The Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch is almost upon us! Next week, authors Steve Jones and James Sale will be hosting the launch at The Judge’s Court in Brown’s Covent Garden, London, on the 29th November. James and Steve welcome you warmly to this event and will be present to answer your burning questions about engagement, motivation, book-writing and much more.


Engagement is an important topic, and becoming increasingly more important as a greater portion of the world becomes part of the province of big business. Mapping Motivation for Engagement promotes a new model for engaging and motivating employees which takes a bottom-up, people-centric approach. In this extract, James Sale and Steve Jones explain where most people go wrong with engagement:


“It is our considered view that the more intangible, invisible and ‘airy-fairy’ an element of organisational development is (and specifically in relation to employee engagement), the more likely it is to be of paramount importance. In a way it is easy to see how ‘enabling managers’ contribute – almost by definition – to employee engagement; but a strategic narrative? Isn’t this just something for boffins at head office who love producing pages of paperwork and who simultaneously like to consider this ‘real’ work? Sadly, it would be easy to become cynical, but the reality is that even the engaging managers will in the end run out of steam if there is no ‘strategic narrative’ underpinning their efforts, strengthening their resolve and fortifying their motivations.


“The truth is that the seriously important things in life all tend to be intangibles, and invisibles – like values, beliefs, emotions, motivations, dreams – precede, and so drive, the outcomes in the concrete world we experience. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to them, and not, as so many executives do, just consider the tangibles: the revenues, the profits, the assets and all the ‘things’ we can list on or deduce from a balance sheet. It is the lack of attention – and so respect – paid to people generally that is at the root of so much disengagement and disaffection in the work place.”


There is a famous line from 2 Corinthians 4:18 which is: “What is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal”. Regardless of the religious connotations, this is part of the ethos of Motivational Maps, unveiling the unseen and invisible emotions, desires, drives and dreams that lie within us. The Maps are just that, a way to chart and observe the unseen landscape of the psyche. If this sounds ‘airy-fairy’, to use words from the book itself, it should in one sense. But the genius of the Maps is that it is also a business tool that provides metrics: motivational scores, ways to gauge motivation levels and satisfaction in the nine key areas.


One of the key ways in which engagement can slip, and employees (or managers or business owners for that matter) become de-motivated, is via a conflict of values. The nine motivators, whilst they represent ‘drives’ that fuel us, also correspond to things that we value. For example, the Defender is the need for security, therefore they value stability and order in the workplace (and indeed at home too). However, this value might conflict with someone who is a Creator motivator, who has a need to innovate, and who therefore values what is new and dynamic. A Creator motivator is much more likely to value risk-tasking and bold ambitious ideas, because it can lead to creative reward. These two values, Defender and Creator, can be in conflict, and it’s easy to see how two people might lock-horns over them. Or, indeed, how a company that is laden with bureaucratic safety measures (Defender) might totally wear down an employee motivated by creativity. Mapping Motivation for Engagement aims to put this knowledge and toolkit into the hands of those who are looking to make a difference!


To learn more about engagement, motivation, and to hear directly from James and Steve, please join us at The Judge’s Court in London. There will be food and drink, inspiring talks, Q&A, and opportunities to network, including with our four incredible sponsors: Evolve, Liberating Leadership, Ellis Jones Solicitors, and Peer2Peer Boards. All of them are passionate about motivation and will be featured at the event. If you wish to find out more about them, please check out our article introducing them.

4 sponsors

An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!




Time is flying by us as we draw ever closer to the Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch, with authors Steve Jones and James Sale! This book, and the launch itself, marks a key evolution of thought on employee engagement, as is described in this extract from Mapping Motivation for Engagement:

“Whereas it has always been obvious that leadership is of critical importance in the success of any organisation, or endeavour for that matter, engagement, and its significance, has been a relatively recent phenomenon even as a management concept. William Kahn was one of the first researchers to allude to its crucial role, and it has arisen almost certainly as a failure of ‘scientific management’ approaches that had held sway in the USA and UK for at least a century.

“It is to be hoped, then, that with the advent of the new twenty-first century, there will also be a new paradigm, or perhaps shift in paradigm, away from what can only be called ‘old-school’ thinking and behaving, towards a more necessary and effective methodology. In one sense the creation of Motivational Maps is one aspect of this ‘newness’. Our own view would be that the personality tests and tools that arose after World War 2 were generation one of the serious attempts to get inside what makes an employee tick, but they had limitations. So subsequently, generation two, a wave a psychometric tools developed that enabled a wider sweep (but which still included personality) of qualities to be assessed. But the advantage of the psychometric was its arduous validation process whereby its measures were compared to a representative sample of the population at least twice. This was and is all well and good, except the net effect of it has been to disempower leadership in two ways: first, the very fact that the psychometric requires (in the second testing) for the subject to be consistent actually tends to hypostatise the person – or put another way, ‘fix’ or stereotype them. Which leads to the second problem: leaders, instead of employing engaging managers and able leaders based on a range of criteria – critically motivation should be one of them – tend to look for the simple and simplistic solution of the ‘right’ psychometric profile.


“And that is why Motivational Maps as a third generation tool is really the right idea at the right time, for in yet another important way it does what the other tools do not: it reverses the flow of management focus. What do we mean by that exactly? Well, personality and psychometric tools operate on a top-down approach: it invariably seems to be about finding out whether the employee fits the manager’s box. Top-down or command and control in other words. Motivational Maps cannot and do not work like that: the essence of doing a Motivational Map is to understand the employee in order for the management to accommodate the employee, not the other way round. In short, it is a bottom-up approach, a people-centric approach, an engagement approach.”


“People-centric” is the core strength of Motivational Maps, but it isn’t just about saying the right things. The only way to improve success in business is to improve the energy levels of staff. There is a direct correlation between motivation levels and performance; performance, of course, leading to results, results which in turn lead to profit. It’s so much more likely to see good performance in employees who actively care about the company, who feel valued by their employer, and are emotionally invested in the organisation’s ideals and beliefs. While this sounds obvious, it’s surprising how many companies seem to miss it. Where many organisations deliberate over creating a set of core company ‘values’ and telling the world about them, it is surprisingly rare to find instances where all the employees feel connected and aligned with those values (or, sadly, who feel the organisation itself ‘practices what it preaches’). Motivational Maps hopes to change this, and Mapping Motivation for Engagement is a significant step towards allowing anybody to achieve it!

People-centric is what we will be all about at the launch too! There’ll be snacks, beverages, motivational talks, and a chance to present your burning questions to Steve Jones and James Sale, the authors. The book launch will be held at The Judge’s Court in Brown’s Covent Garden, London, on the 29th November. James and Steve welcome you warmly to this event!

There will be opportunities for networking at the launch with a bright, vital community. Our last event, launching Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-authored with Bevis Moynan, had over 120 people present, and this year promises to be even bigger! There will be thought-leaders and creators and experts present across the range of the personal development field as well as many other business fields.

This includes our four incredible sponsors: Evolve, Liberating Leadership, Ellis Jones Solicitors, and Peer2Peer Boards. All of them are passionate about motivation and will be featured at the event. If you wish to find out more about them, please check out our article introducing them.

4 sponsors

An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!



On the 24th October, we announced the Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch at The Judge’s Court, Brown’s Covent Garden, in London, on the 29th November. We also introduced our two authors Steve Jones and James Sale. This launch promises to be a galvanising event: full of ideas, energy and expertise, opening up the wider discussions of how we solve the problems of engagement, employee morale, and motivation in our modern world.

As we draw closer to this auspicious occasion, we would like to introduce you to our four incredible sponsors for this event, who are champions of engagement and motivation:

4 sponsors

Warren Munson, Founder of Evolve, will be hosting the Q&A session with James and Steve. Evolve is an exclusive membership community of ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders. Their purpose is to bring like-minded, innovative individuals together so that they can realise their personal and business ambitions in an environment of shared learning, exploration and evolution. Through their unique eco-system of inspirational events, insights and coaching and development programmes, they help people discover the knowledge and connections they need to lead a fulfilling and rewarding life – both personally and professionally.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is a leading regional law firm in the South of England, with offices in Bournemouth, Poole, Ringwood, Swanage, Wimborne and London. They are a full service law firm able to advise upon any legal issue for companies and individuals. They have a number of specialist areas, and many of their teams are recognised as leaders in their fields by the industry experts (Chambers & Partners/Legal 500). To find out more about their services please visit ellisjones.co.uk.

We’d also like to welcome back sponsor Ali Stewart, whose work with Liberating Leadership is mentioned in the book. Liberating Leadership, first published as Leading & Developing High Performance, is based on the extensive research and work carried out by leading change management expert, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and HR professional, Dr Derek Biddle. Ali worked alongside Derek for more than 20 years. She is especially delighted to support the launch, since Steve Jones is one of her most experienced Liberating Leadership practitioners. She says: “It is wonderful he has joined forces with James to bring leadership and motivation together. This is a powerful resource for leaders!”

Peer 2 Peer Boards is a challenging, motivational and supportive peer group for enlightening CEOs & business owners, meeting monthly at a venue local to you. They are all about helping you to run your business by providing a feedback group for when you have to make tough decisions and problem-solve issues with your business. They will help you gain: clarity, direction, and inspiration in your business, and they will also hold you to account on any objectives or goals that you want to meet. Each meeting starts with an up-skill workshop, focusing on important topics, such as how to improve company culture, how to transform your proposition, or even how to transform your business model. Meet like-minded business entrepreneurs, move your business forward, and fast track profit growth.


Engagement is such an important topic for anyone serious about their business or staff. As James Sale and Steve Jones outline in chapter four of Mapping Motivation for Engagement:


“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, one still 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?


“Perhaps the reason is that what is being measured is not really the right determinant, and the way in which it is being measured – invariably through a ‘staff survey’ – is also not the optimum way to do the measuring. This latter point – how it is being measured – is relevant here because we are going to address the issue of ‘employee voice’, the third strand, according to Macleod, of employee engagement. It would seem obvious that by having a staff survey – inviting staff to comment on their impressions of the organisation – we are at the very heart of employee engagement: what could be more engaging than listening to the employee’s voice? And we would agree that it is better to have a staff survey – at least one that is well constructed – than not to have one. But our point is, it’s probably not optimum, and there is a much better way to get at whether or not staff are engaged, via Motivational Maps. Naturally, it requires a little more thought, a little more understanding, than simply distributing a staff survey and reading off the results, but the extra care and attention – and the insight it thus generates – is worth it, as we hope to show.


“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. They are what they are and their use and usefulness is universal. That’s quite different from having to create a staff survey and agonise over the wording to ensure it covers all the bases, and is in a language suitable for the espoused values of the organisation. So, a corollary benefit of this point is that Maps are far faster to implement and understand; there is therefore a time saving too.


“Second, and paradoxically, Maps are subtle, and reveal both specifics and trends, despite the fact that the language of the diagnostic tool is actually simple to understand, and is standardised (via sentence stems) in very specific ways that make it easy to grasp. Thus, what is revealed is not obvious. We talk of making the ‘invisible’ visible. But although not obvious, the information can be readily understood and can be immediately acted upon. It also has a direct bearing on the staff and the teams in a way that no staff survey can – for the Map knows what people really want! And this must always be a matter of serious interest to the effective leader. Indeed, we have found in fact that it is only effective leaders who want to embrace this technology; weak, ineffective leaders are frightened of it, because actually finding out what your employees really want – as opposed to ticking boxes – is really letting the genie out of the bottle! So, this is not a form of management disempowerment either, because what the Maps reveal no-one could reasonably expect a manager to know, though once known, it becomes extremely actionable and practical. Finally, the individual Map tells us what the individual wants; the Motivational Team Map tells us what the team collectively wants, and it also points towards potential conflicts (conflicting energy directions) within the team that might derail it from its remit. The more recent organisational Map takes mapping to another level: it tells us what each team wants, and also what collectively the whole organisation wants. One needs to grasp at this point that when a large number of people are profiled the collective effect of the motivators is more or less now equivalent to measuring the ‘values’ within the organisation. Why is this significant? Because we can now begin to see whether the espoused values – and its translation into mission and vision statements – are really reflected in the aspirations of the staff. If they are not, then a major problem looms ahead, and one which needs immediate attention.


“And further, that immediate attention can itself be addressed through the Maps’ own reward strategies, which is to say, giving employees what they are likely to want.”


Want to read more? You can purchase the book at a significant discount from the Routledge website here. Simply enter the code: SOC19 at checkout to get 20% off!


There will be opportunities for networking at the launch with a bright, vital community. Our last event, launching Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-authored with Bevis Moynan, had over 120 people present, and this year promises to be even bigger! There will be thought-leaders and creators and experts present across the range of the personal development field as well as many other business fields.

An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!

Mapping Motivation for Engagement: Book Launch!


Employee engagement is undeniably a crucial focus point for organisations in the twenty-first century, with motivation comprising the often missing, but vital, component of the developmental mix. A reliable method of keeping employees happy and motivated has long eluded managers and senior executives due to the difficulty of measuring motivation levels. Therefore, profits and turnover, the traditional metrics of business, have always taken precedence while the people at the heart of any business suffer as a consequence. But if staff and people thrive, the business itself will thrive, because success and ‘performance’ is directly correlated to energy levels, which in turn is driven by motivation. Revealing what people truly want and giving it to them is a powerful way to supercharge your organisation. This is the ethos of Motivational Maps and what the Maps diagnostic tool uncovers.

Mapping Motivation for Engagement, a new book by James Sale and Steve Jones, advocates a new paradigm for the twenty-first century: away from hierarchies and command-and-control management styles, towards a bottom-up approach in which the needs and motivators of the employees take centre stage.

But who are James Sale and Steve Jones? In brief:

James Sale is the Creative Director of Motivational Maps Ltd, a training company which he co-founded in 2006, and the creator of the Motivational Maps online diagnostic tool used by over 400 consultants across 14 countries.

Steve Jones is MD of Skills for Business Training Ltd and as a result of over 20 years’ experience in management and business, was invited in 2010 to serve on the Government Task Force Team looking at employee engagement, Engage for Success, which he also co-chaired for a while.


This is the third in a series of books that are all linked to the author James Sale’s Motivational Map diagnostic tool. Each book builds on a different aspect of personal, team and organisational development. This book is a practical guide to the complexities of understanding and dealing with engagement in modern organisational life. Along with clear diagrams, reflective points, activities and a comprehensive index, the book provides free access to the online Motivational Map tool to facilitate a greater understanding of the contents. Drawing on copious amounts of the latest research, as well as models like the Macleod Report for the UK government, this book shows how Mapping Motivation can play a significant and crucial role in making engagement a reality, instead of a dream.

Mapping Motivation for Engagement is a stimulating and thought-provoking read for a wide audience including, but not limited to, trainers and coaches working in management and motivation, experts in human resources, internal learning and development and organisational development as well as change and engagement consultants and specialists.

In order to celebrate the recent publication of this forward-thinking work, we will be hosting a book launch at The Judge’s Court in Brown’s Covent Garden, London, on the 29th November. James and Steve welcome you warmly to this event and will be present to answer your burning questions about their extensive experience, the book, and of course: motivation!


There will be opportunities for networking at the launch with a bright, vital community. Our last event, launching Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-authored with Bevis Moynan, had over 120 people present, and this year promises to be even bigger! There will be thought-leaders and creators and experts present across the range of the personal development field as well as many other business fields. We’d especially like to welcome back sponsor Ali Stewart, whose work with Liberating Leadership is mentioned in the book. Liberating Leadership, first published as Leading & Developing High Performance, is based on the extensive research and work carried out by leading change management expert, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and HR professional, Dr Derek Biddle. Ali worked alongside Derek for more than 20 years.

An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!

Event sponsored by:








Increasingly, organisations are beginning to wise up to the idea that change management is one thing. Let’s improve the structure, the strategy or the system, or all these things in tandem. But unless the people can ‘perform’ all their labour is in vain.


And frankly, 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 day, 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. If we think about it, these three Rs are at the core of a HR department’s role. Recruit the best staff. Make sure we retain those excellent staff members via incentives and an alignment of values and expectations. And reward good performance. Most HR departments focus solely on the first and last of these – recruiting new staff (normally due to such a high staff turnover rate in the company) and dishing out arbitrary bonuses. However, in terms of added value to the company, retention is by far the most important. Retaining good staff has an effect on morale, it negates the extensive costs of paying recruitment agencies and taking on new people (setting them up on the system and all the other paraphernalia which accompanies a new hire), and it allows employees to establish long-term working relationships with each other.


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’. This is a pretty heavy-going statement, but it’s eminently true. Alexander the Great, one of my favourite examples when it comes to leadership, was often outnumbered and exhausted. His army was famous for crossing vast distances, including the Gedrosian desert, only to arrive and immediately engage the enemy without a moment’s rest. Yet, such was his leadership that his army was able (and more importantly willing) to perform at superhuman levels. His confidence infected his men (and women) so that they, too, felt like Achilles reborn.


I am sometimes asked what is the single most important quality in an employee. That’s difficult to answer with total certainty, but I like this story:


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 - Pride - that could shatter anyone’s armour. Very expensive, but a tasty piece of equipment.


Alongside this there was a multi-pronged mace - very menacing - that had a curious magnetic property, drawing things to it and destroying them at the same time. This was Envy - really cool. Very expensive.


All in all, the Devil had some fantastic, high-tech equipment - stuff that could really get in you and mess you up. All 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 Discouragement. Without it, none of the other tools work. When I want to tempt someone I always start with Discouragement. Buy it and you’ll see.’


Ever seen the effects of discouragement on members of staff? It’s far worse than lack of skill. Do we imagine that Alexander the Great discouraged his men when he asked them to cross the desert? You already know the answer. Another example comes to mind when I consider the value of encouragement. There is a scene in the movie Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom, where the Knight Balian must hold the city against the vastly superior and numerous forces of Saladin. There are hardly any true warriors among them, most of the knights having departed or been killed. So, Balian (Bloom) goes into the streets of the city, finding any men or women who wish to fight alongside him. Those who offer their services, he asks to kneel. He knights them, then and there, without any training, and tells them to ‘arise’. One of Balian’s fellow knights is outraged. He upbraids him: ‘Do you really think making them a knight will make them a better fighter?’ Balian turns and answers: ‘Yes.’ The psychological insight of this is profound. In believing they are knights, and having gone through the ritual ceremony of the sword touched to their shoulders, they arise with a complete psychological shift that will 100% make them more loyal, more steadfast, and better warriors.


So I guess as managers we must work on encouragement – in the structure, strategy, and systems and in everything we do. May be then we can sustain that enthusiasm that is oh-so vital.

Maslow and Motivational Maps


Recently, on a Maps training session, my friend asked me about the strange anomaly of the eight levels of the Maslow Hierarchy, according to the version that we refer to, and the way we fit the nine motivators into it. How does that work? he asked. It’s a good question, and important to get to grips with.

To refresh , the eight Maslow levels of need are, from the bottom up: biological and physiological, safety, belonging and love, esteem, cognitive, aesthetic, self-actualisation, and transcendence. These are eight levels of need; and to make things more complex, from the Maps point of view we discount the lowest need. We do this because it is a basic need and not a want. It is not a ‘motivator’ per se, because it lies like a survival instinct at the root of us. Without shelter, food, water, we all enter a state of survivalism in which we lose sight of planning for the future or getting things we want and instead seek the swiftest possible ways to meet our basic needs. There are people who operate at this level of existence: those in extreme poverty, or those in war-torn countries, ghettos, born into crime, prisoners, addicts (who may have food, shelter and water but have created another basic need within themselves which eventually takes over and must be met at all costs). This type of need is so powerful it overrides any other motivator.

Usually, it is not found in business or most organisations; when it is, you have a person who is a game player. The Map may be accurate about their higher motivators, but their survival instinct at level one will render their other wants obsolete or irrelevant – they are in the grip of a more primitive need or emotion. This, bizarrely, creates a complex duplicity, where their survival urge becomes a kind of smokescreen. One would think that a survival instinct would simplify things, and in the case of people genuinely in need it does, of course. But for someone living in the modern world with a job and all their needs met, but yet who is operating at a survival level, the story is very different.

Thus, we now have seven levels in which nine motivators fit! You will know from our diagram that each of the motivators correlates especially with one level of Maslow’s hierarchy. We start, then, with safety needs and this correlates with the Defender motivator. Belonging and love corresponds with the Friend motivator. How we solve the problem is at the esteem need level; for here we suggest that three motivators are involved: the Star motivator, wanting recognition, the Director motivator, wanting control, and the Builder motivator, wanting material possessions. Why should that be?

Two powerful reasons. The first is that if we consider our own wellbeing and our own effectiveness, then self-esteem is invariably considered to be the single important factor. Indeed, Dr Nathaniel Brandon, a foremost authority in this area, said self-esteem is the single most powerful force in our existence: on it everything depends. And he goes on to say: “Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.” Thus, esteem is core to motivation and wide-ranging; therefore, should it surprise us if more than one motivator fell within its orbit?

But the second reason explores terminology. I am of the view that what is meant here by self-esteem is actually the self-concept, which of course incorporates self-esteem, but also more beside. The self-concept has three components: the self-esteem (or how we feel about ourselves), the self-image (or how we see ourselves) and the ideal self (how we want to be in the future).

These three elements or components, then, each have their own motivator as it were. The self-esteem is very much connected to our internal locus of control, and this is related in a sort of inverted way to the Director motivator where we project the control outwards. Similarly, our self-image is about how we see our self and this finds a correlation in the Star motivator where we – projecting outwards – want others to see us in a certain way, to recognise us if you will. Finally, we have the ideal-self that wants to grow, to become, to be successful in the future, and so needs nutrients to do that – in other words, the soil of material possessions that enable this to happen even if one finally becomes a St Francis or a Buddha or a St Thomas Aquinas. I mention these three in particular because they all started from wealthy backgrounds which enabled them finally to eschew material things and transcend; but they started there.

So we see that the fourth level, half way up the hierarchy, is quite pivotal in terms of moving towards self-actualisation and beyond, but also pivotal in motivational terms. The correlation between Motivational Maps and the Maslow model is profound. Understanding both systems can lead to a fuller picture, and deeper insight when interpreting a Maps profile. Both systems recognise that our needs, and motivations, are not fixed points in time. Whilst some might be more dominant than others, circumstance and time change us in significant ways, leading us on a journey – ultimately, I believe, towards the ‘transcendence’ that Maslow spoke of.

Building Unshakeable Optimism To Stop the End of the World



Every culture, at almost every stage of history, has believed that theirs is the last civilisation, that they are living in the end times. We think, often, of the endless re-worked predictions about the date of the world’s end as being a modern and Christian thing, but in actual fact, human beings have always been this way. The Anglo Saxons thought that the world was old, and could not go on much longer. That was some 1100 years ago! The Romans marvelled at the ‘ancients’, who they felt they ‘hardly understood’. This was some 1600 years ago. The ancient Nordic peoples told tales of Ragnarok, the inevitable world-ending event where the Wolf would be freed.


The same is true in Asia, surprisingly. Buddhism teaches a descent from a golden age of the True Law (Shoho) – just as in Africa the Ancient Egyptians taught that originally there was an era called the Zed Teppi, the golden era in which the gods walked amongst us, after which all things declined. The Buddhist narrative culminates in an apocalyptic age called Mappo — the Latter Days of the Law. A ninth-century Japanese cleric wrote that “In the Latter Days of the Law there will be none to keep the Buddha’s commandments. If there should be such, they will be as rare as a tiger in a market place.” A terrifying vision of a world without morality, much similar to the latter days of Revelations where we live our lives in worship to the Beast. Science contradicts itself, at once telling us that it will solve all our problems with new technology, and revealing, within its only laws of Entropy and Thermodynamics (The 2nd Law), that all things will inevitably peter out. Even progress is not forever. 


