than any other piece of advice. Frank Herbert, author of the incredible Dune series, once wrote: ‘Fear is the mind killer’. And indeed, he was right. Fear shuts us down. It reduces our ability to think laterally, placing us in a state of fight or flight (on fact, there is also a third response, which is ‘freeze’). Of course, none of these responses are particularly helpful for dealing with modern day issues. I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently, perhaps because right now you can practically smell it in the air. With the presidency of Donald Trump and the prospect of Brexit, many people feel less and less certain about their futures. Whilst I deeply sympathise with this, it is also frustrating to see people lose their heads. One would think we were entering another world war, or that the bombs were already falling, with the way people talk. A few days doing relief work in Syria or Africa might help people get a sense of perspective. The world is changing for us, not necessarily ending just yet (though all empires fall one day). It is also frustrating to see the media, rather than allaying fears, to be relishing in the fear-mongering. It is, truly, Orwellian to watch the spread of misinformation, speculation and outright lies. One might almost think they want us to be in a state of blind panic. But, I digress. If you want to weather the storms, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur in these uncertain times, you need to shed your fear. You must look at the chaos of our era as opportunity rather than be afraid of what might or might not happen. After all, we have to overcome fear if we're going to be able to achieve anything in life.


Commandment number two is: Thou doesn't need to have a job! We are, certainly the UK, conditioned into the idea of thinking that education is all about finally getting a job that will solve all our problems and make us happy. This is really just a fixed idea which is not helpful, and furthermore many people don't even enjoy their jobs, so seeing the ‘job’ as our inevitable future may be irrelevant. Jobs and the job’s mentality can often lead to endless and unsatisfying activity; whereas creating your own business can more easily lead to purposeful goals and real service. In our current climate, this is truer than ever. People spend so much time bewailing the lack of opportunity, the lack of good jobs, and yet how is it, then, that many groups of teenagers can be making, if not millions, a more than satisfactory living wage off of YouTube videos? Talking about what they love, playing video-games, reviewing exciting new films. This is not even the golden era of YouTube content creation! Yes, there are problems with that lifestyle too (burnout, isolation, to name just two) but there are pitfalls in any profession. Coaches and mentors burn out! I did myself. What I am trying to say is, as one door closes (stable jobs-for-life in the public sector, for example), another door of potential opens for those willing to make the leap of faith. In a few years’ time, YouTube may not exist. This doesn’t mean it is the end. We must adapt and change to our new environment.


The third commandment is Thou shalt try things out. You cannot discover profound and useful things unless you do things other people don't do; you need to experiment and need to innovate, and unless we do we won't get anywhere. It was Drucker who said that only two things made money for a business: marketing and innovation. So trying things out is really important. There might be an activity you do which suddenly sparks a new idea, or else puts you in a great mind-set for working. Not everything has to be work related, but at the same time, the things you do in your free time might well feed into your work and feed that passion. I myself love classical music. I can’t play, but I love to listen and have an eclectic collection. This is nothing to do with my work. Or is it? I regularly listen to this music when I am writing, or creating new content for the business. It stimulates and relaxes me in a way rock or pop music rarely does. What kind of music might relax you when you work? Try it out!


Fourth, Thou shalt accept failure. Accepting failure in the right way is the potential catalyst for learning. The famous Edison story tells how he perfected 10,000 ways how not to make a light bulb before he went on to establish how he could do it. Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish between success and failure. As Rosabeth Moss Kanter observed, 'Everything looks like failure in the middle. In nearly every change project doubt is cast on the original vision because problems are mounting and the end is nowhere in sight'. It's only with hindsight we realise the problem is a necessary part of the solution; so it's important not to get demoralised by what appears to be failure at some point during the process.