Why all the morbid thinking, you might ask?


Well, one cannot help but be inspired, if that is the right word, by current events. We are living in an era of great uncertainty, where so many things seem to be going irrevocably wrong. It’s easy, when we’re surrounded by such madness, to lose sight of who we are, to abandon any hope of making a positive difference. But we must not abandon hope. Things get bad, but then they change for the better. We’ve seen it time and time again. Tragic events often lead to periods of prosperity. Empires end, which is usually a good thing for most people.


In order to turn calamity into success, we need a very special force: optimism. Optimism is one of those prerequisites for a successful life. Why? Because fundamentally it is about our belief system: the belief that things will turn out well. To those who believe, as Jesus himself said, all things are possible. And the well known law of attraction also informs us that what we don't want will come our way if we spend most of our time thinking about it.


How, then, can we get more optimism in our life? Belief is not something static – a sort of, we have it, that's it. It grows – like the mustard seed; it needs exercise and constant handling to ensure it reaches its full potential. We need to differentiate in our minds between real belief that is organic, and that static kind of dogmatism that embraces 'propositions of faith' and then proceeds to build a wall around all mental activity. That isn't really faith or belief; it's a kind of deadwood rigidity that derives from the termites of fear that corrode our being. Don't get me wrong: I am not saying that propositions of faith are valueless – we need these things to understand what we do think – but unless they can 'grow' we are shut off from life.


So to return to the central idea of optimism: how do we get more of it in our life? Here is a five step process for generating more optimism in your life:


Step 1 is to question frustrations. Can our frustrations be changed? Are we just accepting situations and problems. A good starting here is to write down exactly what the frustration is. When we see it in print we can begin to become more ‘objective’ about it – we can more literally ‘handle’ it. Is your boss causing frustration – who, when, why? The more specific you are, the more you will be able to see specific avenues that may remove you from the impasse. This will make you feel more in control; this will make you feel more optimistic.


Step 2 is to affirm that I can work this out. Affirmations are incredibly powerful. Feed your subconscious mind a continual diet of positive thoughts. Affirmations need to be: personal (‘I’ am/have/do something), present tense (avoid the future and past as the subconscious mind does not recognise them), and positive (again, do not say ‘not’ as the subconscious mind can’t read it – ‘I do not think of pink elephants’ – damn! Foiled again.)


Step 3 is to recall past achievements and better performances. Many people have problems recalling good events and high achievements. I once coached a young man whose only recollection of success was being able to recall winning a swimming race when he was ten! Clearly, this is wholly debilitating. One secret to overcoming this handicap is to remember that small things are an achievement. For example, your ability to make someone smile is a great achievement – ultimately, 85% of the satisfaction we are ever going to achieve in life will come through relationships. In other words, by serving and helping others we achieve wonderful things. Small things can be highly significant. See Step 5 to help you further with this.


Step 4 is to detect patterns – and having done so to break bad patterns. This is easier said than done – but the first thing is to notice the pattern. Most people don’t get that far, so cannot possibly destroy bad habits or increase their optimism. For example, it’s easy to snack on chocolate bars all day long without realising they are responsible for our weight increase! We have not noticed the insidious pattern. Similarly, it’s easy to spoil a relationship because one habitually says the wrong and thoughtless thing without seeing our action for what it is. KEEP A DIARY - keeping a diary is invaluable for spotting a pattern - log stuff.


Step 5 is to record good events and achievements. Our self-talk tends to be 75% negative, so we need to consciously reverse this. Keeping a diary and looking to log at least 3 achievements a day is wonderful in this regard and helps step 3 as well – go back over your diary and start ‘dwelling’ on high achievement moments. Re-create them in your mind – re-live them – can you ‘feel’ how you felt then? Can you see it? Hear it? Even taste or smell it? For example, that swimming race he (at Step 3) won, can he smell the chlorine on that day as he recreates it in his mind? Can he hear the cheers? See the applause? If you can do this, then you can ‘anchor’ these experiences into your conscious mind and call them up whenever you want. This is important.


Imagine you are going for a job interview. You feel nervous. You have made a deal with yourself. Every time you say the words ‘swim win’ you flash the images of that glorious winning day. You do this just before you go in to the interview. How differently do you think this will make you feel walking into the room? Try it (using your formula to re-create the high achieving moment).


One final comment to make here is on being persistent. People become more enthusiastic and energetic when they can go for goals that are quickly obtained; however, persistence isn’t about the ‘quick’, but the long haul. To develop resolute optimism requires persistent application in the same way that running a marathon requires constant training. So you can start with the affirmation of step 2: I can do it! From there, press on. It’s the only way we can stop the end of the world.



As some of you know, my book Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-written with Bevis Moynan, was published by Routledge earlier this year. This is a complete guide to mapping for coaching and an invaluable resource for coaches worldwide. Currently, Routledge are offering (until July 31st) a 30% discount on the book when you buy it from their site and use the code MMJS230, so now’s the time to get your copy! You can find the link to it on Routledge’s site here. If you want to read reviews on Amazon, then you can click here.

This extract is from Chapter 1: “Coaching Questions”

“Underpinning coaching, and great coaching especially, is the issue of asking useful, relevant and sometimes intuitive questions. In later chapters we consider in more detail other core skills that make up the tool-kit, as it were, of the effective coach. But keep in mind that it is not the function of the coach to provide answers for the client; mentorsi may do that; however, coaches enable the client to find the answers for themselves. In fact, the coach is always acting as a mirror to the client, reflecting back to the client what they have just said because:

a. In the pause between saying what the client says and the coach restating it – reflecting it – back to the client, the client’s own deeper mind, their subconscious mind, has more chance of kicking in and providing a new insight which had not occurred before;

b. And in the re-statement the perceptive coach has a chance to not only re-state what has been said, but also to draw out its true significance. Re-statement is not always exactly the right term for what the coach is doing; paraphrasing would perhaps be more correct. The essence of paraphrase is summarising the essential aspects of what is said;

c. By reflecting back to source the issue, the client is hearing it again, though with a slightly enhanced or nuanced emphasis (where the coach is being effective) and what this does is reinforce the client’s own ownership of the issue. This increased ownership intensifies the desire to solve the problemii - it motivates.

People want to use a coach because they have an ‘issue’ or a ‘problem’; in a perfect world they would not need a coach since they would know what to do. But it mustn’t be thought that coaching is for ‘problem’ people; on the contrary, coaching is possibly the number one technique (alongside its cousin, mentoring) for enhancing just about anybody’s performance. Recent research in business indicates that coaching has dramatic effects on performance outcomesiii and this sort of effect is felt in all areas of coaching. Thus coaching, as has emerged over the last 20 years in the Western world, is a standard process that can help not only the performance of individuals and the productivity of organisations, but also anybody and everybody in facing the ‘issues’ they have in their private and personal lives. These range from improving health and fitness, raising the level of sporting achievements, coping with relationship, emotional and stress issues, and helping break addictive tendencies.”


The distinction between a coach and a mentor or between the two processes is subtle and sometimes blurred, but generally it is thought that the mentor tends to be more directive towards, more experienced and knowledgeable than, more senior than, the client; whereas the coach tends to be more exploratory, more outside the immediate domain of the client, and ‘more’ equal in terms of status.

ii Nigel MacLennan, Coaching and Mentoring, Gower, (1999). MacLennan puts it this way: “If you own a problem – if that problem is inside you, if it has become part of your soul – finding the energy, commitment and persistence to solve it is easy”. For ‘energy’ we might substitute the word ‘motivation’.

iii “Organizations where senior leaders “very frequently” coach had 21% higher business results.” – 2017 from Bersin: http://bit.ly/2sRdMfv; the Ken Blanchard Organisation puts productivity gains from coaching at 57%: http://bit.ly/2tdmP6j


Want to find out more, why not grab the book at a 30% discount. Remember to use the code MMJS230 at checkout. In the next few weeks, I'll be posting more extracts from Mapping Motivation for Coaching, so be sure to stay tuned to get more insights into coaching, mapping and mentoring. Thank you.

The Healing Moment: Towards Wholeness

Photo on 08-10-2016 at 10.51

Just over five years ago, aged 58, I suddenly, after a lifetime of being in pretty good health, mysteriously and suddenly collapsed; I was rushed to hospital where after a week's tests I discovered there was a small, dark 'shadow' in my small intestines. They didn't know what it was, but they did know it shouldn't be there, so they advised an operation. The morning after a five hour and extremely dangerous operation - as it proved to be - I woke to find the surgeon informing me that he had removed two malignant sarcomas (a very rare form of cancer effectively), one the size of a grapefruit, the other the size of an avocado; the latter pressed against an artery and threatened to split it. Which would have meant instant death. So much for ‘small’.

Unfortunately, the operation wasn't successful and two weeks later I had another five-hour operation and by this time some 30% of my small intestines had been removed: that's about 6-7 feet of internal tubing. Then they waited, for my system to kick in and work, which it didn't. So I went on to Nil by Mouth for nearly 5 weeks. For those who don't know Nil by Mouth it means that I couldn't eat or drink anything; all nutrition came, belatedly, via an IV Drip. Personally, I found the hunger easy to deal with, but the thirst - the unending desire to drink water, the dryness of the throat - is a torture almost beyond bearing. And I say belatedly because they took a while to realise that I needed the drip, and so I was wasting away. I read in America that 40% of cancer patients die of malnutrition, and I lost about 4.5 stone in that period, and looked like somebody from Auschwitz or Belsen. Indeed, I looked like somebody who was soon to die.

I should say at this point that my parents were atheists, and I was myself, but I had become a Christian in my mid-twenties, and a Quaker when I was about 50. And by the time I was taken ill had no previous experience of strange or mystical experiences.

Thus it was that during my 3 month stay in the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, lying in the hospital bed, early one evening, practising meditative breathing in order to control the pain, psychological and physical, and resisting - which I did consistently - the urge to activate the morphine drip that I was supplied and that they were eager that I used - I had a healing experience which changed my life.

I was staring at the blank ceiling above my bed. Without warning, effortlessly, I suddenly found that my consciousness was leaving my body and heading up and out into deep space. It was not alarming; I was curious. Ahead of me in the deep black I saw a light. Aware my body was far behind me on Earth, I willed my consciousness to head towards the light. As I approached I saw what looked like a huge, white, translucent index finger wrapping white - what appeared to be - candy floss round in a spiral, shell-like pattern. Intrigued, I willed myself closer. The finger casually flexed itself and just flicked the candy floss which spun off into space; as it did so, equally casually, the finger seemed to trail lightly behind.

Then I realised with total astonishment that this wasn't candy floss but an enormous white star that the finger had created and set off into its orbit in the cosmos. I realised that God - the mere finger of God - was about what it was always about: creation, and a star had been born. And as this sunk into my consciousness I became critically aware of the disparity between myself - helpless in pain, consigned to death on a hospital bed - and the Lord of all Glory, serene above the clouds, in deep space, creating a star. My whole consciousness was swept by an anguish that shook me to the roots of my being, and I cannot claim that I willed it, but almost involuntarily, as if I had been taken over by the Power who enabled me to do the only proper thing: my consciousness cried out in deep despair, 'God help me'. It was the simplest and profoundest of prayers.

And there in deep space as I made the cry, the finger instantly, broke from its casual sauntering, and like a gun turned and aimed itself at me. Before I could think what did it mean, the finger rushed straight at me - faster than light itself - and I simultaneously recoiled backwards and in one consummate movement I was abruptly back in my body as the finger went straight into me: straight into the point where the operation had opened up my intestines. It was like some pulverising shock, and I felt as if my whole body bolted upwards in the bed some six inches or more - though probably only less than an inch -  and then thudded backwards, relapsing as it were, on the bed.

There I was: my whole being suddenly and immediately was immersed, was saturated, in joy, sheer joy. The physical and psychological pain had all vanished, all gone. I felt the presence of God - which even to recall now fills me with awe and fear and trembling, like nothing else - and I wept. Not tears of pain; I wept tears of joy. And I became aware that I could die now; and thoughts of my wife and children came to my mind, and I saw the pain of leaving them, especially their pain in not having me. But selfish as it sounds, it didn't matter - dying was better, to be with God. Because, anyway, this power, just as it had looked after me, would look after them; in His hand, everything was possible. So I wept more, and more, and became aware too of the deepest thing of all: the one word for me that described this God who held me now. The 'purity' of God. I struggle to convey my sense of it. How unworthy I felt in myself, and yet God held me: the disparity between my unworthiness and His purity; my weakness and His strength; between my mortality and His unquenchable life.

 I wept yet I was in perfect peace, and in a perfect place where I never wanted to leave. My body curled up into a foetal position, and like some baby being rocked, slowly, slowly, I drifted into sleep. How long had the experience been? I do not know - maybe 30 mins - but it may have been 2 minutes or 2 hours.

But here's the thing: in all my 3 months in hospital I never got one night's sleep. The maximum was 2 hours before one was awoken by something or other. Yet on this night, for some reason, I slept till the new nurse shift at 6.00 the following morning. A perfect and profound night's sleep of at least 6 if not 7 hours. I woke feeling as if I had had pleasant dreams, which I could not remember, and feeling so refreshed. But more than that I woke knowing one other thing: that I wasn't going to die from this cancer now, that I was going to leave the hospital, and that I was going to re-create my life.

Curiously, too, my youngest son came to visit me from his university sometime after, and he told me. Dad, he said, I had a dream. In the dream I was crying and crying. Suddenly a man - a woman? -  a being of light stood before me and said, 'Why are you crying?'

And I said, 'Because my father is dying'.

And he said, 'Stop crying, your father is not going to die. He has not finished his mission yet'. The being disappeared and my son instantly woke with the scene fresh in his mind.

So I have come to believe that what happened to me - the healing that has allowed me to re-enter life - that has re-claimed me for a mission - is not unique to me or even to do with my being special in some way. No, as I contemplate that finger, and those words, I realise that every single human being is precious to God, and everyone has a mission - that their words and actions count. When we abandon these beliefs we are no better than atheists, and just as hopeless. True healing is from God - the Spirit - the Light - the Christ and I feel blessed to have directly experienced it. For this is the strange reality it has led me to: I am glad that I had the cancer - still have the cancer - I am glad that my pain and suffering enabled me to have the opportunity to experience the mercy, the compassion, and the healing of the Lord. And as a result I feel unafraid of death in a way that would have been impossible before this illness overtook me.

New Product, New Skills, New Consultants Part 1

Late in 2016, after 18 months of testing, we finally released the new Motivational Organisation Map. What is it? What can it do? And why should that concern you? Or, put more accurately, What’s In It for Me? Perhaps before looking at these questions, vital as they are, one might also consider how does this affect the users and licensees of Motivational Maps generally? Indeed, does it affect them?

Yes, it affects them – or some of them – profoundly, but to understand how we need to go back to the beginning. The original Motivational Map is clearly a personal or a one-2-one product; ideal, in other words, for either personal development and growth, or for coaching and managing. Its focus, then, is on enabling the individual to develop themselves, and so in a sense it is about self-coaching – or for a coach to coach a client, or a manager to coach an employee. In short, the Motivational Map, whether you use it for personal growth or use it in a 1-2-1 situation is at root a tool to enable coaching.

But if we scale the Motivational Map up to a Motivational Team Map, then coaching is still possible, but another key skill is also relevant: training. Now the focus can shift from an individual’s motivational profile and what that might mean, to what the combined profiles of the whole team look like, and how the motivators interact with each other, not just internally, but between people. This is a fascinating area. As I have often observed in the past, we frequently find that many team problems that have been ascribed to one simple factor or another, for example, personality clashes, are not that at all. Instead, they are at root competing motivators, rival energies, that drive in opposite directions. As a result of these competing energies, naturally, people do come to dislike their opposition too – but the core of the dislike may not be personality at all. But motivation. So, faced with a Motivational Team Map, a team may well want the expert trainer in to draw out all the threads of team dynamics that the ‘team Map’ can do.

So, what I am saying, but without being dogmatic or insistent upon it, is that coaching is really suited to the individual map, and as we move towards the team map we find training enters the frame. It should come as no surprise, then, if I say that another key skill comes to the fore when we come to the Motivational Organisational Map.

Just as the team map scales up the individual maps, so too now does the organisation map scale up the team map. In its report on the Data Analysis Table, instead of having the individual scores listed, as we do in the team map, we now have the team scores listed. And this scaling up has some incredible effects.

Before, however, talking about these effects, let’s get on the table what the new skill set is which is crucial to the Organisation Map. From coaching to training and finally, at level three, we need to be consultants. Now don’t get me wrong: of this triumvirate of skills – coaching, training, consulting – we can use any set of them at any stage, and I should know because I have done so. But the fact remains that at the organisation map level, consultancy is where the game is; indeed, where the serious bread is, and where the big difference also resides. It is also true to say that whilst most service providers can easily shift between all three modalities (and don’t we all have to nimble to win business?), it is also true to say that we all have a dominant mode, with a strong secondary bow, and the third skill that may well be average. Speaking for myself, by way of mea culpa, I think my dominant strength as a service provider is in training. So I, too, have to up-skill if I want to utilise the Organisational Map fully! But that said, then, why is consultancy so crucial to the organisation map? It is really because of three key ideas. 

Part 2 of this article will cover the 3 key ideas and also reveal 3 'incredible effects' of scaling up the data. IMG_2383

Reviewing 2016 in 12 Easy Steps


Self-awareness, self-examination, are the foundations of the spiritual life, and so unsurprisingly of personal and self-development in all its forms. We instinctively know that the end of the year marks, albeit arbitrarily in some ways, a turning point in which it is highly appropriate to review that chronological unit. I'd like to give you all my top ten experiences or achievements of my year, but then again I found in reviewing what has happened to me and putting it in rank order would be like comparing apples and oranges; all things are good to the healthy mind, but our preferences must necessarily seem somewhat idiosyncratic.

Thus, I am not going to labour on about three things that may obsess some people from 2016: namely, politics and whether or not Brexit or Trump are significant; my very personal good stuff, which is inevitably about my relationship with wife and family; and finally I don't want to go on about bad stuff that happens either. Partly because focusing on the negative drains energy, but more importantly, what is the bad stuff anyway? In 2011 I developed a malignant tumour that nearly killed me. Bad year? Not really; it led directly to the greatest experience of my life, so that I think, from the spiritual perspective everything has meaning, and everything can be good.

Given all these caveats, then, if I review the year it will be best to consider it month by month. A high point of January was an email from Evan Mantyk, the President and founder of The Society of Classical Poets, based in New York, and inviting me to join its Advisory Board. This was a great honour, and important for and to me because I have spent my life advocating real poetry, and form in poetry, and all the time have found myself swimming against the tide. There is so much non-poetry out there masquerading as poetry that it is important to find allies in the quest for the real ‘thing’.

No question here: in early February Linda and I put on a special launch for my new book, Mapping Motivation, published the month before by Gower. We put on a splendid do at the Radisson Blu 5-star hotel in Leicester Square, and to add to the pizzazz Ben Stiller and Jennifer Cruz decided to patrol outside to promote their new film, Zoolander 2. Some of our guests probably trod over their red carpet thinking it was for them!! And what fabulous guests we had, including our great editor, Kristina Abbotts. She, of course, was now a senior editor at Routledge, which had purchased Gower just as my book was being printed.  Clearly, the real reason for Routledge’s acquisition was my book! The place was buzzing; we had booked the Penthouse Suite, which curiously was not on the 5th floor but the 8th, and so we had this marvellous view over London while all the merriment was going on. Food was great; sold lots of books; what was not to like? Before leaving February, though an honorary mention must be made of late February when my good friend Tony Henderson invited me to give a talk on motivation at the Oxford Technology and Media event. This was a tremendous event – wonderful people present, curious, engaged, and challenging. Thanks Tony.

Then March: well, early on we were given a conducted tour of Parliament by my friend, Robert Oulds, who runs the Bruges Group, and were given an insight both into Parliament (from an insider perspective) and into the forthcoming Brexit campaign from someone at the centre. Enough of that, though. The great event of March for us was getting away on holiday to Cannes and in particular to the Lerin Isles, especially St Honorat. What a place of peace and tranquillity – centuries of it. We bought the monk’s honey, only alas to have it confiscated at the airport on the way back. The sweetness, then, we never tasted.

April, too, was jam-packed with incidents, but what stays in my mind happened at the end: meeting up with Frank Chambers in the Crypt of St Martin-in-the-Field in London. I taught Frank Chambers English at Secondary school, and he had been my star “Macbeth” in the school production I had directed. But I hadn’t seen him in 32 years. What an amazing thing to meet him, catch up on 32 years of absence, and reminisce over old times. I gave him a special gift: a digitised recording of the whole play from 32 years ago! Nobody, apart from myself, had seen that recording in 32 years; I had the only copy. I understand Frank’s children were pretty amazed to see their dad in action all that time ago!

Mid-May a wonderful article on Motivational Maps, courtesy of our friend Carole Gaskill, appeared in The Guardian. This was a welcome recognition of the product.  Near the end of the month Linda and I travelled to Taunton and to the classic Castle Hotel where we had a meal and a working session with our two fellow shareholders in the Maps company, James Watson and Rob Breeds. They are such great, upbeat, positive and creative people; it was a tonic spending time with them.

In June my poetry appeared on the Yellow Bus, circulating Bournemouth, as it were forever, with no escape! A prelude, perhaps, to a Dante moment. And I attended my niece’s, Samantha Williams’, wedding in my old Alma Mater, St David’s University College. She actually got married in the university chapel. We stayed a week in the area too and had an amazing time. But also that month I went on a 3-day retreat at Ammerdown, near Bath, to study Dante and his poem, The Divine Comedy. This was totally inspirational and I have been returning to Dante ever since. Indeed, my next collection of poetry will be based on my reading of him.

So after all these highs, it is pleasing to record that in July Linda and I managed something we had failed to do in 2015: we went swimming in the sea in Bournemouth. Heck, we live there. We managed 7 trips for a sea swim and each one was joy. On one visit down we ran into my dear friend, Chrissie Laban, and joined her for an oven-baked pizza. Chrissie, of course, was one of the surgeons who operated on my tumour in 2011. We caught her in time: she was leaving the Royal Bournemouth and about to serve in Southampton General. (Spoiler alert: and she is now in Royal Bath hospital – a wonderful surgeon).

August continues the holiday theme. The end of July saw us reading a 70th birthday poem in honour of my friend, Bob Sutton, in Bedfordshire; what a party that was! On to Durham, discovering Bill’s Restaurant, and finally ending up in Lichfield where we had even more great experiences. Then, curiously, Linda and I had a day out in Swanage. It was a perfect day. We used the chain ferry, the weather was fine, and the beach was packed, but somehow Linda found a wholly secluded spot and from it we went into the sea again. Like being re-born!

In September two very different highlights occur. First, I am a keynote speaker at the Dominion Theatre in London, which is a great opportunity. Second, my laptop blows up and I have had it, I am done with Microsoft, so I buy an iMac. Oh, heavens – what have I missed all these years? Why did I not believe the hype? Yes, they are that much better – no going back, as I type this now on my … iMac!!

And if 2016 hasn’t already been a fabulous year – yes, fabulous, as in a fable – then October steps it up further: I do a day’s training on our new product, The Organisation Motivational Map, to 8 colleagues. My first training in 10 months, since I am effectively retired from doing it, but I felt like an old Yoda going back to train the Obi-Wan- Kenobi masters, and yes, I still had the Force with me! Linda and I go to Avignon, and inadvertently I step into a live drama performance in the nave of Chartreuse Cathedral, and improvise in it. The audience applaud. The actress, after it is done, comes up to me and congratulates me: “You are very confident”, she says and smiles. I don’t want to disabuse her and tell her the truth: ‘No, I am just bl**dy old and don’t phase easy, baby’! My wife, of course, comments truly: ‘I can’t take you anywhere!’

My son Joseph Sale’s book, The Meaning of the Dark, comes out in November. It is a masterpiece in the tradition of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and he is well on his way to becoming a great writer. We meet our friends Ross Thornley and Karen Rayner at the Ancient Technology Centre and listen to a live re-telling of the Gilgamesh epic, one of my great favourites. The story is nearly 2 hours long – there is a real log fire burning on a dark winter night – and the story teller does it without notes and without faltering once.

In December Routledge ask me to review a book for them and address me as “Professor Sale” – the absurdity, but it tickled my funny bone. And then later they agreed a 6 book deal with me to write The Complete Guide to Mapping Motivation. Phew! Awesome. And Christmas was on us – relax, reflect, and rejoice. So much omitted from this story; but so much covered too.

Let’s all focus on what we can do in 2017 – how we can make a difference, how we can be on mission, and how we can get joy from every aspect of our lives, even when we receive what we haven’t planned for! God’s blessing to everyone for 2017 – peace and joy be yours.

The Incredible Transformation of Mark Terrell from Super-Shopper to Super-Coach!

Mark terrell and james at launch 0216

Finally, then, we reach Chapter 9, the last chapter of the book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq - last, excluding the Resources section and Index etc.) and a chapter very different from the rest in that it is the proof of the pudding: it contains two case studies of the Maps in action in actual organisations. One case study is one I did myself with the Ordnance Survey, involving nearly 200 employees in their sales and marketing divisions; the second was undertaken with The John Lewis Partnership by Aspirin Business Solutions who are advanced Motivational Map users and practitioners (we call them Senior Practitioners, but not because of their age!).

The prelude to the case studies goes something like this:


The first comment I would like to make about the case studies and about Mapping Motivation more generally is that this process is always about, and highly geared towards, change management. When we think of change management in an organizational sense, then we have a pretty clear idea of what is entailed in this; but change management also affects teams and individuals. We are all changing all the time; sometimes in small, barely noticeable steps, but other times in huge, perceptible strides. And the point that has been made many times in this book is that energy is underpinning all change; energy, or motivation, is enabling all change to occur. If that is the case, how can ignoring motivation be a sensible strategy for an organization, team or individual to adopt? ." [from Chapter Nine of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]


This point – that motivation is really about change is a fundamental point. It must be about change because energy is constantly moving, constantly shifting, always alternating between the poles of positivity and negativity or yin and yang. So if we want to understand what is going on and what is likely to happen, then studying motivation is critical. Now the book in the case studies deal with whole organisations – or large sections of them – because that is the most spectacular example. But it is equally true of individuals. Indeed, there will be a complementary book out soon precisely about mapping and coaching; and as it happens, just one such example has occurred recently that I’d like to finish this series on.

By pure accident – or synchronicity! – I recently migrated from Windows 10 to an iMac and have decided to go all Apple. The consequence of this, of course, is that I have 20 years’ worth of Microsoft stuff, so some sorting has been in order. Thus I came across a file dated 25/8/04 and it was a Motivational Map that I had manually calculated for an MD called Mark Terrell (http://1stclasscoachingsolutions.com ). Keep in mind, the electronic version of the Map only came in March 2006. So this really was at the coal face where it started. Mark, then, was MD of a retail store which was part of a well-known, national licensing franchise. He was very successful, and I had helped his business achieve Investors in People status and along the way had trialled the Map on him.

This first Map revealed that he was motivated by – in order of importance – creativity, belonging, and money. But his least important motivator was controlling or managing people. Which of course was strange: since he had a large shop with a significant number of people to manage, including part-timers and all the fiddlesome stuff that that required. I pointed out to him that being an MD, then, would be stressful in the long term, since although he had the knowledge and skills to do it (and he was very successful), ultimately managing a shop was never going to satisfy him because he didn’t ‘want’ to manage; he could manage, but he didn’t want to. He wryly acknowledged my point, could see and feel the stress points in himself, but knew too that this was he had to do for now.

Roll forward 11 years to 6/11/15 and we find Mark Terrell doing another Map. This time his top three motivators are, in order: making a difference, expertise, and belonging. Wow – what a change! Only belonging remains in the top three. But – wait for it – managing and controlling is still lowest. In fact, has scores even more negatively than it did in 2005. And what has happened to Mark in that intervening period?

He has successfully sold his business – perhaps that is why money is no longer a key driver for him; and he has re-invented himself as a coach, someone who can really help – make a big difference to – other SME business leaders like himself through his coaching expertise and advanced developmental toolkit. That toolkit – yes, it’s true, also contains Motivational Maps. Twelve years on from being one of the first people ever to do a Motivational Map – in the days when I manually calculated and trialled it – Mark Terrell has become one of the big advocates of its power, is an expert in it, and uses it himself with all his clients.

Change or what? Possible or what? Only the other day in the Times, the famous Lucy Kellaway, one of the Financial Times most brilliant columnist (I love her work), who has been a columnist for 31 years at the FT, and is now 57 years old, announced she was giving it up in order to re-invent herself as a Maths teacher in inner-city London schools. She clearly knows her motivators without having done a Map. But most of us aren’t so lucky. As Mark Terrell found, the Map helped guide him to his change destination in a most remarkable way.

If you are the MD of an SME, why not contact Mark to see if he can help you grow your business or even re-invent yourself if you are feeling that you want a change?

Finally, I hope you have found these blogs on my book, Mapping Motivation, interesting and useful. I have to believe they are relevant because we all need motivation!



A New Model of Leadership

Carole gaskell with james 1216

As we approach Chapter 8 and getting near the end of my book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq ) we find the topics become ever more serious and vital. Motivation has this tendency to become ever more involved in key aspects of human life and work. We have dealt with things like performance, teams and appraisal already, but now we shift up a gear and start considering how motivation impacts leadership and engagement. It should be obvious that with only one chapter devoted to leadership AND engagement that there must be more books in the pipeline – and there are – because these topics are so big one chapter can scarcely cover any ground at all! That said, however, I believe the chapter is absolutely crammed with insights and useful activities that can get anybody started on better leadership and more engagement in the work place. A clue is given early on in the chapter when Eisenhower’s definition of leadership is quoted: “Leadership is the ability to get a man to do what you want him to do, when you want it done, in a way you want it done, because he wants to do it”. The most difficult clause in that sentence is the last one: ‘because he wants to do it’. And that is all about motivation.

So from Chapter 8, we find:

“If we then consider all this together it might successfully be argued that a full 50% of leadership comes down to motivation: the leader being motivated, motivating others, ensuring new recruits are motivated, sustaining motivation, motivating teams and so on. Thus contrary to what we expect, or what we typically experience, motivation is at the core of leadership; there is scarcely a more important area for the leader to master. But as we discussed in Chapter 1, its ambiguity is why it gets less attention and more avoidance than it should. The creation of Motivational Maps with its language and metrics is a step forward in reversing this trend.” ." [from Chapter Eight of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

This paragraph appears after Motivational Maps own model of leadership is unveiled and discussed; it is called the ‘4+1’ model and what it does is identify and analyse the four key skills of leadership plus the one personal quality that underpins their reality. I will say what this ‘4+1’ is in a moment, but the point to emphasise here is the fact that the analysis comes up with the astonishing fact that at least 50% of effective leadership is done to motivation. Indeed, it could be argued that some 60% of leadership is about motivation: motivating individuals, motivating teams, and ultimately motivating the whole organisation to move in a specific direction that correlates with the strategy. I have to emphasise this point because it is so counter-intuitive and so not what we read about in most of the literature. The conventional view is that the primary skill of a leader relates to clarity of vision – and I do not in any way wish undermine the importance of that fact, as the ‘4+1’ model makes clear – or related to the ability to implement systems. But the reality is, doing all things is good yet without motivation the engine – like the absence of fuel in a car – is simply not going to fire, not going to move.

And to add to the complexity of this situation: the book discusses in detail the psychological reasons – mainly to do with the avoidance of ambiguity – why leaders do not address issue. Why, instead, they pour over spreadsheets and forecasts and strategic plans, without actually contemplating getting a handle on the motivation issue. Well, the book outlines a brilliant solution to this, which I cannot cover in a brief blog. But as I promised, what about the ‘4+1” model?

The ‘4+1’ model puts forward the idea that there are four absolutely key skills a leader must master: one, Thinking skills which include vision and strategy; two, Doing skills, time management, recruitment and implementation; three, team building skills, which overtly involve motivational aspects; four, motivating skills, which involve communicating and engagement. In fact, all four skills are given a much deeper breakdown, and whereas the role of motivation in the process is evident in the team building and motivating components, there is also a hidden motivational component hidden in the Doing skill. But the ‘+1” is also key, for without it the other three wither on the vine: it is not a skill but is an ongoing commitment to Personal or Self-development. This is crucial for without it we are constantly, as leaders, trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s learning; we simply have to current.

For more on all this, take a look at the book. If you like this blog, you’ll love the book!

How Mapping Motivation Helps Performance Appraisals


Chapter 7 of my book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq ) is about Performance Appraisal and, though I say it myself, is one of the most fascinating and original chapters in the book. Indeed, I think Motivational Maps provides one of the most ingenious solutions ever to the problems that beset Performance Appraisal in the modern world; problems so serious that the credibility of the whole process is under threat. Many organisations now have abandoned even doing a review of and for their employees. Before quoting an early passage in the chapter I would just like to say, however, why this is so important to me.

First, because how we perform always impacts our self-esteem, our self-concept, and so our overall well-being. If we do not have mechanisms that support that, what then do we have that can produce any goodness in our working lives? Second, the benefits of performance appraisal are not merely confined to the employee: the improvement in performance of any individual can directly lead to increased productivity for the company. And thirdly, and on a more personal note: performance appraisal was where I really started my management consultancy journey long ago in 1990! I was selected as one of a small and unique team of senior leaders to be trained for 3-plus days to be a County-wide trainer for other senior teachers in the educational authority in which I was based; after the training I spent five years going round the county delivering what I had learnt – and adding to it. So when I left teaching in 1995, and switched to the commercial and business sector, it was natural to build upon my appraisal expertise and become a trainer. In short, I believe I developed a deep understanding of the process, its benefits, and certainly its flaws.

We learn from Chapter 7, then, that:

“The purpose of Performance Appraisal is really one thing and one thing only: to improve the employee’s performance; all other purposes dilute this central mission, and are correspondingly responsible for many of the reasons why Performance Appraisal fails to deliver. Gerry Randall describes it this way: "Employee Appraisal can be seen as the formal process for collecting information from and about the staff of an organization for decision-making purposes... one overriding purpose of this decision making emerged, improving people's performance in their existing job." [from Chapter Seven of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

The rest of the chapter goes into a lot of detail as to the how Motivational Maps can provide the solution to the central problem of appraisal: namely, that it has become a tick-boxing exercise. But failure to understand this point about purpose has led so many managers and leaders into a bewildering wilderness of confusion and despair; why doesn’t appraisal ‘work’? Because they are falling victim to what I called in an earlier blog ‘The Stalingrad Principle’. What is the Stalingrad Principle? It is my way of describing what in terms of military principles is sometimes called ‘the principle of focus’. You will recall that in 1941 Hitler’s army reached the gates of Moscow and his army could have taken the city. But before they could do so Hitler issued an order, which his generals disagreed with but had to implement anyway, to divide his forces into three: one to take Moscow, the other to march towards and take Leningrad, and the other to go south and take Stalingrad. The net result of this order was an attack on three major cities over nearly an 18-month siege, but in which Hitler ended up winning none of the battles; and in particular at Stalingrad he suffered a devastating reversal – losing the whole of his 6th Army – which was truly the beginning of the end for him. In other words, dividing our attention, our focus, our forces, our resources in order to achieve too many goals or objectives is a sure way to achieve none of them, even though the objectives themselves may be extremely commendable in terms of our overall, envisioned end-state.

In the book I point out that the one, overriding purpose of appraisal is “to improve performance”; all other uses of the process are abuses of the process and will undermine its core effectiveness. Because of constraints of space I do not go into much detail about these other ‘purposes’ and I would like to now. What are they? And why are they so attractive?

Given that appraisal happens, takes up employee and the manager’s time, and is not directly productive or usually part of anyone’s job description, it’s natural that managers would want to make every second of the interview count, so that as much as possible can be done. Thus the central purpose – improving performance – can easily become answering the question of: evaluation, or how well is he or she doing the job? As a focal point, this is a critical mistake since it engenders fear, the number one thing, according to W.E. Deming, that we need to drive out if we want a highly productive workforce.

But evaluation leads almost imperceptibly into another process that the quest for certainty engenders: the appraisal become an auditing of the employees. Finally, we discover what jobs are being done?! Wow – that really can lead to lots of ticks in boxes! Once we have these boxes ticked, we can go even further and seek validation: we can know the right things are being done. So we have here in evaluation, auditing and validation almost a beautiful transformation of appraisal into an accountancy model.

Then again, we know – because this is in our management job description – that we need to do something about training next year. So the focus shifts to training and what do people need to do the job? Of course this is a good question, but it must never be the focus; alas, too often it can be because in a way it makes the manager seem like a good guy/gal – you are supporting the employee. However, it’s not the hard love of performance. And neither is another soft love option: development, or the ‘we’ are looking forward to plan.  Development is good, but it has to be massively subordinated to performance or else the organization is going to be in deep trouble. And as much as I regret saying it, motivation too must be subordinated and is not the central purpose: yes, by all means constructive and useful feedback is good and motivating, but this must not be an end in itself. It’s a feature, not the benefit: the benefit of performance as focus and purpose.

 Lastly, some are not seduced by soft love. Appraisal for them is all about controlling employees. In other words, I am telling you what to do. It’s the old top-down, command and control methodology that totally violates all we know about effective leadership (excepting in extreme, often military situations) in modern organizations. And allied to this, in terms of overt manipulation, we have the appraisal really determining succession planning, a very specific form of evaluation. Who should be promoted in the next season? A good question but not one appraisal should be answering because when it does it will again create fear and trembling in the majority of one’s employees.

Thus, we have here a lot of focuses that appraisal needs to avoid if it is going to deliver. It needs to avoid emphasis on evaluation, auditing, validating, training, development, motivation, controlling and succession planning; and performance needs to be at the forefront of its concern at all times. How to do that? Well, I would say this, but chapter 7 is a good starting place to find out!


Teams Multiplying Motivation

Akeela plus 2 with maps book 0816

At last – after five fascinating chapters (in my book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq ) on motivation and then performance, we go in chapter six into the one of the crux issues – conundrums even – for all businesses and organisations: the issue of teams. Indeed, managing and leveraging the power of teams is one of the key skills of true leaders, an issue we deal with in more detail in chapter 8. But for now let us consider just one aspect of ‘teams’ that is important. The chapter contrasts the difference between a ‘group’ of people and a team. Groups may have names like ‘finance’ or ‘HR’ but having a shared name does not make one a team. So, as it says in chapter six:

“There are at least four characteristics that are vital to creating effective teams. First, the team has to have a clear remit, or mission. It is effectively what in military terms is called the Principle of the Objective. It asks overtly, what do we exist to do or to achieve? This principle or question enables the focusing of all the energies in the team towards accomplishing the thing that is the most important, namely, the mission.” [from Chapter Six of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

So let’s consider just this one thing, the remit, and how it relates to motivation. First, it is important to understand at a deeper level what a remit, or mission, is. Simon Sinek’s wonderful book, ‘Start with Why’, sheds some great light on this. For Sinek mission most usually means (in Corporates-ville) the WHAT we do. But as he points out, the WHAT can easily become mere manipulation; the great organizations provide a powerful WHY as well. This WHY is compelling when we clearly see our values are aligned with it; for WHY always reveals some aspect of our value system. Of course what Sinek is saying here is vitally important to motivation too, because as he observes it is highly motivational for individuals (and teams) to share the WHY.

Why is this? Because WHY is about values and values are essentially beliefs that we especially hold dear or important. In short, values are critical beliefs. But we know – and chapter 2 of ‘Mapping Motivation’ makes this abundantly clear – that the roots of motivation itself, or about 70% of the roots, derive from our beliefs. So that if mission is value-driven, there is a high probability that the remit itself creates motivation and engagement with the employees! Wow, that is a big plus factor; and it comes down to being clear, and letting everyone know, WHY we are doing what we are doing, and WHAT that big objective is ahead of us that we need – we want – to achieve. You’d think, then, that this was a no-brainer, but we have to keep beating the drum.

There are two further consequences of this sharing the WHY of the remit or mission. The first is that it is cohesive in itself: it, in other words, binds people together, so that a group is more likely to be a team. Why is that? Because trying to achieve a large and worthwhile objective that realizes important values frequently means that people will subordinate their own agendas in order to collaborate. Which means being a team: Together Each Achieves More. They get together so that they get focused on the HOW they will work towards the goal.

Second, and to return to the quotation from chapter 6, values and beliefs unleash energies in us, and the important thing is enabling ‘the focusing of all the energies’. In fact, it’s not just the energies – or the motivations as we call them – that need focusing. When a team is really in play, the energies first and foremost become focused into a laser like intensity, but so do the intentions, skills and knowledge of the members. All these start producing synergistic effects.

The chapter of course goes on to discuss the other three key factors in building a successful team, how groups have arithmetic, whereas teams have geometrical, strength, and to provide a whole raft of practical ideas, including reading Team Motivational Maps, that enable managers and organizations to get a stronger handle on how to build an effective team. Why not try the book for yourself? It’s a small investment with a big payoff.

Retaining High Performers


One of the weirdest things about my book, Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq), is the fact that in a 9 chapter book it is not until we get to Chapter 5, that is half way through the book, that we get to the real meat that businesses and organisations want. What do I mean by this? That the first four chapters are irrelevant? No! On the contrary they need to be studied extremely well because they are the foundation of what is about to come. However, the fact that is most people, businesses and organisations as much as they talk about motivation do not really take it seriously; for it is a feature. What they want is to go straight into the benefits of motivation. Hence the title of Chapter five is ‘Motivation and Performance’. We all want to perform; businesses want to perform; and performance can lead to higher productivity, and so to profit. Still, we need to consider things in their correct order: motivation precedes performance as performance precedes productivity; and only then and afterwards we reach the real fruit that is profit (or, in a non-profit organisation, value) that is the true goal. So we find these words from the chapter:

This point of ongoing inputs is all the more important for two other fundamental reasons. The first is to do with relationships. If we employ people (and the same is true, incidentally of taking on external contractors or consultants), then whether we like it or not we have established a relationship with them. We can either develop that relationship and make it meaningful, or we can become utterly transactional about it. If we choose the latter course we will never get commitment, engagement or the highest levels of productivity; never. But if we choose the former, then we need to consider the obvious fact that arises from our own important relationships – be it husband, wife, partner or friend. For example, I do not tell my wife ‘once’, on the day I marry her, that I love her and think that that is satisfactory and enough, and when she complains twenty years later that I never say I love her, ‘Well, I told you when I married you, nothing has changed’! That would be both fatuous and inept. No, the relationship to be a relationship that is real must be renewed on an almost daily basis. And so it is with our employees and their development: there needs to be mechanisms in place to ensure learning and productivity if only because the rate of change is so high and so real.

But second, if we only consider the generational gaps and what they mean we know we must take action. We are told that there are the Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials, and each has specific characteristics. What are these characteristics? Well, Baby Boomers (my generation) apparently are less adaptable and less collaborative; whereas Generation X are less cost-effective and have less executive presence; and the Millennials are lazy, unproductive and self-obsessed (UXC professional solutions)! These are stereotypes and of course they have strengths too; but if we take the Millennials these strengths are: enthusiastic, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, opportunistic. Hmm – these are the people born 1980-1995 – the up and coming work force of the future. Does it sound like they want to stay anywhere for very long? Not really!

That is why, if organizations want to be productive in the long-term, they need to commit to people development, especially on a relationship basis, but also in terms of knowledge and skills, and – fundamentally if we are going to retain them – on a motivational (which is a subset of that relationship) basis. Hence the need for regular and ongoing Motivational Map audits.

Chapter 5 of the book contains loads of practical examples, questions, ideas to get you, your organization, seriously addressing these issues; and don’t forget that every purchase of the book also includes a free opportunity to do a Motivational Map and see for yourself how your motivators stack up. I recommend you try it!

The Hygiene Factors of Motivation

James and sgt pepper T shirt 1016

We come to chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq). One vital aspect of this chapter is the exploration of what we call ‘Hygiene Factors’ in Motivational Maps’ jargon. 

“Your lowest motivational score can be very revealing. The top three scores are more exciting, but noting our lowest motivator can also give useful clues about improving our motivation and our life. First, ask the question: is my lowest motivator causing me a problem? We sometimes call this a hygiene factor, which means that the motivator does not motivate us, but its absence can lead to de-motivation.”  [from Chapter Four of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

One of the really fascinating aspect of motivation that Mapping Motivation explores is the idea of hygiene factors. It would be very easy to focus on someone's top three motivators - or a team's or whole organisation's - and think one had the job done. But we must constantly be aware that all nine motivators are related in the psyche and so effect each other, whatever their rank order is. Indeed, the least important motivator in terms of its effect on our motivation is - paradoxically - vitally important for our overall welfare. Thus, the phrase 'hygiene factor’ comes from the work of Hertzberg and is used in mapping to refer to - though not exclusively - the lowest motivator in our profile.

What Hertzberg meant by a hygiene factor was some aspect of the work that did not motivate the individual, but its absence might become extremely de-motivating. So, for example, people in an organisation, may not be motivated by tea/coffee or canteen refreshments, but the absence of their availability over time in the work place may seriously begin to demotivate the staff and lead them to take a negative view of management. This idea is taken a stage further in Mapping Motivation and Motivational Maps. Perhaps the synonym for 'hygiene factors' that would best convey what exactly extra we mean is: 'Achilles' Heel'. That the absence of some motivators - in a given context, not in an absolute sense - may prove to be extremely detrimental to the performance (and so work well-being) of an individual (and also read team and organisation).

Some examples here might best illustrate what I mean. Take the Searcher motivator: the desire to make a difference. Making a difference is always for someone or some group. The essence of making difference means having a customer/client focus. Suppose then that one is appointed to a role where customer focus is the very essence of the role, AND suppose that the Searcher motivator is the lowest drive in your profile. Problem? Well, the person may have the skill set, the qualifications, the previous experience to fulfil a customer service role, BUT - deep down - they don't really get a buzz out of it. Hmm! Long term that will definitely prove to be a problem; and it may even be an issue short to medium term, depending on the severity of the scoring.

Or take the Director motivator - the desire to control and manage - and imagine this being lowest in the profile of somebody applying for a management job? Or take Builder - the competitive desire for more money - and this being lowest in someone in a commission-led sales role? Or take the Spirit - the desire for freedom and autonomy - and the applicant applying for a desk job where every 10 minutes of their time has to be accounted for and charged out to a client? I could go through all 9 motivators and position them as number 9, the least important in someone's profile, and then provide a job or role context in which that lack of drive might clearly be seen to have important implications for overall performance.

In this sense, then, it should be clear what I mean by an Achilles Heel; it is a weakness that can quite literally trip you up in the job you are doing, because ultimately you lose the desire, you lose the internal energy - the fire - that makes doing the role satisfying. One of the tragedies of work is that so few individuals understand this; if they did then they'd stop applying for jobs that can never satisfy them.

But Mapping Motivation isn't just about analysing problems; it's about providing solutions, and there are two solutions here that are extremely useful. One is to head off the problem before it arises: in other words, use the Motivational Maps in the recruitment process. Select more people to work in your organisation whose motivators match the roles you have available. Motivational Maps has a wonderful and cost-effective process to help businesses do just that.