Then most interestingly, Brian shared the Fifth commandment: Thou shalt not give anything away for free. In our current era of relentless charity, and the way we are more connected than ever to people in need via online services, this might sound cruel. The fact is, you cannot help others if you cannot first help yourself. Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘The best way to help the poor is not to become one of them’. The majority of entrepreneurs providing a service are certainly under-charging. The majority of writers, artists and creators in the UK and US are paid less than a living wage (the 2018 ALCs study revealed the median income of a professional author is now at under £10,500 a year). We must get creative on how we can offer assistant to people at fair prices, but still run a viable business. Do we have multiple revenue streams from different projects? One project which is more altruistic and one more profitable in the traditional sense? If we really think about helping people as our top priority (whether we’re providing business or financial advice, counselling services, writing coaching or something else entirely) then we can create new ways to add value to people’s lives, and adding value is a sure way to increase your own value.



Thou shalt account for every penny, commandment number six. This shows a healthy respect for money and actually values its value. We can be driven by ideals, or large humanitarian goals, but still value money and not be wasteful of it!


Commandment number 7 is Thou shalt move with the times. This is more important than ever before! My good friend Ross Thornley is writing a book about just how rapidly our modern era is changing. How many organisations do you know that use old ideas, old methodologies, old technology, and wonder why they are becoming less and less competitive? If an organisation or business isn’t growing, then it’s dying.


Thou shalt not sacrifice thyself. This is the timely commandment number 8. We see it all the time, don’t we? The entrepreneur that mistakes stubborn stupidity for savvy persistence. Some ideas need to be abandoned as soon as it is clear that they are not going to work. But we get attached to ideas and won’t let them go; we sacrifice ourselves, re-mortgage the house and even our relationships, on the altar of some flawed idol that is never going to deliver. The counter to this is good information and accurate intelligence.


At number 9 we have: Thou shalt learn some psychology. Brian Jenner recommends Robert Cialdini’s famous book, Influence, and so do I. Getting to Yes is also another classic in the same mould. And if I may be immodest, try my Mapping Motivation, published by Routledge. But without understanding people, we may not be quite dead in the water, but the swim is going to be one hell of a harrowing experience; but if we understand people and can get them alongside us, then we really will gain leverage and buoyancy.


Finally, Brian recommends as his tenth commandment: Thou shalt walk away. This of course is one of the key negotiation principles of Getting to Yes. But you will experience indifference, opposition, and competition to your ideas and sometimes the best option is to walk away rather than confront these negative situations. As they say in martial arts: ‘What you resist persists’. Letting go can be much more effective and harmonious.


So ten brilliant commandments, all with plenty of meat round them. But as I said to Brian as we sat there, he with his coffee and me with my mint and ginger, ‘There’s one missing commandment, Brian’. So here is my extra bonus.


Commandment number 11: Thou shalt have a story – for the story will excite and energise, the story will create friends and allies, and the story will expand all our horizons and possibilities. The story will let us all understand what is going on and why! In times of turbulence, fear, uncertainty, stories become more important than ever. In fact, they become fuel which people burn through the long winter. We need stories, to feed our imaginations, to stimulate our creativity, to remind us what heroism looks like. Why do you think shows such as Game of Thrones have become so popular? It is because the brutal and treacherous world of Westeros gives shape to our fears and shows us how real heroes, like Jon Snow (played by the stoic Kit Harrington), deal with them. So, stay strong as we head towards the future, and remember, do not be afraid!

Transforming The Self


As a motivational mentor I encounter people with many issues and these always divide along the lines of the three core life elements: achievement, relationship, or self growth. Paradoxically, sometimes the more the serious the issues, the easier they are to support and help. People who believe they are doing all the right things sometimes cannot change, and therefore cannot transform their Self.

In this way, it’s easy to become stuck in life, sensing vaguely that something is ‘wrong’ or requires improvement but not sure where to start. How many people who are diagnosed with cancer have the thought: “But I eat healthily, exercise, I do all the right things!” I myself thought along those lines when I received my own diagnosis, although examining my life after the event, I saw quite clearly some areas where I could have improved my way of life and perhaps if not prevented it, but reduced its seriousness.