The second solution is what we call Reward Strategies. Licensees of Motivational Maps are all trained to provide creative and pointed ideas to compensate for the hygiene factor, and to enable managers to do the same. So, to take one example from above - and perhaps the most common - Director motivator as the lowest for someone in a management position? The key reward strategy here is to get the manager to accept that managing is not what they want to do and as a result to increase their knowledge and skill set in the one area that could compensate for ineffective or negligent management: namely, delegation skills. Even though one does not especially want to manage, if one has effective delegation skills one can become super-competent in this area. So that becomes the positive area to focus on.

For more information on hygiene factors and how they work, do take a look at chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation. As Sam says, That's a real eye-opener for sure!

Lowest Motivators that Can Trip You UP


We come to chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq). One vital aspect of this chapter is the exploration of what we call ‘Hygiene Factors’ in Motivational Maps’ jargon. 

“Your lowest motivational score can be very revealing. The top three scores are more exciting, but noting our lowest motivator can also give useful clues about improving our motivation and our life. First, ask the question: is my lowest motivator causing me a problem? We sometimes call this a hygiene factor, which means that the motivator does not motivate us, but its absence can lead to de-motivation.”  [from Chapter Four of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

One of the really fascinating aspect of motivation that Mapping Motivation explores is the idea of hygiene factors. It would be very easy to focus on someone's top three motivators - or a team's or whole organisation's - and think one had the job done. But we must constantly be aware that all nine motivators are related in the psyche and so effect each other, whatever their rank order is. Indeed, the least important motivator in terms of its effect on our motivation is - paradoxically - vitally important for our overall welfare. Thus, the phrase 'hygiene factor’ comes from the work of Hertzberg and is used in mapping to refer to - though not exclusively - the lowest motivator in our profile.

What Hertzberg meant by a hygiene factor was some aspect of the work that did not motivate the individual, but its absence might become extremely de-motivating. So, for example, people in an organisation, may not be motivated by tea/coffee or canteen refreshments, but the absence of their availability over time in the work place may seriously begin to demotivate the staff and lead them to take a negative view of management. This idea is taken a stage further in Mapping Motivation and Motivational Maps. Perhaps the synonym for 'hygiene factors' that would best convey what exactly extra we mean is: 'Achilles' Heel'. That the absence of some motivators - in a given context, not in an absolute sense - may prove to be extremely detrimental to the performance (and so work well-being) of an individual (and also read team and organisation).

Some examples here might best illustrate what I mean. Take the Searcher motivator: the desire to make a difference. Making a difference is always for someone or some group. The essence of making difference means having a customer/client focus. Suppose then that one is appointed to a role where customer focus is the very essence of the role, AND suppose that the Searcher motivator is the lowest drive in your profile. Problem? Well, the person may have the skill set, the qualifications, the previous experience to fulfil a customer service role, BUT - deep down - they don't really get a buzz out of it. Hmm! Long term that will definitely prove to be a problem; and it may even be an issue short to medium term, depending on the severity of the scoring.

Or take the Director motivator - the desire to control and manage - and imagine this being lowest in the profile of somebody applying for a management job? Or take Builder - the competitive desire for more money - and this being lowest in someone in a commission-led sales role? Or take the Spirit - the desire for freedom and autonomy - and the applicant applying for a desk job where every 10 minutes of their time has to be accounted for and charged out to a client? I could go through all 9 motivators and position them as number 9, the least important in someone's profile, and then provide a job or role context in which that lack of drive might clearly be seen to have important implications for overall performance.

In this sense, then, it should be clear what I mean by an Achilles Heel; it is a weakness that can quite literally trip you up in the job you are doing, because ultimately you lose the desire, you lose the internal energy - the fire - that makes doing the role satisfying. One of the tragedies of work is that so few individuals understand this; if they did then they'd stop applying for jobs that can never satisfy them.

But Mapping Motivation isn't just about analysing problems; it's about providing solutions, and there are two solutions here that are extremely useful. One is to head off the problem before it arises: in other words, use the Motivational Maps in the recruitment process. Select more people to work in your organisation whose motivators match the roles you have available. Motivational Maps has a wonderful and cost-effective process to help businesses do just that.

The second solution is what we call Reward Strategies. Licensees of Motivational Maps are all trained to provide creative and pointed ideas to compensate for the hygiene factor, and to enable managers to do the same. So, to take one example from above - and perhaps the most common - Director motivator as the lowest for someone in a management position? The key reward strategy here is to get the manager to accept that managing is not what they want to do and as a result to increase their knowledge and skill set in the one area that could compensate for ineffective or negligent management: namely, delegation skills. Even though one does not especially want to manage, if one has effective delegation skills one can become super-competent in this area. So that becomes the positive area to focus on.

For more information on hygiene factors and how they work, do take a look at chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation. As Sam says, That's a real eye-opener for sure!

Emotions, Risk, Change, Feel, Think and Know: geddit?


In my third blog based on, Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq) I'd like to look at one fascinating aspect of Chapter 3. The nine-point summary at the end of the chapter says:

"Speed of decision-making, attitude to risk, and desire for change are also aligned with the nine motivators - as are our orientation to people, things and ideas".  [from Chapter Three of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

I need to spell this out in more detail, because it is quite staggering what I am saying; and then having spelt it out I'll add some more detail.

We talk about the Motivational Maps ‘making the invisible visible’, by which we mean that like emotions themselves, our motivators are invisible to us most of the time. In some way we mostly feel them operating in the background and rarely draw our awareness to the foreground where we see them clearly. In that sense our motivators are like a fan operating on a hot day: we are glad of the coolness but pay no attention to – hardly notice even - the persistent humming of the blades. But emotions are not like thoughts; they are much more powerful than that; they literally drive us. But just as thoughts – ideas – can be connected, so emotions are connected (or perhaps more strongly, intertwined), not only with each other, but also with other aspects of our lives that we consider vital.

So, in the first instance, and given the quotation from the book, we realise that when we start mapping motivation, then we are also mapping our attitude to risk, whether that be risk-aversion or risk-friendliness. That’s significant, isn’t it? Hey, the whole financial service industry, for one area alone, has now to note what the clients’ attitude to risk is before one can professionally advise them on relevant investments. They tell you what they ‘think’ their attitude is, and based on their thoughts, the IFA, or whoever, advises them. But as we often say in Maps, what we think is often not what we feel. The Maps actually can tell you with great certainty what the client feels about risk. And that’s not just important for financial services: it’s important for every employer to know about every employee, given the context of certain roles. Would too much risk-friendliness create risks and liabilities for the company? Or, would too much risk-aversion lead to underachievement in certain contexts? Can you see how important this issue is?

And no less important is the issue of change; for just as Motivational Maps measure risk, they also calculate attitudes to change. This is vital in all team and organisational initiatives: it means that where we have large change programmes but we know – because we have done the Maps – that the employees are change-averse, or even strongly change –averse, then more resources must be deployed if we are to stand any chance of getting a result from the change process.

If we add to risk and change, the fact that the Maps also measure speed of decision-making too: wow! Isn’t that something? And if it seems almost too much, consider this: of course it will measure speed of decision-making because there must be a direct correlation between being, say, risk or change averse and making a decision. The risk-averse will be slow to make a decision because they will, first, want to defer it, and secondly, they will want to be more sure, and that requires more evidence.

 Then there is the question of ‘orientation’. Now keep in mind that most people are a blend of motivators, and this can be especially true of the top 3 motivators: we can find a mix of all three types of Relationship, Achievement and Growth motivators. But where we find a strong dominance of one type, then we also find an ‘orientation’. So, for example, it should be no surprise to find that Relationship type motivators (and motivators change over time so there is no stereotyping here) are people-orientated. This means not only is their interest in other people and their relationship to them, but that their communications too will primarily be about ‘people’. This can be positively in seeing the best in people and supporting them, or it can be negative: critical – projecting and blaming. Whereas if we consider the Achievement motivators we find that talking about people is much less important: results and ‘things’ are important. There will be much more emphasis on the material side of life and how things work, technically. Finally, at the top end of the hierarchy the Growth motivators. Here people like talking about not other people, not things, but ideas. Ideas have an exciting and visionary quality for the Growth motivator types and you hear it in their conversation.

Now all of this is an awful lot to get one from one little Motivational Map. But I said there was more, which the chapter explores further! This is learning styles. We are all familiar with the Kolb learning styles, probably the best known example of this kind of analysis; we all have preferred ways of wanting to learn. In Kolb there are 4 types of learners; in Maps there are 3. And these three are often associated with the phrase Think-Feel-Know, or as we call it: Feel-Think-Know. For us it is important that the order follows the three power centres of the body: Feel, the heart, Think, the head, and Know, the gut or Dan Tien (in Chinese medicine). In practical terms if we know someone’s Map we can be sure then that we know the best way to present data to them. So, in brief: if we are dealing with a predominantly Relationship person or team, then we need to ensure that there are plenty of examples, descriptions, stories and anecdotes; if we are dealing with a predominantly Achievement person or team, then we need to ensure that there is plenty of hard data, information, evidence and statistics; and if we are dealing with a predominantly Growth person or team, then we need to ensure that there are plenty of bullet points, simple facts, and summaries.

I am sure you will agree that this is a very rich cocktail of information to find out any one person or team, or indeed a whole organisation. If you want to learn more about it, read chapter 3 of my book – there’s a lot more there. This is all about getting on top of a whole load of ‘ambiguous’ information; or heretofore ambiguous – now the Maps put some numbers around this and draw these concepts into the light. We are entering a new age of understanding people, teams and organisations through Motivational Maps.

Review: The Meaning of the Dark – Novel by Joseph Sale

I have just read The Meaning of the Dark, a sci-fi thriller by Joseph Sale, that perhaps most recalls '2001: A Space Odyssey' in its situational tropes - man alone in space with a human-like computer on a voyage of discovery - but which in other respects is entirely original. In truth the book is really a psychological thriller; an exploration of the mind of man, as much as an exploration of space itself; and in the mind of man, as we know from Gerard Manley Hopkins, the 'mind has mountains; cliffs of fall/ Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed'.

The story, apart from the final chapter, Discovery 71, is told in the first person and this is entirely appropriate for the effects that Sale is trying to achieve: a concentration of one man's will, thoughts, emotions faced not only with the prospect of his own personal death alone in space, but also, as a consequence of his failure, the probable demise of the whole human race - or what remains of it, as Earth has long since been vacated. For this story, then, to work the central character - indeed the only character we encounter in real time until the final chapter - has to be resourceful, interesting, intriguing and maybe even symbolic. Symbolic, perhaps, of every man, so that we can identify and be interested in his fate.

A personal side note here: before 1995 I avariciously read novels, but since then my tastes have strayed to non-fiction and I find it difficult to get excited by fiction (excepting poetry). That said, this novel is a total page-turner: I found myself unable to put the book down; I was completely absorbed in this one, lead character. And without labouring the point, symbolically, the character is called Adam. Sale turns on effortlessly the mythological references without at any point drawing attention to the fact. Not only that I suspect that whilst he is 'loading every vein with ore' in terms of deeper mythology and symbolism, he is simultaneously aligning the story with his own life and psyche, so that the story has - as bizarre as that might seem - a personal resonance. 'Style most shows a man' as Ben Jonson once observed, and it is here in Sale's writing. A small, tell-tale example of what I mean - and so understated - might be the number of the Pilot: Adam is Pilot 93, which only becomes significant if we realise that the author himself was born in 1993!  Every man, finally, boils down to one man, one representative.

But the power of the story does not depend just on the power of Adam's thoughts and feelings and responses to deep space - as fascinating and profound as some of these insights are. No, the drama is built round a triangle. After Adam, there is the spaceship's computer, Penny. We learn that she has been imbued with a personality 'upload'; a fact that Adam finds difficult to accept or believe, except to say that Penny is a fascinating 'character' who is constantly interacting with the hero, Adam. And of course on a symbolic level, Penny is actually Penelope: the mythical wife who draws Odysseus home through all his trials and tribulations. Penny seems to be on Adam's side, but is she? Then, with that drama running, we have the black box from the wreck of an earlier space craft, Columbus (yes, also trying to find that brave new world where humans can live!). The audio-video, or Logs, that can Adam can play from this wreck become almost embodiments of the meaning of all human history, and although what Adam sees and hears has happened long ago, yet their presence becomes entirely 'present' to him on the journey. Will the load of human history ultimately destroy or empower him?

It would be wrong to give away the resolution of this wonderful novel: suffice to say it is gripping until to the very last sentence. And in case it sounds all so high falutin  and symbolic, you do need to know that the descriptive ability of Joseph Sale is truly remarkable. You feel the claustrophobia on the space ship; you can almost smell the vomit; and you see what can be seen in deep space in a remarkable series of descriptions. In short, Sale creates a fully-imagined world, which is why the whole story so believable.  

Thus, I strongly recommend this novel to anyone who wants a gripping read, to anyone who wants to escape the Earth and explore new worlds, and to anyone who wants to find out what happens to the mind when the pressure of space threatens to bend it into dreadful, delusional states. This is a five-star novel and I do believe that Joseph Sale is a major writer in the making. Go https://josephsale.wordpress.com for his website and blogs.

Book Review: Leading for a Change by Paul Canon Harris

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This new book,  Leading for a Change, by Paul Canon Harris is a worthy addition to the ever-growing literature on change and leadership. Indeed, one of its strengths is precisely that it makes so strong a connection between leadership and change; some leadership books seem to regard leadership as merely the possession of certain abstract virtues that exist in a vacuum. Not so Canon Harris: he depicts time and time again just how ubiquitous change is, and how potentially destabilising; and so without effective leadership where would we be? The stakes could not be higher. But before I go any further I ought to tell readers by way of transparency that I know Paul personally via the fact that I admire him as a poet and performer.

But to return to his book, as the subtitle of his book makes clear, this is leadership exercised in a specific situation and capacity: to wit, the Churches and Christian leadership. To his credit Canon Harris is not insular in any way, drawing upon the best research he can find from business and other leadership scenarios, but importantly never being overwhelmed by their authority. There is always in Harris' thinking that wider, deeper, more spiritual source from which to draw. In fact, Harris is a master of evangelism without in any way seeming fundamentalist or simplistic. He does this in the carefully understated way he refers to God, Jesus and the Bible: they never seem like 'laws' in his writing but more as examples from which various messages and interpretations are possible and relevant. A great example, showing his lightness of touch, is when he says: "The perennial questions about what constitutes being 'in the world but not of it' are ones which the leader should return to regularly."  That is so well expressed and at the same time seems to me to possess nuggets of wisdom even an atheist might accept. Another way of saying it (and taking out the God-dimension) might be: that leaders need to be more objective, more outside the current zeitgeist, fads and fashions of the day, so that they can see things as they truly are, and not be be-fogged by too deep an involvement in contemporary trivia. But that subtle quotation from John's gospel gets all that across effortlessly.

Thus, I have to say by way of reviewing this book that I like it a great deal: it is full of fascinating detail and research, it has just enough personal anecdote in it to make it seem non-academic, there is wit and humour, and above all Canon Harris writes extremely well. Some of his lines - as we have seen - are extremely potent and so quotable: "A thousand distractions will intervene but once a priest loses his or her fascination with what God is doing throughout history and throughout the world, all that remains to the priest is the detail of ecclesiastical machinery". That is beautifully put, and also a searing indictment of what can so easily happen.

And it reflects one of the wider themes of the book: namely, the important distinction between managing and leading. As Canon Harris points out: this is not an either-or, we need both, but currently we are sorely in need of more leadership. Approvingly quoting Field Marshall Lord Slim here: "Managers are necessary. Leaders are essential.” Again, although not his words, the quotation has that pithiness and strength that Canon Harris’ own sentences possess. So reading the book is a joy, aesthetically as well semantically.

Another important theme is about the need to be open and admit mistakes, yet at the same time it is essential that leaders love themselves, for if they fail to do this they will never have energy in their batteries for the long haul. Harris explains exactly what this means and how to go about achieving it; and needless to say, loving oneself is not some ego-trip or self-indulgence.

There are many handy and practical checklists in the book that would enable any leader to diagnose how they are doing. Perhaps the final one before the useful appendix is the most fascinating: ‘Hallmarks of Godly change’. Yea! Exactly – if you are not a theist or a Christian (and bear in mind the book is written for them, so don’t complain!) it’s a little off-putting, but consider these Hallmarks: Honesty and openness, avoiding artificial experiments and spurious reasons for change, communication, advocates, using outsiders, prayer. Harris gives some telling advice in each of these categories and with the possible exception of the last one, prayer (which I consider essential whether one believes in God or not) which atheists may demur at, aren’t these all great things for a leader to consider when contemplating a change initiative?

All in all, then, a fabulous book I strongly recommend, full of practical wisdom, insights derived from a life lived fully in the ‘inferno’ of events, and yet also infused with a compassion and love for people, and a longing for his old, ex-employer (the good ol’ Church of England) to thrive and prosper in the future when he acknowledges that the spirit of these times is working against them. Go out and read this book – it’ll do you good! Available from: http://amzn.to/2fFmBlb  

Mapping Motivation and Freedom

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Recently I published a blog based in my Gower/Routledge book, Mapping Motivation (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq) which was published earlier this year. The idea was to take an extract from the first chapter and expand it; the book provides much more detail and analysis, but given that the kind of people who follow me and read my stuff are the kind who like deep expertise, I wanted to add even more to the book content, so that it would drive more people to read the book and talk about its ideas. On that principle then I’d like to repeat that exercise but now to address a paragraph in chapter 2.

“Arvey (Arvey, R. D., Bouchard, T. J., Segal, N. L., & Abraham, L. M.. Job satisfaction: Environmental and genetic components. Journal Of Applied Psychology) put job satisfaction (which is effectively motivational satisfaction) down to 70% environmental factors, and so only 30% to genetic influences; these are approximate figures but it would seem reasonable, therefore, to assume that the personality probably accounts for about 30% of an individual’s motivation, and the self-concept and their expectations the remaining 70%. This is a good working assumption to make (and not least because it means we are not determined wholly by our genes – a belief itself that has important ramifications) but it needs also to be borne in mind that for some people these numbers will look wildly different. For example, the kind of person who has never engaged in any personal development or serious introspection, who has hardly been exposed to positive life experiences and success, is likely to be far more motivated by the raw components of their personality than by their developing self-concept and their advancing expectations. In such a situation the attitudes as well as the motivations of the individual are likely to be ‘locked’, or fixed, and they will experience change as threatening and difficult.” [from Chapter Two of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

This is in my view a fascinating paragraph simply in terms of the concepts that it addresses, or even touches on and fails to address further. The ‘good working assumption’, for example, has, as the content in brackets suggests, ‘important ramifications’. That is a profound understatement; it would have gone way beyond the scope of the book to explore this issue in detail, but I am of the opinion that the well-being of the world hinges on this ‘working assumption’, and that this assumption is always under threat one way or another. Indeed, it is a critical philosophical issue.

What, then, am I saying? The book, Mapping Motivation, makes the case that motivation derives from three primary sources in the human psyche: one, personality; two, the self-concept; and three, our expectations. It outlines briefly what these three sources are, and notes that whereas personality is a ‘given’ – something determined at birth, in the genetic code as it were – the other two areas are primarily forms of belief, which are malleable. Human beings can change their beliefs; this is not always easy but it is possible. Further, citing the similarity of Arvey’s research to the motivational situation, the proportion of the ‘fixed’ to the ‘fluid’ aspect of motivation is probably about 30:70. And what this means is that people are not determined by their personality – or even their genes for that matter. That there is a sort of built-in indeterminacy; that people can choose their futures. For here is the important point: if people are ‘determined’, then the net result is to become ‘pre-determined’. In other words, ‘we can’t help it – it’s just the way I am’; and ultimately this leads to a weakening of personal self-responsibility and accountability.

Why is this important? Because we note in history that the rise of such a philosophy (in politics and religion) always leads to extremism, oppression, and the destruction of democracy as oligarchs and fascists scramble for control. Two examples of this will suffice: the rise of Calvinism in the Sixteenth Century and its notion of the Elect. God had predestined some to salvation and others to hell, and there was nothing one – you – could do it about it. The doom and gloom and devastating oppression of having a belief system like this still haunts us to the present day where there are residual cult groups still practising it. Incidentally, of course, believing you are one of the Elect inevitably leads to a personal sense of superiority, and the ‘club’ effect: are you one of us or not?

In the political field one is spoilt for choice. But a great one would be communism in the whole of the Twentieth Century. A core communist belief is that history is some sort of inevitable ‘progress’ to some workers’ utopia: determinism completely underwrites the whole project and of course can be attractive to the weak-minded since it would appear – if oe believes it – that one must be on the winning side, since the destruction of capitalism is inevitable.

Another word for this, then, is fatalism. It’s like believing in the kind of astrology that says it’s all in the stars and nothing you can do can prevent or affect the final result. It can start off with something small – like thinking that as you are a Scorpio only a Piscean partner will do – and before you know where you are you have embraced fatalism lock, stock and barrel. And the problem is the more we become fatalistic, the more we devalue life and its opportunities; the more we box ourselves into our limited beliefs; the more we become less in fact.

Thus, and if for no another reason, the chapter on the origins of motivation is important because it is flying the flag for human freedom, which is always under assault.  Don’t you just hate it when – given that as business people we all like marketing – some marketer thinks that using their formulaic presentation you are bound to buy the product. At those moments don’t you just want to be free? It was William James, the great American psychologist, who said: “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will”. This is the paradox: we are free but our own beliefs can subtract our own freedom from us. So what we believe is of vital importance and we must be constantly vigilant to ensure that we are.

Motivational Maps – and by implication my book, Mapping Motivation – are then on the side of freedom; and the fact that we insist motivation changes over time means that we do not fall into the stereotyping trap of so many psychometrics. The trap in which you hear people justifying their bad behavior on the basis that it is ‘who they are’, their personality,  which is fixed. It’s a great thought to think that in its own small way our product is fighting for freedom in this world!

Motif and Motivation

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Gower/Routledge recently published my book, Mapping Motivation (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq) earlier this year. It has sold extremely well and doubtless will continue to do so; for there is a hunger to know more about motivation: what it really is, how it works and how we can optimise motivation in our work, for our teams, and in our whole organisations.

Here is a key quotation from one chapter of the book and what I’d like to do in this blog is explore this in a little more detail; clearly there is plenty more in the chapter about it, but as always there is yet more to be said than can be said completely in any chapter or any book! From Chapter one then:

“But if motivation is like electricity, it can flow both ways, its power and intensity can wax and wane, and although its effects are felt, it is itself, as we said, invisible. So the best parallel of all – and the one most frequently used in motivational literature - is with energy; the flow of energy within us. And this fits with the word’s etymology – from the Anglo-Norman term, ‘motif’, which is often translated as ‘drive’. So, drive and energy are two powerful synonyms for motivation. But we need to remember that energy is energy, or put another way, as Hilgard and Marquis put it: “The motivation of behaviour comes about through the existence of conditions (drive-establishing operations) which release energy originating in the organism’s metabolic processes. This energy, in and of itself, is directionless and may serve any of a variety of motivational objectives.” [from Chapter One of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

The first extra point to make is etymological. I have already commented on the origins of the word ‘motif’ as meaning drive, but of course there is a subsidiary meaning to the word motif, which is less apparent: a motif also means ‘a distinctive constituent feature of an artistic composition’. We hear it in music – like a pattern of notes that keep recurring, sometimes in the background, and sometimes to the fore, but always there. In fact, these patterns, these motifs, eventually become thematic. The best way of grasping this is to use a contemporary example: great TV serials – for example – Game of Thrones – always have these motifs in their opening credits, and often as some exciting event occurs in the drama, the motif reappears. In some way – Pavlovian almost – the association of the notes with the meaning or theme of the drama starts becoming automatic; we hear the notes, and we – like the Pavlovian dogs hearing the bell ring – salivate with the anticipation of the ‘meat’ we are about to devour.

In this way, then, the nine motivations can be understood as motifs – patterns – within us that play out our destiny. Just as with our favourite TV programme, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, 24, or whatever – the playing of the music sets up the expectation, so the motivators set up expectations within us. And when the music is played – when the motif is realised – boom! We are so happy, so fulfilled, so complete.

It should be obvious, then, how powerful this is: because the motifs lead to patterns of behaviour as we seek to gain more fulfilment. As the process is emotional, so it is pleasurable; and thus it is what we want, and so will override what we need to do every time! The only caveat to that observation is where the self-esteem of the subject is so low that they no longer experience ‘hope’, and so in a state of despair can only address ‘needs’ issues. Clearly, hope is closely allied with the word we used earlier: expectations. For expectations are our beliefs in future outcomes, just as desire is our wish for certain, specific future outcomes. Both are lodged in our heart – that is, are emotional – and centre on the future. The motifs – as they recur – excite our expectations for a fulfilled future.

We have, then, in the human psyche all nine motivators playing their notes like instruments in an orchestra; but the motivational profile of each individual is based on the cluster of notes which become dominant and start informing themes and patterns and behaviours. They are more powerful than just individual notes; perhaps they are like chords. Listen, that person wants to make a difference and to combine that with deep learning; but that other, her motifs are for independence and security. As our symphonies progress, the notes change, and so do the motifs. It is a very dynamic model.

I hope you have enjoyed this little detour and expansion of my ideas on Mapping Motivation, the book. If you haven’t read it, please do and review it on Amazon for me. And if you would like me to do further and deeper work about the book on my Linkedin Blog page, then please say so and I will get some more ideas out to you shortly. Stay motivated – and work with your motifs!!

Connecting creativity and leadership

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In my last blog, which derived from my recent talk at the Dominion Theatre, we observed three ways in which people were not things, and we discussed why that was important. We concluded that being authentic was important and that one consequence of authenticity was that it enabled one to be creative; creativity and authenticity in fact go hand in hand. The more creative we are, the more authentic we become; and the more authentic we are in ourselves, the deeper the roots of creativity grow within us. And I said this was important for two very big reasons concerning leadership.

The first reason comes down to a favourite quotation that I often use from Peter Drucker: namely, that only two things make money for a business and everything else is a cost! The two things are marketing – no surprise there – and innovation. Yes, innovation, which of course derives from creativity, is the key element that enables us to maintain a real competitive advantage. Innovation enables us to develop value by either making products, processes, systems, services faster or cheaper or better than they were before; or beyond mere innovation and incrementally improving things we can go straight to pure creativity whereby we generate something – product, service, process, system – that is entirely new; that is ground-breaking in its field. That kind of change is game-changing and we know recently that it is the kind of creativity that we associate with a company like Apple whose technology entirely transformed the music industry.

But if this is important – critical indeed – then to say that the second reason may be even more important than the first sounds a little overblown! However, it probably is even more important! Dr Alan Watkins in his important book, Coherence, said: “Many executives are very skilled in operational thinking, but creating difference, setting the business apart – that is a completely separate ability”. Effectively, it is applying creativity not just to the operational stuff but to the strategic direction itself. When leaders become strategic they have to be creative, and only then can they start addressing the issue of organisational longevity.

Research from the German Savings Bank Association found four key factors in organisational longevity. First, that there is a dedication to customer service. We have of course the old-fashioned sort of customer service that still continues to astound: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen continues to supply replacement parts for a 100-year old printing machine! And then there is the new sort, a sort of customer service that has to be re-invented from the bottom up, from seriously imagining and empathising with the customer. A true case indeed of new and more innovation.

Second, focusing on long-term value rather than quarterly results. But to focus on long-term value is again an act of creativity, for value itself is a creation. Third, caring for employees so that trust and sharing are possible and actively encouraged. And finally, fourth, setting ambitious goals and enabling collaboration. These are the things that true leadership will aspire and inspire to do. Of course, it’s not easy, but then achievement never is, for if it was then it wouldn’t be an achievement: it would happenstance or a silver spoon in the mouth, or magic, or something else that effortlessly produced results without any of the focus, hard work and perseverance that is necessary to make reality become something else – something imagined first and then realised.

Finally, then, as I sail away from the Dominion Theatre, I must remind you all that we had two sponsors at the event – two leaders – two imagineers: say it then for Garry Mumford of www.insightassociates.co.uk and Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk : thanks guys, you are creative, innovative and may you be around for a long time!

How Understanding People are not Things helps promote effective Leadership

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In my last blog, which derived from my talk at the Dominion Theatre last week, I discussed the most difficult thing to deal with in business, the most difficult thing being people. I suggested that three problems typically beset managers about this and that in the next blog I would tackle what the differences between things and people actually are. Of course, put like that, it sounds obvious, but is it? Hardly, for what we need to do is press for a deeper level of understanding.

There are three key differences between people and things that help us understand why clarity is so important here. First, ‘things’ are eternal, but people are temporal, or inhabit time. Wow! That’s a really significant point for effective leadership. When I say that things are eternal what I mean is that in their nature they are: they have taken 3000 year old honey out of a pyramid and found it still edible; and the mummies within could remain mummies forever, only the living person inside the wrappings has perished. No environment could or would make a human being immortal, but things – objects – could exist indefinitely. So, with that in mind, the consequences are that being temporal means some humans - and a significant number – (like lost souls) are locked into the past and all the mental baggage that that entails; they rarely move beyond nostalgia and regret. And then there are many people who are living in the present; they have to, as they have to make ends meet, and there is no thought for tomorrow. Indeed many business managers and leaders live almost entirely in the present, despite having been on personal development courses or been involved in strategic review. But for them, really, it’s all about getting the job done now – exercising control, making money, demonstrating expertise. So, we come to the few, the rarer sort, the leaders: they must be somebody with a long-term and future perspective. This is their defining characteristic; and that sense of the future is visionary. In other words, the leader has created the future, believes in the future before it has arrived; put even more strongly, the leader has faith. Somebody once said: How can you lead somebody through a desert if you have never been there yourself? But everybody as a leader is faced with never having done it before: Odysseus when he set sail from the ruins of Troy, or Ernest Shackleton when he arrived at the Antartic, or Nelson Mandela when he stepped out of prison in South Africa, or Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta, had never been in those deserts before; yet they led others to freedom, empowerment and life. Things stay in an eternal present, but people can project into the future, and it is where the leader needs to be in their mind and imagination; and we might call that visioning. Apparently, Roy Disney was invited to the opening of Disney Land in Florida and a Disney executive said to him that it was a shame that his father had not lived to see this event. To which Roy replied that ‘he had seen it and because he had seen it we were seeing it now’. That perfectly encapsulates what being temporal, what being a leader, what a future perspective is all about.

A second key difference is that things are solid: there they are, what you see is what you get, and a consequence is we can define them, these things, relatively easily. But people are not solid; people are - and we are not looking for words like liquid or gaseous or flatulent here! - people are, in contradistinction to solid, ambiguous. And ambiguity has all sorts of implications. It means Risk, it means Change and it means Uncertainty. These qualities are ones leaders should love, but we have special reasons in the UK at the moment to know that most senior leaders inside (and outside too!) the country actually hate risk, detest change and can’t abide uncertainty, don’t we? But here’s the thing for leadership. Faced with risk, our most important response has to be courage; faced with change our response needs to include resourcefulness; and faced with uncertainty we need endurance and positive expectations (that faith and long term perspective again). If we think about Odysseus, Shackleton, Mandela, and Mother Teresa, surely, that is exactly what we find?

The third key difference between a thing and a person is identity, or individuality, or what might be called tautologically, personality. Things just don’t have personality or individuality, although sometimes we like to attribute these qualities to them. I myself go to bed with a fluffy baby duck and I talk to it, but I know it’s a thing! But individuality has consequences too for leadership. The first consequence is authenticity. Things are always authentic, even when they are ersatz products, because they are what they are, although marketeers - people - can try to fool us with the packaging, as when, for example, we learn that a soft drink is the ‘real thing’! People, however, have to strive to be authentic; it scarcely ever happens accidentally or through a genetic gift of birth. Like acting, the most authentic people are those who have trained the hardest. What? Those who have committed to the discipline, the learning, prove to be most authentic. One aspect of this which is particularly dear to me is summed up in one sentence from one of my great heroes, Dr Johnson: ‘Clear your mind of cant’ - in other words, engage in the discipline of challenging the clichés, the jargon, the stereotypes that people, like sheep (that is, in-authentically), bleat and repeat as if they were thinking, when what they are doing is simply re-arranging their prejudices (to quote William James). To be authentic has another awesome quality about it that grows the nearer we approach true authenticity: namely, creativity. Just as people are individuals, and no two people are the same, so as we go deeper into our own true self, so the capacity to create develops, and this is really important to true leadership for two reasons.

Two reasons? Yes, let’s look at them in my next blog. Co-incidentally, we had two sponsors at the Dominion – two leaders – two visionaries for the future: say it then for Garry Mumford of www.insightassociates.co.uk and Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk : thanks guys, you are temporal, ambiguous and individual and we all love you for it!

How in Management People Become Things


Speaking at the Dominion Theatre last week I talked about the most difficult thing to deal with in business. The most difficult thing is of course people. Indeed I added by way of a sidebar that people were also the most difficult thing to deal with in life (whilst also acknowledging that they are paradoxically our greatest source of potential pleasure); and that if we extended the phrase from 'most difficult thing in life' to 'most difficult thing ...' then the answer was still people, although in this case it was quite specific, since the most difficult thing of all to deal with is 'me', a person! We all know as we grow up that we are always self-sabotaging, revealing addictive and co-dependent behaviours and attitudes, and experiencing a smorgasbord of the emotional cocktails called guilt, fear and anger to mention only three. Dealing with that 'thing' is the most arduous aspect of our passage through life.

But to return to my talk, the main problem leaders have is the thing that we call people. And as a result of this three less obvious problems arise. The first is that leaders secretly wish that people were things. Why? Because if they were business and organisational life would be a lot easier. In fact the word that springs to mind is that business would be so much more manageable! It is relatively easy managing 'things', but people? Yes, they have to be led, a far more complex and ambiguous operation.

This secret wish - that people were things – however, leads directly into a second problem for the leader: subconsciously if we keep wishing for something, then, like rubbing the genie's lamp, lo! It magically appears. In the mind of the leader the person, the people, become things; by reverse alchemy they are transmuted into things. The gold that was a person, now becomes the lead that is more useful. After all, lead is practical: we can make gutters and piping with lead and put it up everywhere; gold, on the other hand, is valuable and we need to think very carefully about how we deploy and use it, and we certainly must ensure that no gold is wasted, for it is precious. See how the reverse alchemy effects a whole attitudinal change?

And if you thought that was bad enough, the third problem then emerges from the second: namely, having mentally and emotionally transmuted people to things in their own dark recesses - keeping in mind that the process is subconscious, so they are not even aware they have done it - they then 'thing-ise' people at work. Technically, the word for it might be they reify them. What was a person is only now a thing and so the imagination imagines they can now be managed. Easy? Yes, except for the kickback that happens when you do it; the inevitable and irreversible kickback that is so detrimental to business when they lose the commitment and engagement of their people. But what exactly happens in 'thing-ising' people?

Instead of respect, we find we have systems; in place of autonomy we have processes; procedures replace empowerment; and policies stand for engagement. Instead of reality, there are substitutions - doubtless well meaning - at all levels for what we really want as humans, as people.

I then went on at the Dominion Theatre to explore what the difference was between things and people - fascinating. So my next blog will cover that. But talking of people and before I leave this one, who could not mention our great sponsors at the Dominion who made the day so possible? A cheer then for Garry Mumford of
www.insightassociates.co.uk and Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk : thanks guys, you were great and truly people, not things!!

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #9


At last: we have arrived at the 9th and the final reason to attend the Leadership Showcase at the Dominion Theatre on the 8th September (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/); and also check out: https://youtu.be/dHl02RgiNug. It’s been a long haul, and in case you have not been following this epic let me remind you of the 8 reasons we have covered so far. Come to the Dominion Theatre next week because you want to be near and around people who are energetic, charismatic and insightful and this is going to help you at work and at play! Come because the people attending and presenting are great people to network with – want some new, great contacts? Then be there and join us: meet our sponsor Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk for one! I love Gary – he’s been my friend for 20 years. Thirdly, come along because the overt topic, leadership, is one that will certainly benefit you at all levels. Fourthly, given what we have already said, given that an accountant is another of our sponsors, Garry Mumford (www.insightassociates.co.uk ), then any rational cost-benefit analysis will show that you are approximately over £14,000 up on the event!!! Bargain, or what? Garry thinks so. And fifth, the centre point between 1 and 9, you need to come because this is going to be great fun – we love fun at Motivational Maps – come, see. Sixth, returning to the themes of the Showcase, and remembering that accountants like Garry Mumford always follow the money, this Showcase will be exploring business development – how we get more business! Yum-yum. Then at 7, and magisterially, if none of these reasons yet appeal to you, perhaps it is because you are not motivated; you know, that just happens to be my and Steve Jones (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/) and Kate Turner (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/)’s expertise. We have so much to share on motivation – a whole new world, new language and new metric. Don’t miss that. And at 8, you need to attend out of sheer curiosity: surely, you want to learn about these cutting-edge insights in all these fields? I am sure you do: join Ali Stewart (http://alistewartandco.com/ ), Bird on a Bike (http://birdonabike.co.uk/ ) and Harry Singha (http://www.youthcoachingacademy.com/ ) in a jamboree, an explosion of knowledge and expertise.

Finally, then, what is reason number 9 why you should, you need, you want to attend? Well, it is because you need to hang on in there; you need to be a true leader; and one of the recently identified and critical elements of being a leader means developing resilience. Yes, for resilience – your own and your employees – come along to learn from all of us (I am pretty resilient, having nearly died of cancer five years ago) but especially Bird-on-Bike who is going to share her special expertise in this area: what to think, what to do – and this is something we all need and also need to replenish. It is so easy in life to go on automatic pilot and when you do you soon find your results deteriorate.

One definition of resilience I like is: ‘the strength and flexibility to produce your best results in challenging times’. Isn’t that good? Is anyone not living in challenging times? Is this relevant to you as a person, as a leader? I think so. Just like motivation. My own view of developing resilience is three fold: we need to develop self-awareness and self-esteem, focus on optimism and motivation, and then translate that into performance. And this at three levels: individual, team and organisation! Phew – a lot then? Let’s remember what Anna Harrington said: “Problem solving and emotions have a symbiotic relationship”. Profound, or what? Get more into this whole debate – get there on the 8th – get your ticket now.

I am so looking forward to seeing you all, meeting you all, interacting with you all at the big event. So, have you got a big enough reason to be there? I hope so.

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #8

Slobby cleo 2

We come now to the penultimate reason why you should attend the Leadership Showcase at the Dominion Theatre on the 8th September (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/). The 8th reason for the 8th! If motivation, as our previous reason, weren’t enough, and was too obvious, then this is a subtler reason: curiosity. One of the things that I have discovered in life is the importance of curiosity and the appalling consequences of its absence. Naturally, if you feel you have no curiosity, then I must suggest in the jargon of our time: fake it till you make it! But first, before considering why curiosity is so important to business and organisations, let’s take a moment to understand why its absence is so detrimental.

The absence of curiosity invariably signifies one thing: a know-it-all mentality either manifesting as a smug complacency or in a busy-busy attitude that prides itself on the fact that it has no time to ‘stand and stare’. What this leads to is an absence of openness and – at its deepest level – an inability to learn. So here we are in the C21st, surrounded by my knowledge and more data than has ever existed in the history of the world, and we can’t learn anything from it because we already ‘know-it-all’. Further, we spend a fortune on OD – Organisational Development – or L&D – Learning and Development – departments and staff and find that we have employees but that not a lot really changes in terms of the big picture. We need to be clear here: having people whose fancy title is something to do with learning is no guarantee that it will. In fact I have a great story about exactly that. Some years ago I did Motivational Maps with a large organisation and found that the head of the department had the Expert motivator as her lowest score. When she came for her one-to-one feedback she sensed herself that ‘That’s not good is it?’ I said, ‘No, not really: you may have the skills to be head of L&D but actually you are not really interested in learning, are you? Looking at your profile, you like organising people’s learning, like being in charge, but others will almost certainly perceive you as not walking the talk. When was the last time you booked on a training session for yourself?’ And so it all came out! Of course, the point is more general here: if leaders aren’t curious about new knowledge, new learning, how can they expect their employees to be so?

But what about its presence? Well, its presence is absolutely essential. Why? Because without it, one of the two, and core, ‘things’ that one has to do is much less likely to happen. What is that? Those regular readers of my blogs will know that one of my all-time favourite observations comes from Peter Drucker: only two things make money for a business and everything else is a cost. What two things? Marketing and innovation. And it is this latter requirement, the need to innovate within a business or organisation, that is so crucial for its success. Indeed, even our marketing strategy too can – and maybe ought to - depend on innovation. When we say, for example, that we need to ‘niche’ our offering to the prospect, we are really talking about noticing that if we say that we are a ‘coach’ then that is one thing; we have a million competitors. But if we notice that there are far fewer ‘business coaches’ or ‘relationship coaches’ and our curiosity enables us to review exactly what is going on in these ‘niches’ and craft our offering accordingly, then we find we are far more likely to achieve positive business results.

Indeed, speaking for myself, the whole issue of curiosity led me15 years ago to notice that whilst everyone talked about motivation, yet there was no real language to describe it, no metric to measure it; and furthermore, I noticed too that in all successful businesses, especially deriving from the USA there was a processing and systematising that enabled scalability. That if one could create a language, a whole new area might open up. Curiosity, then, was at the root of my discovery for the business. But it went even deeper than that: I took to reading round the literature and diagnostics such as they were and then noticing – note that word noticing! - curious overlaps between ideas and systems. From this I was able to construct Motivational Maps.

There is a wonderful line from a Thomas Hardy poem called ‘Afterwards’. It’s highly appropriate because Hardy was a Dorset poet first and foremost and I live in Dorset. The line is: “will the neighbours say,/
“He was a man who used to notice such things”? Are we people who notice such things? Will people say that of you, that you notice such things? We need to start if nowhere else then by associating with people who do – who are curious!

Coming, then, to the Dominion Theatre gives you a chance to notice such things, to expand your curiosity, to investigate the new! You will find not only new knowledge from the brilliant speakers we have on offer: Steve Jones (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/), Kate Turner (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/), Ali Stewart (http://alistewartandco.com/), Bird on a Bike (http://birdonabike.co.uk/) and Harry Singha (http://www.youthcoachingacademy.com/) and of course myself. But knowledge is dry; we learn from people. It’s not just the speakers: our sponsors too are dying to meet you – curious to meet you – and they have deep knowledge in their fields: Garry Mumford (www.insightassociates.co.uk ) and Gary Crouch ((www.spectrumoa.co.uk ). So there is so much there to satisfy your curiosity!

My next blog will deal with the final reason #9. Expect it soon!

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #7


I have reached blog 7 in my reasons why you should attend the Leadership Showcase at the Dominion Theatre on the 8th September (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/). Clearly, after 6 blogs already this needs to be a special blog if for no other reason than that it is the number 7. 7 is generally considered to be the most magical and lucky number of all, even outranking 3! Before revealing the topic of blog 7, I must tell you why 7 is such a magical number; it is magical because it is perfect. The perfection derives from the fact that it is the sum of heaven and Earth. Heaven is, numerologically speaking, always represented by the number 3: hence in Greek mythology the gods were ruled by the three brothers, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, and this pattern in various variants runs through many religions, including Christianity with its specialised theory of the Trinity. But if heaven - the godhead - is 3, then Earth is 4. Hence the four corners of the Earth, the four points of the compass, the four cardinal virtues, and so on. Thus total completion - total harmony - is the sum of 3 + 4, which is 7.

And my 7th reason why you should come to the Dominion is motivation; truly a topic that involves heaven and Earth: the gods are motivated and we humans need to be so too. How do I know the gods are motivated? Because they have energy. What is energy? Energy is all but motivation. In Motivational Maps we talk about the three Es. First, there is energy - a basic driving force or fuel. But second, when that energy finds an appropriate vehicle to propel, and goes in the direction it wants to go, then the energy changes into a rarer gas called enthusiasm: another E. Once that is blowing awhile, the organism becomes totally engaged, the third E. You will unsurprised to learn that often when the Greek gods came to Earth they disguised themselves as humans and the only give-away sign that they were really gods was the eyes: their eyes shone with a strange fire or sparkle - a sparkle from which the word enthusiasm is etymologically derived: it comes from the Greek: enthousiasmos (Plato), meaning inspired, or ‘breathed, or possessed by the god, or meaning 'the god in us'. Energy - enthusiasm - are really all divine qualities, and we know this anyway since when we experience these qualities we feel truly alive.

Now some of you might be saying: 'This James Sale, he's a bit of a nut job - rabbiting on about gods and Greeks, but I'm a business man or I'm a coach woman and what I want is real tools to help me get my staff engaged or motivate my clients'. Great! Then coming to the Dominion is exactly what you need, for the same nut job James Sale who is deeply interested in gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece is also the entirely practical James Sale who has invented the language and the metrics of motivation, The Motivational Map, by which and through which you can really understand both yourself and your employees in a way that has never been done before. And not only will James Sale - me - be talking about this, and allowing you access to his Map and also to his new e-learning package, but two other leading experts, Steve Jones of Skills for Business (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/), and Kate Turner of Motivational Leadership (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/), will also be presenting information, ideas and case studies on how this works in the real world.

So if you want motivating because you are not yet a god (or goddess), or if you simply want to find out the latest cutting-edge ideas about motivation, then you need to be there, because in the course of a day we are going to cover a lot – and inspire you along the way! Be there.

My next blog will deal with reason #8.

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #6

Steve jones mapping motivation book 0116

We now return our reasons based on the topics themselves for our 6th reason to attend. You will remember leadership I rated such an important issue for us, not only in business but in life, so that for that reason alone the conference (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) was worth attending. But there is also another prominent topic that the day is about. True, this is much less generic than leadership, but if you are in business or even in a not-for-profit organisation it is still vital; I mean business development.

Business development and its associate, selling, is the life blood of any organisation and without it nothing happens. I heard on social media recently some report outlining the number one reason businesses fail: poor cash flow! Almost sounds like a tautology, doesn’t it? But it’s not if I think that poor cash flow results from poor sales, and poor sales inevitably stem from a lack of business development. Without in any way undermining marketing, which should go hand in glove with business development and selling, I can truly say that often times I have encountered situations where organisations have failed because they have marketed and relied solely on that or those marketing channels, and there has been no effective business development or corresponding sales strategy to realise the power inherent in the marketing. At the end of the day – certainly in service businesses – one cannot overestimate the importance of people in the business development and selling spheres. Certainly in the SME arena, I would always err on the side of committing to business development rather than more money in a marketing budget, since I know the results would be far more immediate and tangible (a generalisation, but I hope an acceptable one, as I would accept that longer term the absence of sufficient marketing would make business development increasingly problematic).

If we are going to develop a business we need – in simple terms – to think of three areas where we focus our efforts: where can we find more prospects for the products and services that we currently have? Or, how can we develop further products and services for the clients we already have? Or, how can we create new products and services for entirely new markets? Usually, one might work on one area at a time, since any one area is substantial in itself, and we all wish to avoid the Stalingrad effect: namely, dividing our forces when we reach Moscow and trying to capture Leningrad, Stalingrad and Moscow at the same time and thereby wholly losing the war and capturing none of them.