There is a wonderful story in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers about Abbot Lot: “Abbot Lot came to Abbot Joseph and said, ‘Father, to the limit of my ability, I keep my little rule, my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; to the limit of my ability, I cleanse my heart of thoughts; what more should I do?’” This question – what more should I do? – is relevant to us all in our odyssey through life. And I am sure you can see how difficult it is to answer, given the fact that Abbot Lot is already doing so much. Indeed, Abbot Lot specifically refers twice the ‘limit of his ability’ – he is doing, in our language, the max!

As mentors and coaches, then, it is easy to see how to help or direct somebody who is all at sea, who is not doing any of the basics in the three core life elements. But how do we help the person who is dissatisfied by their progress when they are sincerely doing the best that they can already?

Let me invite you now to reflect on what would your answer be to either Abbot Lot or to one such client that you have experienced or might experience in future. What would you say?

What Abbot Joseph said is revealing: “The elder man rose up in reply, and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said, ‘Why not be utterly changed into fire?’”

Whilst on the surface, entirely cryptic, this answer is instructive and brilliant on many levels. First, he “rose” – the physical body changed in order to make his response. Second, the digits of his hand ‘became like ten lamps of fire’. As a theological point, what may the ten represent? It is likely the Ten Commandments – the law – the very thing that Abbot Lot is consumed by following – all the right procedures, and protocols, and ‘rules’ that supposedly lead to heaven. Third, the all-consuming question – not an answer – a suggestion almost: become fire!

This is a staggering suggestion: that at root we need to burn up the old life and become something completely new, and wholly free, and incandescently bright. It suggests to me a state of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. Abbot Lot is concerned entirely with this question ‘What more can I do?’. Abbot Joseph’s reply is that he should change into fire. In other words, become something else. This represents transitioning from a state of practising religion or faith, to embodying its meaning. The same can be true of our coaching clients. There comes a point where simply ‘doing’ the procedures, the routines, that lead to a better life or business practice will be unsatisfactory because there is a higher level of ‘being’ to attain. Exactly how we reach that transformation is, of course, another question, and a complex one. But it must surely begin for all of us, if we consider the real meaning of the story, with the vision and the intention to be that flame.


Best Ever Year, 2019


I hope that everyone has had celebratory New Year’s Eves full of life and laughter! I hope, too, that the morning, whilst possibly bringing a hangover, has also brought the promise of an exciting year ahead. Whilst Time is certainly an artificial device, something we use to measure out life, we derive our measurement of Time from the natural cycles in the world. The rotation of the Earth about the sun. The procession of the Equinoxes. The wax and wane of the Moon. So, it is important, regardless of our views, to mark time, transition, to acknowledge the moment where one thing becomes another: spring becoming summer, one day becoming the next, one year becoming the another. Whilst some people might say that nothing has changed with the advent of a new year, I disagree. Everything may have changed, even if it is only our perspective. This reminds me of a story I may have told before, but it’s an important one, so I want to re-iterate it. I think, if anything, it is more pertinent now than when I first told it.

There is so much to learn from children, if only we could listen. Of course, one needs to be clear: there is a world of difference between being child-like and childish. We need to avoid the latter and embrace the former. One way I have come to appreciate this is through my own son when he was young. I vividly remember when he was about six years old and I was encouraging him to do the homework his Primary school had set him to do (yes, unbelievable, I know – what are these people on?) and he turned to me, disarmingly, and said: “Daddy, children were meant to play.” As soon as he said it – like a blow to my heart – I knew he was right. What was I thinking? That at six years old he should spend all day at school and then come home in the evening and start toiling over a load of nonsense that had no bearing on his life whatsoever?

“Carry on playing, Joe,” I said, and quietly crept away, ashamed I had disturbed him. And before then and after then, my son had a knack of identifying the real issue without thinking about it, and without being a smarty-pants. But one of his best perceptions only emerged gradually. My wife and I noticed a pattern when we asked him a familiar family question. For example, he had been to visit a friend, or he just had been to his martial arts club, or had a special meal, or we’d come back from going to the cinema with him or even watched a DVD at home. This typical question always went along the lines of: “How was it Joe?” – how was the visit to your friend, or the martial arts club, or the meal, or the film? And we kept getting this unselfconscious response: “Best ever.” Indeed, this response became a bit of a family joke and persisted into the present time: “How was your date with your girlfriend?”