One noticeable thing about all these three areas is: they require innovation and creativity. It’s not easy to acquire clients when there are so many other people in the market place. One of the experts speaking at the event is my good friend, Steve Jones (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/). I have known Steve for 12 years and been consistently impressed by his business development skills; he is like a kung fu master at selling and business development! He will doubtless provide many insights into business development and selling when he speaks, but I strongly recommend anyone attending to speak and connect with him during the breaks, since one will learn a lot just speaking directly with him; indeed, you can learn a lot watching Steve Jones perform too – which is true of course of all high performers.

For myself I shall also be offering insights into business development based on my 21 years in the game. Here are two points for starters that I shall doubtless be enlarging upon on the day: one, that everything gets tired and weary after a time, including products and especially services; there is a need for constant re-invention because prospects need re-stimulation. And, two, the strongest way forward of all is through IP or intellectual property. We need to take far more seriously the need to innovate and then ask ourselves how we can protect and develop that innovation. As we develop our innovations, so we develop our business and our potential markets. On the one hand, this can seem intimidatingly difficult, but on the other it is actually what you, as a human being, are born to do: to create. If you haven’t done it already, it is either because of a deficiency in your awareness or a limitation in your self-belief system. To find out more join me on the 8th September. If you are not there, how will you grow?

My next blog will deal with reason #7.

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #5


I am now exactly half way through my nine reasons to attend the leadership Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/), and so, as you can imagine, it seems a bit of a slog. Which is why the 5th reason – five, incidentally, signifying the number of grace – must be because it is fun! Fun! Fun! Fun! And fun is so important. Fun arises when we play and it is when we play that creativity emerges, slowly like a tortoise’s head protruding from its shell, or suddenly like a blast of lightning across a darkened sky.

Without fun the event at the Dominion would never have taken place anyway. I am of a certain age whereby I no longer want to put up with over-serious, over self-important people, even if they might be potential clients. Who can be bothered? You know the sort? Here are some general, though not infallible symptoms: always on a mobile phone having loud, meaningful conversations, no matter how inappropriately (eg. in a crowded train, or on a 90 C sunny beach, or parading and strutting round a £100M yacht; or banging on and barraging endlessly about results, the bottom line, winning, oblivious to other people’s situation, circumstances or feelings; or always putting you and everybody else they come into contact with down, and never giving credit to anyone else apart from themselves. How these people make time drag; how they make the heart heavy. They have no humour, no wit, no perspective on anything else and they destroy camaraderie and all good fellow feeling.

So as I say, without fun the event at the Dominion Theatre would never taken place. I am sure my co-conspirators, consciously or otherwise, made the same decision. When we all met up for the first time, we were all thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she is like; are they going to be easy to work with; is this going to be work – or fun?’ And the great thing was: we all found each other fun and so decided to work together and commit to putting on this event at the Dominion. Yes, within seconds of being together Ali Stewart (http://alistewartandco.com/blog/) and I were laughing, having a ball, about this, about that – Bird (http://birdonabike.co.uk/about/) hadn’t arrived, so we had some fun at her expense (in the gentlest possible way: she had come to Hampshire from Kent) – and then Bird added to the mixed of 101 preposterous things to say before breakfast. We were all killing ourselves laughing and then Kate Turner (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/) turned up and paid for all our breakfasts: wow! You can imagine how funny we found that too – and so we’d do it all again. It was a no-brainer to be involved – because it was fun.

Fun is a precursor to all great achievement, especially team achievements. Sometimes they speak of ‘high morale’ and sometimes of ‘esprit de corps’ and sometimes, more prosaically, of ‘team dynamics’. But whatever the language, when you get down to it, there is an indefinable something invariable accompanying all great achievement. We see it now in Team GB: yes, they have achieved, but is it not visible to all that they are also having a huge amount of fun? Fun isn’t a waste of time; it is an essential pre-condition for most great things we want to do. For one thing, when we are having fun we are never in a state of stress; instead, we are relaxed but also ready, energised, as laughter releases all the positive and healing endorphins within us.

This sense of fun has run through the whole organisation of the The Dominion event – heck, even our sponsors took it on the chin, were fun to deal with! Garry Mumford, even though he is an accountant (www.insightassociates.co.uk) didn’t look stern and say, ‘How much???!!!’ as I outlined the cost to him; on the contrary, he chuckled as he joined in the game. And Gary Crouch, our other sponsor ((http://www.spectrumserversafe.com/), didn’t blink when asked to sponsor; on the contrary, he expressed the view that he knew he was going to have some fun as I was involved (thank you Gary)! So, on the day, one thing you can be assured of if you attend this event: there is going to be massive amounts of fun. To qualify this: we are not comedians, we are not working on our joke sketches – no, I mean the kind of fun and wit that arise spontaneously and naturally from the interplay between all creative peoples. And this kind of fun truly enhances learning, deepens creativity, and as a sidebar, ultimately leads to the results we want without directly aiming for them. The difference in this case being, though, we get there with fun along the way instead of having to shout at the top of our voices down a mobile phone in a packed railway carriage. No wot i meen?

My next blog will deal with reason #6.

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #4

Poetry bus june 201624

My third reason for attending the leadership Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) was the topic itself, leadership, which I pitched as being of incomparable importance for all of us. As it happens, there is a second topic which the conference will cover that I consider to be almost equally important, namely business development. So I shall write a blog on this as a reason to attend, but not sequentially now (to avoid the boredom of similarity), for in blog #4 I want to discuss a completely different of reason why one might attend this Conference: cost-benefit analysis!

Sometimes you have to force yourself to do something that is not your natural strength, but it is necessary. I am sure one of our sponsors, Garry Mumford of Insight Associates (www.insightassociates.co.uk), an accountant, lives and breathes cost-benefit analysis; possibly wouldn’t make a decision without it. When you meet him at the Conference, he’ll tell you. I, of course, make decisions without it all the time – it’s called intuition, but it can be scary and, frankly, sometimes it really is better to do a bit of homework.

So here is James Sale doing a very un-James Sale type of thing (except that I do like arguments against myself): giving you a cost-benefit analysis of why you should attend this event.

What are the costs? Well, the first and most obvious is the cost of the ticket. There were early bird discounts, but if you came in latterly it’s £97+VAT for the day conference. But then there are other costs: travelling to London and possibly in some cases staying overnight. That said, most people will be from the London area, so I don’t imagine that the average cost would be more than £30. And then there is the invisible cost: the cost of not doing work and being there. The client work you didn’t do or couldn’t do. How much is that worth? I can’t possibly average that, can I? For some it is significant, for others negligible because of how they structure time. But let’s allow a low consultancy day rate – say, £500+VAT – as our figure, and then we reach a total of £627+VAT for the total cost. Seems high? Seems expensive?

What, then, are the benefits? What do you get? What could possibly compensate for a certain £627+VAT loss?

First, we have the ostensible reason for the event: delegates will hear 6 expert speakers talk about leadership, business, business development, motivation and a host of related topics as they emerge. Is that worth anything? Speaking for myself, it could be worth a fortune! I have been in this game for 21 years and I came from a teaching background. Truly, I knew very little about business, had negative views on leadership based on various headteachers I had known, and my views on what made performance tick were extremely impressionistic. So what did I do? Three things: I studied in the evenings at Bournemouth University for a Diploma in Management Studies, which I acquired with ‘Distinction, I read voraciously, and – and critically – I went on every course going. And it was those courses that really opened my mind to what was possible. Indeed, it was through the courses that I was able to innovate myself and create new things because I understand what some of the ‘old’ things were. Put another way, one good idea can be worth a million pounds or more. There are so many people who encounter or even discover great ideas everyday, but who simply fail to act on them because they have a limited view of what is possible, certainly for them, and so remained trapped in less than optimal circumstances for themselves. But it is going on a course just such as this that introduces new ideas and explodes possibilities in the mind.

So, if you could get three great ideas either for your existing business or work, or for your new business or role, what might that be worth? Shall we say a million pounds because that’s what it’s worth to me? I exaggerate? OK, £100,000? Still too much. Alright - £10,000, but that’s the lowest I would ever concede.

Second, we have the non-ostensible reason for being there; though for some, it is THE reason: the network. I can tell you now that there are some absolutely fabulous people, aside from the speakers, who are going to be there. And I also need to tell you this: everything you want in life, everything, depends upon somebody, somewhere, opening a door for you. Thus two conditions appertain for that door to open: first, that you have met that person somewhere; and second, that they like you. But if you don’t meet them, they will never like you. So be there – so you can be liked, and doors can open. How much is that worth? To meet the right person for your business and for your job, well – could be everything. One of my fellow speakers on the stage I introduced some years back to a friend of mine, they hit it off, and they have been equal partners in business ever since. What is that worth? Literally, hundred of thousands of pounds! But if we consider just a simple introduction leading to consultancy work with a typical SME, then we are probably going to make about £5K.

Third, and I’d better make this finally – we have the goody bag all delegates get. All the speakers (6 of us) and sponsors, Garry Mumford (whom I’ve mentioned) and Gary Crouch of Spectrum Office Automation (http://www.spectrumserversafe.com/) are all contributing to the goody bag to enrich the experience. Now it would be wrong of me to tell you what they have for you, but I can tell you that my company’s contribution to this bag is worth exactly £175! Even if my fellow speakers and sponsors are meanies relative to me (but not to the general population; I just happen to be excessively generous – and modest), we could still say £25 per contribution and that would give, a £200 goody bag!

Let’s tally then:

Costs (ignoring VAT)





Benefits (ignoring VAT)





I rest my case except to point out that the value of the benefits are over 24 times greater than the costs to you the delegate. A no-brainer or what? The risk of actual ‘loss’ therefore is marginal. Come along and have a great fun day. Ooops – fun? How much is that worth? Did I add that? See you there.

My next blog will deal with reason #5.

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #3


For those of you who know your Motivational Maps you will know that if your number one motivator were Expert, then the primary reason for attending the Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) would be the topic of the learning itself: namely, leadership. Of course, Expert is not everybody’s number one motivator, but as it happens, everybody should be interested in the topic of leadership because it is of vital importance to all of us – at all times and at all stages of our life.

We can barely not remember a time, even if we go right back to our experiences in pre-play school, when we became distinctly aware either that we were taking the lead or somebody else – to our chagrin or delight, usually depending on whether we regarded them as friend or foe – was. Indeed, like fish being unaware that they thrive in the medium of water, we lived our lives assuming it was entirely natural from the beginning that our parents or carers led us. And even if later on we discover their leadership – or ‘parenting’ as it might be called – was defective or inadequate the effect on us remains profound and indelible.

This reminds me of the great Bob Dylan song from the late ‘70s, ‘You Gotta Serve Somebody’. The reality is that nobody is self-raised any more than they are self-generated; we are all contingent beings, and to follow is as natural as to lead.

But leadership is particularly important for human beings, and for one reason I want especially to point to here (do come to my talk at the Dominion to discover my take on 3 qualities of leadership you won’t find in most text books or courses on the subject). The reason is this: humans build civilisations for one primary purpose (though there are other reasons too) – to increase security, and thereby to remove doubt and uncertainty. The essence of civilisation is predictability; and the essence of life is that it is not.

So psychologically speaking people crave leadership, they intensely desire follower-ship, because strong leadership removes nagging doubts. The doubt that says in the first place: am I really secure here? And, in the second place, answers the question: why am I doing this? In other words, leadership has to confront head-on the meaning question.

Thus the third reason to attend the Showcase on the 8th September is to come and hear 6 eloquent speakers with long track records in this field provide some serious fuel to the fire of what leadership is, how it works, and how to improve it – at an individual, team and organisational level.

In the days when I was a trainer and a coach – 20 years’ worth of days in fact – I used to say to clients at the end of a session one small thing: if after today you can identify 3 learning points (from the 99 I have covered) and then focus and action those three, you will change your performance, your productivity, and possibly your life. And that is still true. There is so much to learn about leadership but I guarantee that if you attend with an open mind you will gain at least 3 actionable points that can transform your situation. Try it!

My next blog will deal with reason #4.

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #2

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You will remember the first reason to attend the Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) is people. Well, the second reason to attend is – wait for it! - people too. This time, however, in a very different capacity. The first reason was for people as energisers, as models for charisma, and for deep insights. In short, all that we can learn from other people. Now, though, I think the second reason to attend is because of people and the networking opportunities that they represent. Indeed, we all know of people who attend events for no other reasons than to meet the ‘right’ people; forget what the famous guest speaker has to say about vital world events, that is all background noise, for they are all there to meet that special someone.

Since all the speakers are business people, and if we confine ourselves to business (although many of the applications of the day will apply well beyond business – more anon), then the most obvious reason to network is to meet prospects. Of course, one needs to know who is a good prospect for one’s business. But at this event we have some truly diverse people attending; in a blog like this it would be wrong to mention names (with two exceptions: the sponsors!) but I can say from the list to date we have top people from several fields: CEOs and MDs from marketing, coaching, training, consultancy, IT, accountancy and more beside. Indeed, we have the newly appointed – on the day before the conference! – CEO of one of the most significant leadership organisations in the country along with 5 of his staff attending. Wonderful. Effectively, if you are in the services sector you are going to find someone here who will purchase something from you if ...

But let’s be clear: I personally regard turning up for events to ‘sell’ as pretty low-grade. Selling is a by-product of something much more important: in the first instance, a great relationship between two people. We need to know, like and trust someone before we do any deal of any significance. And we need to understand the important thing is adding value to somebody else’s business or life.

This leads, then, to other reasons for networking. What is important is not to attend any event with a closed mind, but to be open to all the opportunities and surprises that people invariably represent. We all can become so closed and narrow in our thinking; if only one thing – one sale – were to happen then all our problems would be solved. But true networking goes way beyond this kind of thinking.

A good example would be now to invoke the names of our two sponsors for the event who are massively relevant to any small to medium sized business owner, especially but not only if they are relatively new. We have Garry Mumford of Insight Associates (www.insightassociates.co.uk): accountants!!! What do we need them for – we’re coaches?! But Garry and his business really take accountancy to a new level; they understand that book-keeping is merely level 1, down in the shallows, and that accounting itself is merely level 2, whereby we report and analyse, but that financial management and control itself is the real deal at level 3 where finance can really support informed business decision making. If we are running a business, then the sooner we get that clear, the better. And one of the great pieces of advice for always is: get great financial, legal and IT advisers set up right from the beginning of your business – don’t wait.

Or take my friend Gary Crouch of Spectrum Office Automation (www.spectrumoa.co.uk). What does he provide? Something the older I get the more I realise is essential for the long term health of my business! As with accountancy, it is easy to stay in the shallows and fail to grow because of a limited strategic view. Well, we now are in a world where data is strategic, massively so. In fact my own company, Motivational Maps Ltd, depends for its entire existence on IP or Intellectual Property, which IP in the 11 years we have been in business has grown geometrically: from one small map, we now have 4 large ones plus an e-learning package and more stuff on the drawing boards. The question is: where is all this information/data backed-up and how secure is it? And by the way, IP is not only diagnostic formulae and algorithms, it also means at a fundamental level even client data. Backing up data is a b***er and all research indicates that most companies don’t do it well if at all. Thus, if you meet Gary at our event, although it may have been the last thing on your mind as something you needed, you will discover how he can certainly, absolutely guarantee to back-up and recover your data, usually within a very short window of time. In other words, he can get your business back on track even after the most appalling catastrophe. In reality, then, IT has become a kind of insurance, with Gary Crouch your insurer!

So networking, then, is important – for prospecting but also for exposure to new ideas and people who can be incredibly useful – indeed, life saving – for your business. That’s my second reason. Are you persuaded yet to sign up yet?

My next blog will deal with reason #3.

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #1

On the 8th September this year I am giving a key note talk at the Dominion Theatre. The Showcase event is called Astounding Leadership Insights – so clearly, modesty was never a quality of the organisers of the event! But that aside, and also the fact of my involvement, this seems to me – in one easy day - a great opportunity for many coaches, consultants and business leaders because the benefits are so enormous. Thus, in true Motivational Maps style, what are the 9 major benefits of attending this event:

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The first reason is always the same: the people. We always need to be around people who have these three qualities in abundance: energy, charisma and insight. And this is because every one of us needs to work on something we do not naturally have by the time we are adults: the well-springs of energy come from the presence of those who have found out how to tap it, access it and share it.

Energy is motivation and this day is choc-a-block with the energised, or should I say, The Energised! Learn about your energy and how to harness it more effectively. All six speakers will be covering this issue directly or indirectly most of the time. Let’s face it: it’s what our life is about. No energy, no quality of life, so we need to get real about it.

But then charisma, which is essentially the same as talking about influence; this can scarcely be taught. In fact the most effective way of becoming charismatic is by modelling oneself on someone who is charismatic. That’s the start, and the challenge is then to incorporate what one learns from modelling into one’s own unique personality and style, so that one is not a clone. You will see at the Dominion Theatre – hint, the name gives something away: theatre, drama, engagement with the stage – plenty of charisma to emulate and model. There’s Ali Stewart, the liberating leader, and Bird-on-a-Bike who will transform you. It’s a commonplace of the literature, but one I have to say that I have encountered all the time in my 30+ years of speaking in public that most people, including business people, have a dread of public speaking and that’s often because they sense that they are not charismatic: would anyone want to listen to them? One reason to be at this event is to see what charisma looks like. I remember back in the late 90s or early Millenium going to see Tony Robbins at Wembley for precisely this reason, and I was not disappointed. What I learnt then – not from what he said but what he did – has stayed with me ever since.

And then there’s the real key of people: insight. In all my 21 years of consulting and coaching I noticed two things beyond all others that my clients wanted from me: to be energised, which we’ve discussed, and for insights. Yes, insights into the nature of reality, insights into how relationships work, insights into organisations and their mechanisms, and insights into business and how to make it thrive. Insights, insights, insights – yes, and not cliches, not jargon, not stereotypes and the commonplace, but insights. The kind of sight that sees ‘in’ to the nature of things and whose view, or in-view, is transformative: the client gets that a-ha moment (sorry, that is a bit of cliché!). But you get the drift of what I am saying. As a result of coaching, consultancy, training or facilitation, you end up seeing more than you did before, and this seeing enables you to envision more. Imagine that: envision more! isn’t that what leaders do?

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Ooops! Leaders – I said it – that’s the word. So, you have my first reason for being on this day with us. My next blog will deal with reason #2.

The Organisational Map and 4 Change Stoppers: # 4 Blame

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Blame is one of the triumvirate of psycho-pathologies that worst afflict human beings. If we consider briefly for a moment the story of Adam and Eve in the garden at the beginning, when they were perfect, we find in the Fall of mankind all three psycho-pathologies there in virulent form. First, they attempt to deny their guilt by hiding: denial. Second, they project their guilt onto the serpent: projection. But third, and most critically of all, Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent: blame. Indeed, blame may be said to be the most endemic, the most pernicious, and the most destructive of all the psychological vices that beset mankind; it is the kingpin of all that is negative within us. Small wonder, then, it wreaks such havoc around us; and it is very difficult to counter.

One crucial aspect of why blame is such a bad thing is that - in the jargon of the personal development movement of the last 50 years - it avoids taking responsibility for what happens to us: somebody else made us do it, somebody else caused it to happen, we are not responsible for what happened because somebody or something else is to blame. It is little understood but every time we blame we are quite literally killing ourselves; there is self-death involved in blaming others, and this is for a very good reason. For when we blame others or some other factor we are denying a part of reality that has been created, and saying we are not part of that. Essentially, we are denying ourselves as co-creators of reality and denying that we accept things as they are; this is why blame is a kind of blasphemy: we are denying our god-like powers to co-create; we are foreshortening ourselves, which is a kind of death, the ultimate foreshortening. In short, we are exiting and isolating ourselves from the Consciousness that drives the universe and of which we are a part. In theological parlance: we are heading for hell; but writing in this secular state now one needs to understand hell not as a place beyond life, but as a state of mind we enter in the here and now.

Organisations, of course, because they are made up of people, blame others too. In the UK at the moment we have the unedifying spectacle of a major High Street brand, British Home Stores, going bankrupt and all the players at senior level blaming each other, and staff at lower levels blaming the senior levels, and media and politicians joining in the fun too. Noticeably we find, when blame starts, there is never any solution to the real problem, just punishment(s) which may or may not be 'just', and a trail of lessons never learnt! And this goes to the heart of what happens within organisations, especially within teams: blame destroys trust, lack of trust produces fear, fear creates paralysis, and paralysis depresses motivation, performance and productivity. And all the while this 'depression' is going on, something else is being elevated: people learn to play games, political games, and particularly the blame game. The whole organisation becomes centred around surviving the game, avoiding blame becomes the central preoccupation of every worker, every manager; while customers, sales, products and services are left floating adrift as blame stays centre stage; at least until death strikes and it's over; by which I mean, of course, from an organisational perspective, bankruptcy.

Thus, it is important to say, as we reach this 4th organisational change stopper, that as far as motivation and the nine motivators are concerned, all are equally culpable and susceptible to blaming. There is no one motivator where we can say that this is the one where blaming occurs. We can see that for the one who wants security, their own may be apparently enhanced if others are to blame; that for the one who wishes to belong, that those who do not are to blame; that for one seeking recognition, then those who withhold it must be culpable; that for the one who wants control, their failure to have enough of it, or somebody else's misuse of it, is to blame; that for one seeking money, their failure to be rewarded sufficiently is to blame; and for one wanting expertise, their teachers, coaches, trainers, mentors were simply not good enough; and then for one seeking innovation and creativity, the bores around them and the dull environment is to blame; and for those seeking freedom it is not their fault they are in a 9 to 5 job, but their merits were overlooked; and finally for those wanting to make a difference, it is obviously others failure to support them that caused the mission to fail. In all cases there is a sad litany of excuses which constitutes blaming others. As a curious sidebar to this exploration of blame, I would like to point out one of the most anomalous things I constantly encounter: atheists who blame God for their condition of non-belief! My point here being that we seem to be so constituted that we need to blame someone even when we don't believe they exist: that's how endemic, that's how deep-rooted, blame is in our psyches. If Father Christmas had only delivered that special present down the chimney in 1999, then I would not be a serial killer today!

Blame, then, is all too familiar and corrosive. By definition, considering all that has gone before, blame is something all effective leaders avoid and never use. Sidney Dekker put it this way: “Blaming people may in fact make them [people/employees] less accountable: they will tell fewer accounts, they may feel less compelled to have their voice heard, to participate in improvement efforts”. Great leaders always take personal responsibility for what has happened 'under their watch'. They also are mindful to root it out in their subordinates through training, coaching, mentoring, and most importantly of all, through example: walking the talk. Blame destroys a creative, risk-taking culture, as people people conform, lay low and play it safe; so this is especially relevant where we are dealing with Relationship type motivator organisations. Here there is already risk-aversion and a procedural mentality, so the addition of blame would destroy irreparably any chance of creative change if it were the cultural norm. So with Relationship motivators the key is a leadership style that impacts the culture, and where blame has no grip.

As I said before, blame reduces the effectiveness of the individual; subordinates harbour grudges even when blame is justified. Thus as we consider the Achievement motivators we need to realise that the focus here may be more managerial than leadership driven: the relentless focus of managers and employees needs to be on what needs to be done to attain organisational objectives, and how this needs to be done despite whatever setbacks seem poised and in the way. In short, it is a problem solving mentality within the culture that regards spending time on attributing blame as just so much a waste of time, bringing us no nearer to the results we want. Notice the difference in the potential approach to the blame problem organisationally from a dominantly Relationship motivator culture to an Achievement driven one: one has to have decisive and strong leadership, whereas the other can benefit from determined and relentless managerial focus. This is not to say of course that either motivator triad could not find the other’s approach effective; clearly, as always with Motivational Maps, context is everything.

For the third triad of motivators, the Growth motivators, and perhaps the Expert motivator might also feature here too, there needs to be a deep commitment to making mistakes because making mistakes is the most effective form of learning. The well-known cartoonist Scott Adams expressed it this way: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep". This can only happen when two things are true: first, that people, especially management, actually believe that proposition, and second when there are systems or controls in place which ensure that no catastrophic damage is done in the process. On this second point, Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Edmondson said it this way: “Small failures are the early warning signs that are vital to avoiding catastrophic failure in future”. Blame is invariably attributed because somebody has 'made a mistake', but what if we live in a culture where making a mistake is the norm, is what we expect, and indeed what we want: that the boat of exploration is truly being launched on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. So, curiously, systems in place with that end in mind is a potential antidote to this blame issue where this triad of motivators is involved. Curious, perhaps, because of course the kind of systems we are talking about here most readily appeal to the Defender or Relationship motivator at the other end of the motivational spectrum. But the same is true of the Relationship motivators requiring truly dynamic leadership (when usually they are managerially handled!), which one might tend to associate with the maverick types at the Growth end of the spectrum. Clearly, then, there is a balancing going on here at the organisational level whereby the yin of low risk motivators needs the counterbalance of the yang of high risk, and vice versa.

The account above is part of an ongoing exploration of how we understand motivation in the organisational setting; it is not definitive, and I am hoping others, as they use the Maps and experiment with the Organisational Motivational Map in real life organisations, will be able to contribute more ideas and data so that we can refine this model and so achieve the result we all want worldwide: namely, organisations which are unblocked, which can effectively change and respond to developments and events, and where, as a result of using Maps, issues such as cultural dependency, busy-busy management, isolation and blame are correctly identified and their effects mitigated if not altogether abolished. Amen to that.

Organisational Change Blocker #3: Isolation

If the first change stopper, dependency culture, is heavily related to Relationship type motivators, and the second change stopper, busy-busy management, is more relevant to Achievement motivators, then it may come as no surprise to Motivational Mappers that the third change stopper, isolation, is deeply connected to the third of the motivational triad, Growth motivators. This, when you think about it, is obvious. The central motivator sandwiched between the inner and outer limits of the Growth trio is the Spirit motivator; in other words, the desire for autonomy, and of course this is hardly a team-orientated motivator; on the contrary, it tends to produce mavericks who by their own desire sometimes want to be isolated to get on with what they wish to do. But further than this, when we consider the Creator motivator, the desire to innovate, and the Searcher motivator, the desire to be on mission, one can easily see what whilst these desires can be met collectively, there is plenty of scope for isolation: often innovation and creativity comes down to an isolated individual’s breakthrough, and oftentimes too we find that our own mission leads us away from others and we become isolated on our own path. Thus from a motivational point of view we need to consider what motivators are dominant motivators throughout the organisation, for although the Growth motivators are themselves pro-risk and pro-change, the fact that the individuals with these motivators may well be fragmented in a number of ways means that the aptitude for change may well be dissipated - the individual fragments of glass, separated and discrete, not forming one, whole unit. What I am saying here is that the very strength of the Growth motivators has the potential to become a hygiene factor, or an Achilles’ heel, to the whole organisation and the remedy for this will have to be in considering motivators that aren’t so motivating for such a group: the Relationship motivators.

There are four types of isolation: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, and each needs a separate comment. Physical isolation is easy to understand as it commonly refers to geographical isolation. Within an organisation this frequently occurs when team members are in different offices, or varying locations, which may even include being in different countries and on different continents. Modern technology seemingly does a lot to obviate this problem, but no video conferencing and webinaring - nothing really - can get over the fact that physical proximity is essential for many aspects of effective functioning, especially effective team functioning. Naturally, although I am treating them individually, it’s clear that physical isolation is a precursor for emotional, intellectual and spiritual isolation and indeed may trigger these too. But in motivational terms the physical proximity provides security, Defender motivator, and more directly, recognition, Star motivator. The need, then, that is triggered by this is to ensure if people are geographically isolated that the communication systems are in place to obviate at least some of its effects, and alongside that sufficient recognition as well. On this latter point: keep in mind, that even when people are physically working close together, it is difficult enough for anyone to feel that they get enough recognition for what they are doing. What then needs to happen when they are far apart? Thus, while it is easy for leaders to ignore implications of simple geographical layout in terms of effective communications, this is something they need to periodically do, alongside considering Reward Strategies for the Defender, Friend and Star.

Emotional isolation is, of course, even worse than physical isolation. As I said before, it can arise from physical isolation, but it can also be present in packed offices too where 10 other employees are no more than 10 feet away from you! Its causes can be many and various, including personality clashes and motivational conflicts; on the wider scale, values and culture are immensely significant. If we don’t feel we fit for any length of time, then this begins to stress us, doubts occur - is it me? - guilt arises, and the individual starts withdrawing inwardly. Clearly, the Friend motivator, the desire to belong is an antidote to this state of affairs within an organisation, except when it is the cause: the individual wants to belong, has a strong Friend motivator, but this is simply the lowest motivator of the whole organisation and this is reflected in the value statements whereby, for example, only lip-service, if any, is paid to the importance of effective teams. If Friend is the lowest motivator of the whole organisation, and strongly so, and the organisation is of sufficient size, then it will be almost certain that emotional isolation is occurring, and therefore training managers on Reward Strategies for the Friend motivator may well be a way forward.

More briefly, intellectual isolation is mission critical for an organisation - or rather impeding its mission! - when we consider what it means: it means that employees are without access to others' ideas, and this lack of ideas further means that progress is difficult and individuals become more resistant to change. The free flow and exchange of ideas is absolutely essential for any organisation that wishes to stay on top if its game and dominate its market through innovations in products, services, processes, systems and the like. The lack of interchange especially hits two motivators: the Expert and the Star. We become experts by learning from each other; if there is intellectual isolation, then this cannot happen. Further, there is a curious symbiosis in the teacher and the taught. In some way the teacher gets recognition (Star) when they teach, and in yet another way nobody has ever fully understood anything until they can teach it. Indeed, many teachers (for which read: coaches, trainers, consultants, counsellors, therapists et al) freely admit that they deliver what they deliver for it is the only way that they could learn what they needed to learn! Bizarrely, then, there is in the exchange of learning a deep and satisfying sense of recognition. We have all the experience of explaining something important to someone only to be told by them, ‘I know that already’, and the crushing sense of non-recognition that that produces. So it is that we counter intellectual isolation - and the change stopper it is - through the Expert motivator and its Reward Strategies.

Finally, spiritual isolation sounds a little recherche, and it is important to stress here that I am not talking about religious beliefs. But all psychologically healthy human beings are spiritual in the sense that they seek meaning: we are meaning machines and we interpret reality and what it means all the time. All of us, one way or another, have a paradigm explanation as to how the universe works and what our place in it is. That includes people who say, ‘Life means nothing and then you die’. That too is a spiritual belief, albeit an extremely bleak one. But my central point here is: within an organisation change stops when people are isolated from the meaning of what the organisation stands for - its core values and mission; or when they sense a misstep between what the organisation preaches and what it does; or when the key leaders don’t walk the talk. Then - spiritual isolation occurs and its effects long-term are devastating. For those familiar with Maps you will clearly see where this is going: the motivator par excellent relevant to this issue is the Searcher, the desire to make a difference, the passion for purpose, the motivator that stands for why? Why are we doing this? And the motivator that most stands for the interests of your clients and customers, and sometimes your number one customer has to be your employees. So here we have to look at the Reward Strategies for the Searcher and build into our organisational work life the big why: and the starting point is reviewing the mission and its relevance, and secondly, asking where does our quality feedback come from and how can we improve it?


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Organisational Change Blocker #2: Busy-Busy Management

I looked last time at the first major change stopper within an organisation - dependency culture - and how this related to Motivational Maps and how Maps can help unravel this problem. The second major change blocker is similar: it’s the Busy-Busy Management style that is so prevalent within organisations, including the organisation of the home, the family. Indeed, Petronius Arbiter commented some two thousand years ago on this phenomenon, or rather one of its classic effects: “We trained hard … But it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up in teams we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation”. If the dependency culture creates self-importance through being needed, the busy-busy management style generates self-importance by the process of forever being in charge, forever changing things, and forever never asking why! The Busy-Busy style is symptomatic of authoritarian types, especially those of a basically insecure type who need to prove themselves and be seen to be doing something. That is why the perennially busy leader or manager is so receptive to new fads and the latest ideas, as their adoption may just show them in a positive and progressive light; unfortunately, because no ‘why’ ever informs their thinking, the fads, even if they are good ones, are never followed through properly, but soon replaced by another one, and so a process goes on in which nothing ever seems accomplished, although every one is always being required to work flat out. As Petronius observed, this creates profound ‘demoralisation’ and, as I would say, demotivation.

From a motivational perspective, and given that this is what Norman Dixon would call a psychopathology, the dominant perversion of motivators is likely to be in the Achievement cluster of motivators (as dependency culture tended to the Relationship cluster), and especially the Director and Builder motivators. To be clear here: all motivators are equal, and we need them all. We need people who want to manage (Director motivator) and who want to make money (Builder motivator), but the psychopathology starts when managing becomes an end in itself, as opposed to being a means to a higher purpose or mission, or when the ‘bottomline’ and their quest to improve it also becomes the be all and end all of existence, and the rationale for every ill-advised and ill-considered irrationality.

In working in this situation, then, what are the best counterweights to check this tendency? First, from the perspective of the busy-busy manager gripped by this managerial obsession, self-awareness has to be the starting point. The two most likely sources of this self-awareness will have to be external, since clearly the busy-busy manager never has time to reflect or self-reflect on what they are doing. Thus, quality feedback from above or from peers is essential, and if this is not possible, then one has to consider reviewing mission: the why are we doing what we do? If this sounds motivationally familiar, then it should: both feedback and mission are aspects of the Searcher motivator. Ultimately, both the feedback and the mission come under the purview of the customer, or client: what do they think? We need to get the busy-busy person to accept that we need quality feedback from the customer, and that that feedback needs to shape our future actions. Of course, where the psychopathology is too strong, the busy-busy manager never will accept the actual feedback, but there is a strong likelihood that they will accept the process. Why? Because it is a new distracting fad, just like the others (indeed, they may well accept 360 degree appraisals for the same reason), but the challenge is - in these cases - to get the findings to stick in terms of action plans.

Secondly, there are at least three key skills that the busy-busy manager needs to be introduced to. I mention the motivators these are most associated with because as we know no-one has one motivator, but a range, and it may be possible to ‘sell’ the busy-busy manager a skill or concept on the back end of its position in his or her profile. So, one skill is delegation; the more effective delegation is diffused through an organisation, the more the downside of busy-busyness is blunted. And the beauty of this idea is of course that the busy-busy manager may well have Director motivator in their top three, so appealing to their upskilling of their management capability is intrinsically attractive to them.

Also, listening is a core skill, some might say the number skill of an effective leader. To accept this they will be far from comfortable, because this is typically a skill associated with the Friend motivator (and Searcher too), the need to belong. This is unlikely - but not impossibly - to be in the top three, and there is often a big incompatibility between the Director and Friend motivator. It does seem unlikely that the busy-busy manager will accept this, but if they do make sure that this is really a full-on and extensive listening skills course, not just a one-day introduction. Ideally, it would have follow-up components weeks or months after the main training. The reason I say this is because it is obvious so many people go on listening skills, and then practice a technique of listening but actually are not listening! This will be especially true of the busy-busy type. In fact, combining listening with meditation techniques - so driving more deeply into their personal development - is really necessary here.

Finally, the third skill is planning, planning as a detailed activity, which is very much related to the Defender motivator. Planning in this sense is the antidote to the latest fads acquisition that the busy-busy leader is drawn to: a long term plan that the organisation is committed to and is not going to deviate much from (unless there is a significant market shift) is stabilising, and creates a ‘cage’ that contains the busy-busy managers’ range of interference. Naturally, it won’t block it completely, as there will doubtless be operational things that can be stop-started-re-aranged and so on. But some big planning markers laid down and adhered to make things more awkward to shift. Keep in mind, the busy-busy type wants to be perceived to be effective, and so any evidence that seems to contradict that reality for them must be avoided at all costs. As a sidebar to that point, of course, it is why the busy-busy manager often moves on within 3 years, as the ineffectiveness of what they are doing finally begins to unravel. In planning here, we can also draw upon their tendency to the Achievement motivator, the Builder, who likes goals. But the goals must be subsumed under a bigger structure of mission, vision and values.

How Dependency Culture Blocks Change in your Organisation

Three years ago I did a blog in which I explained why change was so difficult to effect organisationally, giving four reasons, and citing the great Philip Crosby when he said, "Good ideas and solid concepts have a great deal of difficulty in being understood by those who earn their living by doing it some other way". But the four ideas I briefly covered in that blog, then, gripped my mind and I included them in the new Organisational Motivational Map which is now available for any organisation to use to find out what is really going on at an emotional level within their company. However, the ideas, whilst simple, do require more unpacking and unpicking, and so in that spirit of enquiry I would like now to revisit these ideas and specifically relate them to Motivational Maps.

First, one major block to organisational change is what has been called ‘dependency culture’. We are familiar with this term from psychotherapy and individuals who are dependent and co-dependent; but since organisations are made up of individuals it should not surprise us that they exhibit the same tendencies collectively that individuals do. One aspect of this is that just as individuals in the grip of dependencies do not act in their own self-interest, but in reality harm themselves, so too organisations do the same. So despite the fact that the leadership may bang on about the bottom-line, what they are really doing is making success in the bottom line ever more difficult to achieve - at least in the middle to long-term. Dependency culture is associated with hierarchical management, and is where people depend because they are lacking information, skills, confidence, or power and are deliberately kept that way by management; and if there were one magic bullet or cure for the situation it would be the widespread adoption of the delegation skill. When we think of this issue from a motivational perspective a number of things become clearer.

First, that whereas motivators are in one sense ‘pure’: pure energy that we all have, that drive us to achieve things, yet in dependent or co-dependent people these energies can be mis-directed. Thus, dependency culture is going to be associated most with three relationship motivators, which most wish to resist change and avoid risk: namely, Defender, Friend and Star. In particular here, hierarchical management - often felt to be ‘stable’ (a flipside perhaps to ‘rigid’) is mostly likely to be Defender (security) and Star (recognition) orientated; in this scenario not rocking the boat is crucial as is everyone knowing their place in the scheme of things. And in its outcome of depriving employees of information, skills, confidence, or power, there will also be a concentration of either Expert or Director motivators. To explain that: senior people, who are Expert motivator, will withhold sharing their expertise; and senior people who are Director motivator, will withhold power and responsibility and retain it for themselves. So, these four motivators, rather than the other five - although this is a generalisation not an absolute law - will tend to be present where dependency cultures are revealed, and knowing this provides a way in which Motivational Maps can help breakdown this block.

Here are some ideas from the Maps’ tookit: one, recruitment at senior level is an issue. Stop recruiting more in the same image! Diversity, then? Yes, but not as traditionally understood, although that may be relevant too. But motivational diversity! In particular, if we want the kind of people at senior level who have little time for rigid structures and dependency culture, we need Spirit and Creator motivated people. Two, we need deeper leadership expertise; but the kind of leadership training that is not the old command and control model, or a disguised variant of it, but one that has as central a personal development component, realising that the leader who is not personally developing is not developing leadership. The Maps’ programme has its unique ’4 + 1’ leadership model described in some detail in my book, Mapping Motivation, http://amzn.to/1XoxiqQ, which is ideal for this purpose. Third, and finally, and simply as a more tactical approach in the short-term: focus on delegation skills at a senior level. Even if attitudes are not profoundly changed, then if senior staff at least go through some motions of delegating, there will be improvements. In my next installment I’ll consider what to do with Changer Stoppers 2: the Busy-Busy Management style.

Jigsaw cat 5

Motivation, Performance and Proof

I sometimes get asked what the evidence is for various statements or ideas that Motivational Maps believes or asserts. Usually I reply that the best evidence is the outcome or results we get when we use the Maps; in other words, they work! But that is not enough for some people, a very small number; they press further with a request not for evidence, which clearly working in the real world is, or testimonials are, but ‘proof’, yes, proof, by which they invariably mean academic proof. Somebody somewhere needs to have written a university level ‘paper’ on the topic, or conducted some research, that ‘proves’ that what we maintain as part of our intellectual currency is true, is tenable, is credible. This over-reliance on academics is understandable if somewhat wearisome. 

The best example of this is the case of motivation and performance and the link (ah! But is there, academically speaking?) between them. Motivational Maps asserts as a matter of plain fact that motivation and performance are intimately connected and that one, motivation, is a major contributory factor to the other, performance. Further, we have a formula that links them. But what is the proof of this? At best it may seem academically dubious?

My view is that this is a completely inappropriate and wrong-headed question. Why? Because the link between motivation and performance does not require proof, in fact cannot be proved because it is axiomatic! Now there’s a great word. Axioms are principles or values which have to be assumed before a proof can be made, and this is true of science as well as mathematics. Much of the modern world seems so hypnotized by ‘proofs’ of science and mathematics that they forget that they also depend on axioms or assumptions that themselves cannot be proved.

To take the most famous example (over two thousand years old) might be Euclid; his famous geometric theorems depended upon assumptions (or axioms and postulates) that could not themselves be proved; they were self-evident. So, for example, his first axiom is: “Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another”. This is a very important principle and it clearly shows that not everything can be proved, but something has to be assumed first.

Now in the case of motivation and performance we have a strong reason for thinking axiomatically that they are connected, and the best way of putting this is by expressing it through the terms of how we define them. If, for example, we think of motivation as being ‘energy seeking an outlet of fulfilment’, which whilst not being an elegant definition certainly conveys what I believe to be the gist of motivation, and we consider performance as ‘energy effectively deployed to produce outcome’, then it clearly suggests, as ‘energy’ is innate to both definitions, that they are two forms of the same thing: motivation being the invisible energy whilst becomes the manifest and visible, behavourial, aspect of that same energy. The analogy is not exact, of course, as few analogies are, but what I am saying here is that as one thing partially defines and is implicated in the existence of another, then there can be no ‘proof’ here as the definitions too mean it is axiomatic that they are connected.

This accounts for why so few people have a problem accepting or understanding the theories of motivation and performance that Motivational Maps habitually presents to thousands of people in all kinds of organizations and businesses. Because it is axiomatic, they sense that it is right, and so scarcely ever, at a live event for example, request ‘proof’. And if we take Euclid’s first axiom - “Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another”- and express it symbolically, we find that we also no longer want Euclid or anybody else to prove it. For what does it say? If A=B, and B=C, then also A=C. This is the power of the axiom, and we need to be clear about it when we talk to skeptics who say, ‘Where’s the proof?’ It doesn’t need proof: it’s axiomatic. Motivation, you see, is core to performance.





  Stourhead cave view 0915

Motivation and Emotions

There are many reasons why individuals, teams and organisations should use Motivational Maps; in describing these reasons we most frequently refer to the close link there is between motivation and performance, and alongside that goes productivity and even profitability. Why wouldn’t we say these things, for after all Motivational Maps Ltd is a commercial organization and we need to sell our products, our services and our unique solutions to the wide world of people?

But having said that, sometimes we need to take a closer look at why Motivational Maps is so useful and so powerful. Yes, providing solutions for organisations and businesses is good, but for the real enthusiasts there is something much deeper. And what this something deeper is goes to the root of who we are as people. I have been struck recently by a phenomenon I have spent my life encountering, and yet it is so easy to forget it, and to ignore its consequences. It is this: that people do not make logical decisions, but rather they make emotional ones and they do this all the time. Indeed, they make emotional decisions and then hide the fact by tracing their footsteps backwards in order to provide rational and logical justifications for their actions. There is often psychopathology about it, and frequently there is a madness too.

Of course, at a healthy level we can enjoy the oddness of making emotional decisions and pretending they are logical. A good example would be buying a house or a car. If we take the latter example, why do we want a car? To get us from A to B in a convenient and timely fashion. So we could all buy a Reliant Robin three-wheeler (if they still exist!), but most of us don’t; we could all buy a high quality, second hand car rather than a brand new one off the forecourt where we certainly know that 30% of its value is lost immediately we drive it, but many of us don’t; and we could buy an economical little number that is cheap and easy to run, but an increasing number seem to want gas-guzzling, Four-wheel drives to get 2 people on average four miles down the road! Why? Well, as I say, these examples can be construed as ‘fun’: the triumph of our emotions over logic, and our identification of ourselves with a certain image that has potency for us.

But there is a darker, more sinister side to people and their emotions. Pascal said, “The heart has its reasons that reason does not know about”. In other words, there is an internal logic that each of us is capable of and which is blind to logic or rationality itself; in fact its ultimate origin stems from our dreams, from which come our desires and our emotions. Anybody who has ever had a dream knows that dreams do not obey logic and reason, and a good ‘reason’ for this is that if they did then we could control them or predict them – all the things humans like to do to gain control. But dreams are out of our control, although they can be utilized and influenced through indirect means. And here’s the point, the dreams, the desires, the emotions are much more powerful than the logic, which is why Einstein is reported to have said that “imagination is more important than knowledge” because of course imagination is the shaping power that our emotions are always driving, and which actually constructs our reality. Besides this power, facts and logic - are nothing much; they are almost incidental. As Dr Johnson observed: "The mind of man is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it.” The facts, the logic, the things are never enough.

Thus what I have in mind and have seen a lot of recently is that phenomenon in which people do things entirely against their own real self interests, and under some dire internal compulsion which is clearly invisible to them. To use Spock’s phrase, ‘It’s illogical Captain”, but can they see it? No.

Emotions and desires are invisible by their very nature; it is only our actions which reveal what we really want. So another important word leaks out: ‘want’. I see it this way: people ‘need’ to do things for logical reasons, but they invariably ‘want’ to do something else, something that addresses their internal dreams, desires and emotional hot-spots. The ‘invisible’ necessity triumphs over the visible contingency, the world of facts and logic and reasons (which are all very palpable).

Here, of course, is where Motivational Maps come in. They are not a cure or a solution to the fact that we are emotional beings, or that we make irrational decisions, but what they do do is map the terrain of what we really want. They make visible the invisible desires that are prompting our actions and behaviours. This means that Maps can be used by individuals to help them understand some of the patterns in their behavior by using the map language to detect when this is evident in what they are doing; equally, it can and should be used by coaches in the same way. To know, for example, that somebody has, say, security as their dominant motivator means that we can begin to track this in what they are doing; perhaps pick-up instances where the want for security has actually made them less secure because they have foregone what was a good opportunity; and similarly for all the nine motivators.  IMG_0902

As Motivational Maps becomes more widespread, there will be far more stories surrounding these interventions and their significance, because in doing this kind of work we get to the very heart of helping people truly understand themselves and perhaps – perhaps – get a grip on the compulsions themselves and thereby assist in loosening them.


Why and Motivational Maps

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Motivation and various Job Types!

My friend, Akeela Davies, asked me an interesting question recently. What would be the ideal Motivational Map profile for the following roles – always keeping in mind that motivators are always contextual, which means there will always be exceptions on the ground to any ideal profile we might generate. The roles she had in mind were the:

Disturbance Handler
Resource Allocator

Hmm, a tough bunch of cookies then!

To answer the question we must always ask ourselves: what does that person in the position really want. Why do they desire that position? If we consider the Figurehead, our first role, then clearly the Star must be prominent, for a Figurehead by definition is someone we look to and notice; but alongside this motivator two others perhaps creep in. First, maybe the Defender, the need for security, for Figureheads tend to be non-threatening, a-political and secure sinecures – ideal niches for those who also want recognition. And I think, too, Director, whilst not the most important element, is an aspect of wanting to a Figurehead because whilst not having executive power they tend to have a big influence in an indirect sort of way.