“Best ever, dad.”

And I realised this was fundamentally important. So many people look back to the best ever time of their life, and then spend all their time regretting how this could not continue. The truth is, of course, no matter how old we are, we are now at the best ever moment of our life, and the next moment is going to be even better. This is a vital expectation for our lives, for without it we are going to subscribe to the zeitgeist philosophy that being old is bad, decrepitude is inevitable, and that only being young is worthwhile. On the contrary, being old has massive advantages and things are even better – ‘best ever’ – now than they were before. Expectations are, of course, our beliefs about future outcomes, and so a belief that is so positive, so pregnant with energy, so vital, is going to have a massive effect in exactly the way that self-fulfilling prophecies do. In other words, it is highly likely to become our reality, if we believe it and not just ‘think’ it.

Certainly, for me, I realise that I am at the very best time of my life now. Eight years ago I nearly died of cancer, but that was best ever too: best ever illness that enabled me to move on from where I was utterly stuck. Every year since has got ‘best ever’ written all over it too. So as we all face 2019 what are we thinking, or rather believing? Is this going to be your ‘best ever’ year? Or are you already resigned to mediocrity, more of the same, or worse: a gradual deterioration in everything – health, wealth, relationships and the self? Do yourself a favour, then: take advice from my son, and from children and from the child-like everywhere, and whenever asked ‘how’s it going?’, reply: ‘best ever, thanks’.

Motivational Maps Round-Up 2018



It was a busy year for me and for Motivational Maps as a whole, but we’re so excited with all that’s going on with the maps. The greatest thing for us is seeing what other people are doing with the maps and how they are using our tool in their own way, deepening the collective knowledge base and taking what maps has to offer into new fields. In the light of this, I’ve been co-authoring books in my series Mapping Motivation to expand the knowledge-base with input from others. Two of these books were published by Routledge this year: Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), which is all about one-to-one coaching and mentorship, and Mapping Motivation for Engagement (co-written with Steve Jones), which is all about engagement and the big picture of getting employees on board (and why the modern work environment is so dis-engaging). We had launch events for both books in London at the Judge’s Court. Both were fabulous events. I must thank everyone who attended and all our sponsors!


I’ve also published a fair few of articles, on a variety of platforms and about various things, but particular to maps are my Motivational Memos. I thought, what with it being the end of the year, it would be good to revisit some of those articles as we review the year. So, here are three (for three is the magic number) of my favourite articles published in 2018, and some of the reasons why! In no particular order…


Recruitment and Motivation

Recruitment is such an important issue. As many people go through Christmas and the New Year, it will be with the prospect of new beginnings on the horizon, a fresh start for next year. While some undoubtedly still consider this corny, there is something to be said for, once a year, re-evaluating what you are doing and why and seeing if there are not ways you can do it better, or perhaps somewhere else that you should be. Recruitment is the hiring of new staff. In the New Year, many companies will be inundated with people looking for new role and new futures. So, now is an important time to review your recruitment practices, and, almost more importantly, your recruitment philosophy!


What the World Cup 2018 Can Teach Us About Motivation

The World Cup was a major event this year for many people and, whilst I am no major football fan, it was quite inspirational to see even snippets. We saw that it is possible to break from the paradigms and ‘curses’ of the past, that strong leadership, in the form of Gareth Southgate, can develop people in a kind-hearted way. Southgate cut through even entrenched psychological game-playing and negativity that had besmirched England’s playing ability (and frankly honour) for years. He was the embodiment of gentlemanly machismo. No posturing, no aggression, just quiet determination and confidence. Many managers, if they are looking for a role model, could do well to look to Gareth Southgate. Why not make it a 2018 resolution (or as I like to call them: intention)?