For the Leader, of course, the Director is much more likely to be prominent, if not the dominant motivator. But equally motivators such as the Expert or the Creator or the Spirit or the Star can drive the Leader, and each of these motivators produce a different flavor of leadership: the Expert produces the ‘geek’ leadership where knowledge is king (possibly the Bill Gates position); the Creator produce the innovative type of leadership, very solution-orientated (more Steve Jobs and Walt Disney); whereas the Spirit motivator will produce the maverick and charismatic type of leader that you follow till the ends of Earth (think Horatio Nelson! Or Richard Branson); and the Star motivator will produce the ubiquitous type of leader who seems to be in fashion all the time (think Alan Sugar, who rarely seems to be off the TV these days). And then to add to the mix there is the Searcher leader – the servant leader who wants to make a difference for the customer and the employees: wow! Do read Bo Burlingham’s marvelous book, “Small Giants”, for some great examples of this. Finally, Leadership is such a big and universal concept that all motivators can ‘lead’ here: the Builder motivator for the commercially, competitive leader versus the Friend motivator for the all-inclusive, values-driven type.

What about the Liaison role? Perhaps the dominant motivator preference here might be the Friend, creating strong relationship across a communication web. Back up might be the Expert, knowledgeable and informed, and Star, prominent and necessary.

One more for now: the Monitor role, what motivators suit that? First, perhaps, would be the Defender, for monitoring implies security and predictability. Add to this the Director motivator because monitoring invariably implies the need to control or to ensure something persists within existing parameters. Finally, the Expert since usually monitoring requires a fair degree of specialization and insight.

These, I say, represent typical profiles that might well suit the roles that Akeela challenged with me; but it is not say that other profiles are not possible, for a law with Motivational Maps is that motivators are not skill or knowledge sets. People can perform at a high level for quite a while – till they burn out – with motivators not aligned with their role. But what about the other six roles, you cry?

Well, here’s your homework: what do you think their most likely motivators are? I’ll give you a chance to comment and have your say before I post again on the subject.

9 Fabulous Tips to Produce Great Teams

The person who has experienced real teamwork and been part of a team is always aware that something bigger than one self is being achieved, which is why it feels so great. Indeed, being part of a real team can be considered one of life’s greatest experiences: just under falling in love, great friendship (of which it can be a material part) and having children. Great teams create success in life as well as in achieving objectives, which is why Virgil observed, “Success nourished them; they seemed to be able, and so they were able”. Some core part of our self is re-enforced by effective teamwork and our self-efficacy rises, which is tantamount to saying that our self-esteem is boosted.

We need to constantly tune our teams because the law of entropy means they will run down without inputs. Here are nine tips then that will tune them or get you thinking about what you need to do to improve teamwork.

Firstly, consistently and persistently talk to the team about what a team is, why it is not a group, and how it has geometric, not just arithmetic power! Raise your and their expectations of what is possible.

Second, motivate yourself more to believe in teams. Here is a good reason: teams are important because you are not immortal: you will die, or retire, or resign, or transfer, or at some point leave the team/group of which you are member. At that point who takes over? Who succeeds? Teams ensure some genuine form of succession planning, and thus secure a legacy to the work that you have done. That’s important isn’t it? Groups on the contrary have little or no structure and so little of value can be perpetuated or transmitted to the future.

Three, be certain that the remit or mission or objective is bold, big, clear and compelling; be, like the Blues Brothers, on a ‘mission from God’! People want to be important and what can be more important than doing something important with like-minded friends? For most people (and groups) work is an activity of which 80% or more is wasted time; buy-in to clear, specific objectives is the antidote to this waste and the foundation of strong team performance.

Four, understand that the two words ‘team’ and ‘hierarchy’ are mutually exclusive. You’ll know that there’s too much hierarchy in your organisation when you find everyone agrees with your views and deference is the norm. Group-think beckons! It’s not rank that decides what we do and how we do it, but relevance and contribution to the mission.

Five, just as we speak of clarifying the objective, so we need to spend time negotiating roles in order to maximise each member’s contribution, particularly by playing to their strengths and motivators. One good question is: ‘how DO I contribute to the objective?’ And here’s an even better one for the superior team: ‘how CAN I contribute to the team?’

Six, ensure you oil the machine. This follows from tip five: a too rigid pursuit of objectives, of what I call the ‘content’, always leads to disintegration, as even the most powerful engine will burst apart if it is not oiled properly. ‘Oiling’, in team terms, is paying attention not just to the objectives but to the process. A favourite question I have for teams is: ‘how do you interact with each other?’ The answer speaks volumes, especially when it’s something like: ‘We don’t’!

Seven, avoid blame and drive out fear. The driving out of fear is Point 8 of W.E. Deming’s famous Fourteen Point programme for the transformation of management; and it was essential for him in terms of the whole organisational drive to achieve quality. People will not give their best, or be creative, or solve pressing business problems, if they feel that making a mistake is going to have dire consequences. Blame is always destructive. We need therefore to stop doing it. If you are not sure whether you do it, ask – get feedback and act it on it rather than blaming the messengers! Be consistent in word and deed.

Eight, ensure accountability to the wider organisation. So far the tips have largely focused on getting the team in the right – the peak – condition to perform. But there is a danger: the silo effect, the fiefdom and empire building scenarios, wherein successful teams become detached from the wider organisation and exist to promote only themselves. This needs to be prevented at source by proper accountability, controls and incentives.

Finally, nine, make sure you have fun – this can be easily overlooked or easily over-indulged in. In the latter case, everything is fun but not much is being achieved, but this is the rarer phenomenon. The simple antidote to it is ensuring that fun follows achievement and becomes a form of ongoing celebration. But overlooking its importance and relevance is much more common: employees, sometimes even in good teams, sometimes have to find ways to amuse themselves at work because they are bored – there is little fun to be had, and work is deathly serious. This is a mistake and needs to be reversed.

If you take some of these ideas and run with them you will find they have a major impact on your teams and thus on your productivity and profitability. Team work means teams work!


Motivation and Ambiguity

The most wonderful thing about Motivational Maps is, surely, that it has created a language to describe, and a metric to measure motivation. In the past motivation was at the mercy and the vagaries of whichever speaker was speaking; it could mean whatever you wanted it to mean. Great, if you were or are a motivational speaker, but less great if you are an organisation trying to seriously manage de-motivation with your employees and turn it round to get their engagement. And so in this sense the language and the metric have removed all the inherent ambiguity out of motivation, right? Alas, wrong, or at least partially wrong!

Sure, we have a lot more certainty now in tackling motivation, but ambiguity still remains, and in a big way.

Recently one of my best map practitioners sent me a two hour webinar recording of one of their training sessions on maps with a client, and asked for feedback. First, one needs to say that it was a tremendous performance: they covered so much ground in an interesting and informative way. The client certainly went away far more knowledgeable and enthused about motivation than before the training; but there was a problem, one not confined to this practitioner alone; one I have encountered with other top practitioners, and one which is so subtle to get at and which goes to the very heart of motivation and its concomitant ambiguity.

The best way of describing the problem is by giving the example that came up in the training session. They had gone on to a point in the training where each of the properties of the nine motivators were being discussed and analysed; they had got as far as the Expert motivator. As the Practitioner explained the features of the Expert motivator, the delegate immediately got the idea of someone wanting to be motivated by learning, by knowledge, by expertise, and cut in with a comment about some people who so readily want to appear ‘experts’ but a short while into their expositions you realise that they are not experts at all, and that their knowledge is shallow, superficial or commonplace.

Indeed, haven’t we all met these people at one time or another in our lives? But the Practitioner immediately riposted with a remark to the effect that, ‘Yes, but …’ Yes, but the Expert, you see, because they want – really want – learning tends to become expert, and so because they want learning they acquire it. Or desire, in other words, becomes our reality. And of course in the high powered world where this Practitioner lives, coaching senior executives, who are committed to improving, that makes a lot of sense. Most of the time, for most of the people who have a strong Expert motivator, they will acquire the learning and skills that make them experts! Yes, most of the time.

But what the Practitioner was forgetting in ‘absolutizing’ this tendency of the motivator is that everybody has a motivational profile, and when we say everybody we mean the co-dependent, game player types, we mean the plain stupid types, we mean the types too who are confused about every single aspect of their lives because none of it makes sense. In fact, we mean every shade of problematic person. So, when we consider it, there is going to be a significant number of people who have Expert as their number one motivator but whose actual grasp of real expertise is delusional, self-delusional. Let’s not forget what William James, the father of American psychology, said: “Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”  There is a gap, in other words. So the motivational profile works, is accurate, but because of the limitation of the person the result is not what they think it is – or what they or we want it to be.

What, then, we are dealing with here is the clear fact that motivation leads to performance and also to behaviours, but that just having the motivation may not be enough; the motivation may be compromised by other factors – like, in the case of Expert, stupidity. But more importantly, this means that we cannot just assign ‘certainty’ to any motivational profile, and say it means this or that; because, of course, it may not and we need to look at the context, especially in the above example, the personal context.

Hypostatisation is a technical word that means the process by which we accord ‘reality’ to something; and it seems to me that that process is what it is so easy to do to the maps: we hypostatise the meaning, we make the desire ‘fixed, we want the fly, the living fly, to stay in amber so we can observe it with very little fuss, or very little ambiguity; it’s much harder to observe the fly in flight or as it moves on the green leaf of the human soul. But that is what is required of the great Map Practitioners: never to assume that any motivator (the Expert is just one example, but the principle applies to all nine) is static – like some psychometric profile:  it means you are ‘this’ – but rather to see the desire, the energy, moving and responding to the internal and external environments it finds itself located in. IMG_0441

If this is done, then the Practitioner can go beyond providing a good and competent service to the client about their motivation and their life; if this is done, they can achieve truly amazing insights and ideas that will astound their clients and change their very self-concepts and beliefs in what is possible.



Finding your Real Friends

The relatively IMG-20141225-00638
New Year is a good time to reflect on the important things in life, things like friendship. Indeed, friendship is up there with love and having children as being one of the greatest experiences of being human and alive. Friendship can produce such joy, laughter, intimacy and wonder when it is at its best; and similarly, and surely, we have all had that experience where we come to feel that the friend we have is not really a friend at all; they are not a bad person necessarily, but they are not our friend, our special (in a non-exclusive sense) friend. The trouble is that these non-friendships can continue for years; they drain our energy, our time, our resources; and either duty or guilt means we somehow never quit them, and so end up a martyr to friendship. A sad condition, especially when you consider that the essence of friendship, unlike our families, is choice: we are supposed to choose our friends, but we cannot choose who our mother or brother is.

What, then, are the key characteristics of true friendship? I think there are three. First, and most importantly, is equality. Friendship is always based on equality. That means that if you think you are superior to others, or if you feel inferior, then you will have a real problem sustaining friendships. Equality is essential because in the first instance it enables ease of communication: there is no ‘boss’, no need for deference or degree; there is instead the glorious freedom of equality where we can speak to another as we would speak to our self! That is wonderful. And less people think to diminish the importance of this point, we need to bear in mind the insidious way that certain people develop self-images of themselves which invariably predicate self-importance and so superiority. Nobody, except a social climber or a snob, wants truly to be with a friend who is manifestly superior.

Second is reciprocity. Friendship is not about accounting: I have done this for you so that you should do this for me, a sort of one-to-one exchange, a commoditisation in other words of true friendship. But the reality is that true friendship always involves the exchange of benefits, and benefits are mutually shared and this is apparent. Sometimes we have so-called friends who never do anything for us; we haven’t been counting but over time, consciously or sub-consciously, we notice and feel empty. All the giving has been from us. Sometimes we have so-called friends who ‘give’ but what they give is not what we want, but what they want, and thus is always misdirected because the benefit accrues to them. And that’s an important word in friendship (as it is in sales): benefits. We can spend a lot of time with friends enjoying the ‘features’ of friendship – a weekly meeting in the restaurant or down the bar – but the benefits never emerge: for example, the conversation is always about them, or it’s always about how much alcohol can be consumed and little else; and this over time proves empty too.

And this leads on to the third key characteristic: namely, empathy, or the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes and feel life as they feel it. For if we can do that there will be no or few misdirected benefits for we will really know what our friends want and eagerly seek to help them get it. This is no different from how we might consider our children at Christmas. Sure, we can buy presents for our kids, but the loving parent knows – knows – what their kid really wants because they empathise completely with them. And you see the difference in the results: the kids who have parents who bought them ‘everything’ but, who gives a damn, and those who may have only bought their child one present, but it’s the right one and their joy and pleasure go on and on beyond the twelve days of Christmas. So it is with true friendship: when we empathise with our friends then our reciprocations become more and more valid and telling.


Motivational Differences that Make a Difference

Recently one of my colleagues asked me to review a couple of Motivational Maps with them. They were coaching a couple of international European footballers nearing the end of their careers; and the Maps of course are ideal for helping understand the direction in which one might go, for to be satisfied and happy with a new career the motivators must be aligned and satisfied.

The two footballers were from the same European country and probably knew of each other, as they are top players in the top division, but they played at different clubs. Neither was aware that they were being coached by the same person. So there it was: two Maps in front of me and what did I think? What did I see in the Maps? And strangely what I saw initially surprised me. Both maps seemed so similar. For example, both players had money and control well done their list of motivators, although both scored their money satisfaction very high, meaning that money was no issue for them. Both had the Star motivator bottom of the pile, which surprised me as being an international player inevitably leads to a certain degree of fame as well as fortune. But presumably this was something they accepted and did not actively seek.

But it was when we got to the top three motivators that things got really interesting. Again, they both seemed so similar. Player A had Belonging, Security and Making a Difference as his top three, and Player B had Belonging, Creativity and Making a Difference as his. In other words, these two entirely separate players shared their top and third motivators, and only the second motivator was different: Security versus Creativity. Given as well how similar the rest of the profile was, then one can easily conclude that the same career formulae could apply to both. One could assume that but one would be dead wrong!

For as I probed with my colleague – the coach – into what these two profiles meant an astonishing fact emerged, which the Maps themselves were revealing. I said that Player B had a much higher risk and change profile than player A. Indeed Player A’s profile with two Relationship motivators as first and second was going to be a lot trickier to develop into a new career because the whole thrust of the profile was defensive (we call Security orientation the Defender in our system) whereas Player B had two Growth motivators in the top three that would offset the need to belong (belonging of course resists change). So Player B would more actively seek to create opportunities for themselves and move on.

My colleague, the coach, at this point sounded quite amazed. ‘That’s interesting,’ she said, and what followed I could not know, ‘because Player A plays as a defender in his team, whereas Player B is an attacker’! In short, Player A has to block other’s initiatives whereas Player B has to create openings – that’s what they do in football, and presumably have been doing since they started playing at six years’ old!

How incredible: the Motivational Map had picked out not just some aspect of advising them in future and the relative ease or difficultly therein, but had identified a core component and difference in their current roles. Both footballers, yes, but one plays defence and one plays attack – and the Maps can see the difference in the desire and the want. As a profiling tool for recruitment, therefore, I think Motivational Maps is pre-eminent and the recruitment world is slowly going to catch up with the potential of this incredible tool.


Why You Should Use Motivational Maps in Your Recruitment Process

Motivational Maps can make a very big difference when it comes down to the the final selection interview, and there are, say, only 2 or 3 candidates left in the field. Often, because of the rigorous process organisations have gone through to pare the short list down to such a small number, the quality of the candidates is high, and it is difficult to differentiate between them. Who, in fact, will be the best fit?

It is at this point Motivational Maps can make a profound difference. Unlike personality and psychometric profiling tools, which really establish ‘traits’ – fixed characteristics of the person – Maps measure energy, which is fluid and changing: what the person really wants, and how much energy they have at that moment in time when they do the Map. In short, Maps make visible what is normally invisible – namely, a person’s actual desires. This has several profound advantages.

First, it enables us to establish whether the role of the job and the motivators actually match each other. To take a simple example: what if you wish to appoint a sales person on a low salary but high commission. This is invariably a ‘high risk’ type of role. The person applying may have a great CV, excellent qualifications, even an impressive track-record, but what if we find their motivators indicate risk-aversion and a high desire for stability (one of the motivators)? A-ha! More research needed into this candidate – all might not be what it seems.

Second, Maps can reveal underlying internal conflicts within the person or potential conflicts with the team members they are applying to join. For example, their number one motivator is for power and control, but so is their boss’s – how is that going to work, then? This needs unpicking before the appointment!

Third, Maps are a relatively new and unknown tool – candidates have no idea what they are revealing, and there are no books at the airport bookshops instructing you on how to fake your psychometric test and get the ‘right’ answer. The Maps are 99.9% accurate and practitioners of Maps are trained to spot ‘false’ results (which are extremely rare). Thus the information provided tends to be highly accurate, highly relevant and highly useful.

There are nine motivators at work and for any one person, three tend to be dominant. This means the Maps are not simplistic, just focusing on one 'trait'; on the contrary, the motivators interact dynamically with each other, which both knowledge, insight and subtlety must be used in its application. The key is to understand the requirements of the role and then see how appropriate the motivators are in relationship to that role.

It is important to stress that Motivational Maps are no substitute for the normal recruitment and HR processes for selection. Its value occurs in the final stages where for a small investment tens of thousands of pounds – or more - can be saved in making the right choice.

We hope you will want to use Motivational Maps in your selection process!



Motivational Maps versus Staff Surveys

Your organisation’s ability to function effectively in today’s competitive market depends on a number of crucial factors. The most crucial of all is undoubtedly leadership and without it the organisation is doomed; and this leadership is not just one person – the ‘head honcho’ – for the truly effective leader always create leadership all the way down the command chain. Indeed leadership is diffused throughout the whole organisation. This leads to an important observation: namely, that organisational effectiveness is a people issue, and nothing is more important for success, for longevity and ultimately for making a difference than the quality of people we recruit, retain and reward.

Financial, marketing/sales and operational plans and strategies are also key to being effective, but they in turn depend upon people for their generation and their implementation. Are these people engaged, or serving time? Are these people ambassadors for your organisation or are they secret saboteurs? Are these people motivated or are they apathetic?

To date the only generally accepted way of establishing what the staff think and how they view the organisation is via the annual (or otherwise) staff survey. This is good but it has several drawbacks. First, it is relatively expensive for what it is; after all, you would think that since staff has managers who manage them we might know what staff think and feel from the managers? In small organisations they sometimes do – why don’t managers in large organisations (they are generally paid more!) - know? Put another way, it seems a form of managerial disempowerment. Second, the survey is ‘obvious’ in what it is seeking to know and establish. This means staff can point score, promote agendas, and more generally dis-inform management of the real situation and the real needs. Third, the information by its nature can be fragmentary and not easy to implement and respond to. Indeed, one of the frequent criticisms of staff surveys by staff is that it is done and nothing subsequently happens or changes.

Motivational Maps is different. To address the three points above: it is relatively inexpensive to implement; it is subtle and reveals both specifics and trends; and the information can immediately be acted upon and has a direct bearing on the staff and the teams in a way that no staff survey can – for the Map knows what people really want! And this must always be a matter of grave interest to the effective leader. We have found in fact that it is only effective leaders who want to embrace this technology; weak ineffective leaders are frightened of it.

The individual Map tells us what the individual wants; the team Map tells us what the team collectively wants, and it also points towards potential conflicts – conflicts of energy - within the team that might derail it from its remit; and now the new organisational Map (to be launched by the end of January 2015) takes mapping to another level: it tells us what the teams want, and what collectively the whole organisation wants. One needs to grasp at this point that when a large number of people are profiled the collective effect of the motivators is more or less now equivalent to measuring the ‘values’ within the organisation. Why is this significant? Because we can now begin to see whether the espoused values – and its translation into mission and vision – are really reflected in the aspirations of the staff. If they are not, then a major problem looms ahead, and one which needs immediate attention.

On all three criteria, then, Motivational Maps is superior to the staff survey, and my prediction for 2015 is that once the Organisational Motivational Map is fully operational, then increasingly organisations are going to wake up to this new and more effective reality! Happy New Year to all my readers and followers.


Mentoring and Its Four Dimensions

Sometimes I am asked, what is the single most powerful tool that facilitates personal development? This is a tricky question because of course any answer must be contextual; one factor might be speed. How fast do you want the personal development to occur? If speed is the issue, then clearly you may choose a process that is not the most powerful, or transformative, but it gets a job done. But if we stick to our principles, and think what really does make the biggest impact, then I think that the process which really does deliver is also possibly the oldest; certainly it goes back to the dawn of time. I am referring to mentoring.

Mentoring is powerful because it is virtually synonymous with parenting; indeed in its nature and its origin, mentoring is parenting. Mentor was the wise and experienced counsellor to whom Odysseus, in the Odyssey, entrusted his son Telemachus when he set off to fight in the Trojan War. Odysseus was gone twenty years before he returned to claim his throne and re-join his family. By which time Mentor was long dead, but he had taught Telemachus, Odysseus’ son well. He had been a father to him – and a mother too. For one curious aspect of the story is that once he died, no-one had noticed because the goddess Pallas Athene, who had a special relationship with Odysseus, had substituted herself for Mentor and carried on fulfilling his role. Pallas Athene was the Greek goddess of wisdom and it seems to me entirely appropriate that the tuition and learning that Telemachus received was thus both masculine and feminine in character.

There are various methodologies that can seriously help, develop and build people up that are people-centric: coaching, counselling, therapy, consultancy, and in the appropriate situation they are all powerful and they can all work – do work, indeed. But they operate usually on one or two of the four dimensions that seriously impact people; mentoring must work on all four. So mentoring is the most difficult, the most challenging of all; but then it is also the most rewarding and can lead to the most transformative effects.

What, then, are these four dimensions that impact people so strongly? First, perhaps, is support. People love to feel supported – that someone is there for them, sometimes by their side or alongside them as they face difficulties. But we see – oftentimes with parents – that only giving support can lead to problems: co-dependency for one thing. With support, there needs to be its opposite: challenge. People need challenges, and to be challenged, for if they are not it is highly unlikely they will achieve much. Then again, as with support, too much of anything can lead to problems. Too much challenge and lack of support can lead to serious burn-out.

On another axis are two other dimensions that develop people. One is empathy. This is like support in that it means that someone is resonating with you on your wave length, is seeing life as you see it and with compassion, and this can be so necessary to bring out the best in others. It can sometimes seem that we are alone, that no-one else in the world has our problem or has been in our situation, and so that we are somehow a freak; but when we experience empathy from another, we feel that this is not so, and we can more readily accept advice or help. But again, too much empathy can be a problem: the acceptance with feeling of our situation can mean that we habituate our position and become entrenched somewhere that is unhealthy and unhelpful to us personally. And the antidote to empathy is the fourth element, which is objectivity. We can be so wrapped in our problem or situation that we can no longer see the ‘object’ for what it really is; we lose our true grip on reality, and so someone providing us with an objective view can be massively useful. But too much objectivity can seem distant and cold, and be rejected for those very reasons.

If we consider these four elements and draw them on two axes, we can see clearly that coaching typically involves either being challenging-objective or challenging-empathic; on the other hand, counselling might typically be considered empathic-supportive, whereas therapy can be seen as objective-support; and finally consultancy may be challenging-objective. All have their place and importance, but my point is that mentoring has to be all four!

In other words the mentor has to balance yin and yang: challenging and objective are ‘hard’, are yang, while support and empathy are ‘soft’, are yin, and for any given person the right proportion is necessary. If that can be done then one is approaching what I earlier called the ‘parenting’ position; this level of work with another person, this level of intimacy, is almost a form of love. That is why when it is done properly it is so effective. However, to say ‘when it is done properly’ sounds like condensing it to a set of skills and although that is true, parenting is always much more than that. It is an attitude, a mindset, a level of commitment that transcends mere skill – and when we encounter people who can do this for us, then we are truly transformed. Dimensions of mentoring 0115