Motivation & Psychopathology

An expanded version of this article actually appears in my book Lotus Eaters & Myrmidons. It is all about how, beneath Maslow’s secondary hierarchy of drives, lies the deeper drive for survival, and some people, regardless of living in the modern world and a first world country, are stuck in this instinct. It is very difficult to motivate or coach people like this. It is even difficult to give them therapy. We must, all of us, deal with difficult people in our lives, and people who are struggling to survive because they have created needs for themselves which must be met at all costs (read: addictions). Though we go forward to the future positively, we must remember not to go blindly, and I think this article can help people identify and deal with those dangerous individuals that might lurk in the office!


So there you have it, a recap of my three favourite articles. Which is your favourite from the year? And what are your intentions as we move toward the end of the year and into the next?


Wishing you all happy holidays!


The Need for Resilient Leadership

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Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who came to our Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch last Thursday (29th November). It was a fantastic event, with some brilliant talks and insight and laughter. Most of all, it very motivational indeed, which is what it should be! I certainly learned a lot from being there.


Today, I want to talk about so-called ‘Resilient Leadership’. Cary Cooper, the well-known professor and business expert, depicted some while ago the hard times we live in and suggested a call for resilient leaders. He paints a vivid picture of the stresses the economy is undergoing and suspects the SME sector in particular will be severely hit. The changes coming will no longer be optional but inevitable, so embracing change becomes the mantra. To do this we need what he calls ‘resilient leaders’ and elsewhere ‘real leadership’.


I guess I am not being merely pedantic when I say that all leadership is ‘real’ enough, certainly for those experiencing it; and resilience may not be a quality we want in certain types of leaders: the case of Hitler springs to mind – he who was incredibly ‘resilient’. If only he hadn’t been.


What the words ‘real’ and ‘resilient’ are actually disguising is a sort of adjectival tautology: what we want are leaders who lead. What we want are - to use the Jim Collins’ terms - good and great leaders. There, I have said it. ‘Real’ and ‘resilient’ give the impression that we are talking about something objective, that we can empirically conjure up and control in some way; ‘good’ and ‘great’ are just so purely subjective that they seem all froth. We end up knowing we have great leaders only after the event - which is useless when we want to appoint them in advance. As Cooper says, ‘Britain needs them by the hundreds and thousands, if it is to prosper’.


Interestingly, the activities that these ‘real’ types undertake, according to Cooper, are allowing staff ownership of the business problems, increasing their decision making, listening and supporting. In short, they do less command and control, more empathy, sensitivity and openness. Indeed, they possess more personal qualities that require ‘real’ character - the ability to engage with another human being without rushing to tell them what to do and how to do it.


This is a tall order even in undemanding times. With the pressure of the economy weighing down on business owners, how likely is it that they are going to opt for character over control faced with spiralling loss of revenue?


What is really needed I think are new ways of approaching how staff and teams work - and specifically of tapping into the motivational core of performance. We should try this because it is quite clear the alternative - what we are currently doing - doesn’t work. As was observed during a talk at the book-launch: Engagement levels have remained at around the 30% mark (i.e. 30% of staff are engaged and 70% are disengaged) for the last 30 years! Given the massive amounts of research and investment into engagement, a sum that is no doubt in the billions, this seems almost inconceivable. What is wrong with this picture? Well, it’s clear the reason we haven’t seen any significant progress is because at a fundamental level it is all coming from the same place, the same top-down and command-and-control approach. If we are to truly engage people, and to truly lead them, we must have, as Cooper advocates, empathy.


To this end, then, Motivational Maps have an enormous role to play: they can provide the missing language and metrics which have so far bedevilled attempts to make the soft skills rigorous and measurable. It should be noted that narrative, the true object of language, is actually a form of healing. In this way, the Maps are not just a business tool for insight, engagement and personal development, they are also a therapeutic tool in some regard. (More on this in future articles!) The Maps can provide the link to performance that is so necessary; and we know that performance leads to productivity. And guess what? Productivity leads to profits – if the strategy is right. Part of that strategy needs to be the people, and especially the leaders. Call it resilience; call it great; but for crying out loud let’s put the language and metric of motivation at the heart of it.